blog of the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation Getting Wikipedia to the
people who need it
Feb. 22, 2013, 8:11 a.m., Posted by Kul Takanao Wadhwa – 0
*The Wikimedia Foundation recently received Knight News Challenge funding
to create ways to deliver Wikipedia for
users in the developing world.** Below, its head of mobile, **Kul Takanao
Wadhwa <http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/User:Kwadhwa>, writes about the
We’re in the middle of an information revolution that’s changing the way
billions of people in developing countries obtain news and knowledge. With
a $10 cell phone, a high school student in New Delhi or a cab driver in
Dakar can access the Internet and -- through Wikipedia and other websites -
learn volumes about virtually any subject. If knowledge is power, then the
developing world, with almost five billion cell-phone
is poised to make amazing changes.
There’s just one catch: An overwhelming percentage of new mobile users in
India, Senegal and other developing countries can’t afford data charges, so
they’re effectively excluded from sites like Wikipedia. It’s a de facto
blackout, a kind of information segregation that shunts potential Internet
users to the side of a very important road.
That’s why the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that operates Wikipedia,
has established Wikipedia Zero<http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Zero>,
a program where we partner with mobile operators to give their mobile users
free-of-charge access to Wikipedia and its growing trove of 24 million
In 2012, the Wikimedia Foundation signed Wikipedia Zero partnerships with
three mobile operators, which is bringing free Wikipedia access to 230
million mobile users in 31
In January of 2013, we signed a fourth partnership that extends Wikipedia
Zero to at least 100 million more mobile users in five more
And with the recent support of the Knight News Challenge grant, designed to
accelerate media innovation by funding breakthrough ideas in news and
information, a series of exciting new developments is on the horizon. We
are: speeding up the development of Wikipedia Zero; hastening the
development of the software that lets a simple feature phone (the dominant
phone in developing countries) connect easily to Wikipedia’s mobile site;
augmenting the development of the engineering that, on Wikipedia, makes
hundreds of native languages readable from mobile devices; and pioneering a
program to give mobile users
SMS access to Wikipedia.
We’re very excited about delivering Wikipedia via text, which we expect to
roll out within the next few months. With the program, users will send a
text request to Wikipedia and, within seconds, they will get the article to
their phone. To deliver this innovative technology, we’re partnering with
the Praekelt Foundation <http://www.praekeltfoundation.org/>, a nonprofit
based in Johannesburg, South Africa. It’s another example of the tremendous
collaborative spirit that has always driven Wikipedia and always will.
The number of mobile users who can get free access to Wikipedia is
increasing rapidly, and so is its usage. In the countries where Wikipedia
Zero has already been deployed, Wikipedia readership of local, non-English
languages grew upwards of 400 percent in six months#. On our partner’s
network in Niger, Wikipedia’s mobile traffic increased by 77 percent in the
first four months of Wikipedia Zero, compared to 7 percent growth on Niger’s
mobile networks that don’t have Wikipedia
In Kenya, the growth from Wikipedia Zero was even higher - 88
The demand is there for much more growth, and word-of-mouth is spreading.
And the movement for access to knowledge is coming from all sides. Last
December, a group of 11th-graders at Sinenjongo High School in Cape Town,
South Africa, wrote a heartfelt letter to four mobile operators, imploring
them to give their South African customers free-of-charge mobile access to
Wikipedia <http://www.gadget.co.za/pebble.asp?relid=5613>. They had learned
about Wikipedia Zero, even though the service is not yet available in South
Africa. The Cape Town students have the technology in their hands, but they
lack the money to pay for data charges. In their letter, which was
published in Gadget, an online South Africa magazine that covers consumer
technology, the 24 students wrote:
*“We recently heard that in some other African countries like Kenya and
Uganda certain cell phone providers are offering their customers free
access to Wikipedia. We think this is a wonderful idea and would really
like to encourage you also to make the same offer here in South Africa. It
would be totally amazing to be able to access information on our cell
phones which would be affordable to us.*
*Our school does not have a library at all so when we need to do research
we have to walk a long way to the local library. When we get there we have
to wait in a queue to use the one or two computers which have the internet.
At school we do have 25 computers but we struggle to get to use them
because they are mainly for the learners who do CAT (Computer Application
Technology) as a subject. Going to an internet cafe is also not an easy
option because you have to pay per half hour. 90% of us have cellphones but
it is expensive for us to buy airtime so if we could get free access to
Wikipedia it would make a huge difference to us...Our education system
needs help and having access to Wikipedia would make a very positive
difference. Just think of the boost that it will give us as students and to
the whole education system of South Africa.”*
Their letter is a reminder that the human spirit craves access to free
information. Indeed, I firmly believe that access to free knowledge should
be a universal human right. News and knowledge change lives for the better.
They always have.
>From the beginning of the Wikimedia movement, and more broadly across the
free knowledge movement, the goal has been to break down the digital
divide, and render barriers to knowledge obsolete. There’s no better time
than now to make gigantic inroads in that quest. Eighty percent of all new
mobile phone subscribers are in developing countries, according to the United
Nations’ International Telecommunication
For now, of the 25 countries that have the highest rate of mobile traffic
on Wikipedia, 22 are developing
The top eight countries are all in
We will do what it takes to get free knowledge into the hands of students
like those in South Africa who are clamoring for it. We will continue
partnering with mobile operators who donate their resources to the service
of Wikipedia Zero. In the next two years, we will write more blog posts
that detail the progress we make in the developing world.
The Knight News Challenge mobile
grant<http://www.knightfoundation.org/grants/20123673/>is an important
milestone in our movement to make free knowledge available
to everyone, including every person in the developing world. We see 2013 as
a year of significant transition as we make our vision a long-term reality.
As I said, access to knowledge should be a human right. And the Wikimedia
Foundation is thrilled to be part of the Information Revolution that is
bringing free knowledge around the world. We want others to join us, and as
the 11th-graders in South Africa have shown us, to also be leaders in this
movement. With hard work and true partnership, this dream will become a
reality for the students in South Africa, and indeed, everyone, everywhere.
*By Kul Takanao Wadhwa <http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/User:Kwadhwa>,
head of mobile for Wikimedia Foundation*
Galera, eu to com o meu saco na lua com várias coisas, são 4 meses sem
receber o reembolso da WMF para o WikiBrasil, são mais de 6 meses sem
receber o aval do AffCom, sendo que faz 4 meses sem respostas deles no Meta
e há 3 com essa babaquice
status do Brasil, estou há sei lá quantos meses esperando respostas de
emails, há emails de 2-4 meses sem resposta.
Dito isso, eu já disse uma vez, e se não o fizerem eu o farei nas próximas
semanas, correndo riscos.
Eu acho que temos que fazer uma carta pública para o Movimento Wikimedia,
em repúdio a idiotices como dizer que passamos por cima de algo, que há
dois grupos dentro do Brasil e que um grupo subjuga o outro, que há uma
tentativa de forçar uma parceria entre a WMF e a WMBR para que seja forçado
a aprovação do Brasil, que a gente tem instabilidade administrativa quanto
aos membros permanentes da APR-CCL, ou seja, que só há membros flutuantes,
que tentamos derrubar o protecionismo europeu, o modelo europeu, o poder
europeu, ou qualquer porcaria, deixar claro que vamos fazer as nossas
coisas, e deixar que eles chafurdem o quanto quiser e que não vamos
interferir em nenhuma politicagem do WCA, Iberocoop, ou qualquer outro
Deixar claro a nossa relação com a WMF, também é interessante, pois param
de achar milhões de coisas que não existem. Também acho que vale já deixar
claro a nossa relação do Iberocoop e do WCA, o que cada um acha, problema
individual, mas a relação é do grupo.
Eu não to aqui pra criticar o modelo, mesmo eu achando mega idiota eles
priorizarem capítulos dormentes, em detrimentos a grupos ativos, mas sim
para deixar claro o que o Movimento Wikimedia Brasil vem sofrendo, por
causa de politicagem, e para zerar qualquer bosta que venham falando sobre
Tá rolando muita filhadaputagem para o meu gosto em um Movimento em prol da
Fui fazer coco que antes que eu fique constipado.
Rodrigo Tetsuo Argenton
+55 11 97 97 18 884
Sem tempo de elaborar melhor, mas quis escrever sobre isso há alguns
anos por causa dessa confusão que fazem entre capítulo, movimento,
ideias etc.. Acredito que a Wikimedia Brasil defende a Igreja da
Razão, enquanto alguns acreditam ingenuamente que essa segundo
universidade é o que funciona. Tardou, mas não falhou. Tom
“O discurso começa referindo-se a uma notícia sobre um prédio de
igreja rural que tinha sobre a entrada principal um luminoso de marca
de cerveja. O prédio fora vendido, e estava sendo usado como bar. E de
supor que, a essa altura, a turma começasse a rir. As farras da
faculdade eram famosas, e a metáfora mais ou menos correspondia. O
artigo dizia que os provisores receberam algumas reclamações por causa
disso. Era uma igreja católica, e o padre encarregado de responder às
críticas parecia bastante irritado com o que estava acontecendo. Para
ele, o fato mostrava que as pessoas ignoravam o que fosse uma igreja.
Pensavam que tijolos, tábuas e vidro constituíam uma igreja? Ou o
formato do telhado? Aquilo era um exemplo do mesmo materialismo
desprezado pela Igreja, disfarçado em piedade. O prédio em questão não
era mais um lugar santo. Perdera o caráter sagrado, e pronto. O
anúncio de cerveja estava à porta de um bar, não de uma igreja.
Aqueles que não conheciam a diferença estavam simplesmente mostrando o
Fedro declarou então que existia o mesmo tipo de confusão com relação
à universidade. E por isso era difícil compreender a perda do
reconhecimento. A verdadeira universidade não é um objeto material.
Não é um conjunto de edifícios que pode ser defendido pela polícia.
Quando uma faculdade perdia o reconhecimento, não vinha ninguém fechar
a escola. Não havia penalidades legais, multas, nem mandados de
prisão. As aulas não terminavam. Tudo continuava como antes. Os alunos
recebiam a mesma educação que receberiam se a escola continuasse sendo
reconhecida. Só que haveria aceitação oficial de uma situação já
existente. Era algo parecido com a excomunhão. A verdadeira
universidade, que nenhuma assembléia poderia influenciar, e que nunca
poderia ser identificada como qualquer disposição de tijolos, tábuas e
vidro, simplesmente declararia que este não é mais um “lugar santo”. A
verdadeira universidade deixaria este local, e só sobrariam os
tijolos, os livros e as manifestações materiais.
Os estudantes devem ter ficado perplexos ao ouvir tais idéias, e creio
que Fedro deve ter-se calado por um bom tempo, para que elas fossem
absorvidas, talvez esperando por uma pergunta do tipo: “E o que acha
você que é a verdadeira universidade?”
Em suas anotações encontra-se a seguinte resposta:
“A verdadeira universidade não se localiza num lugar específico.
Não tem propriedades, não paga salários, não recebe taxas materiais. A
verdadeira universidade é um estado de espírito. É a grande herança do
pensamento racional que nos foi legada ao correr dos séculos e que não
tem lugar específico para ficar. É um estado de espírito que se renova
através dos séculos, graças a um grupo de pessoas que ostentam
tradicionalmente o título de professor, título esse que, no fundo,
também não faz parte da universidade. A verdadeira universidade é nada
mais nada menos que o corpo contínuo da razão em si.
Além desse estado de espírito, a razão , existe uma entidade legal
que, infelizmente, atende pelo mesmo nome, mas que é muito diferente.
Esta é uma empresa sem fins lucrativos, uma filial do estado, com
endereço específico. Possui propriedades, pode pagar salários, receber
dinheiro e reagir também a pressões do legislativo.
Porém, esta segunda universidade, a empresa legal, não pode
ensinar, não pode gerar novos conhecimentos, nem avaliar idéias. Não é
a verdadeira universidade. É apenas o prédio da igreja, o cenário, o
local onde se criaram condições favoráveis para que a verdadeira
As pessoas que não enxergam essa diferença ficam sempre confusas,
pensando que controlar o prédio da igreja é o mesmo que controlar a
Igreja. Eles vêem os professores como empregados da segunda
universidade que deveriam deixar a razão de lado quando lhes fosse
solicitado e obedecer ordens sem objeções. Exatamente como os
empregados de outros tipos de empresa.
Enxergam a segunda universidade, não a primeira.”
O objetivo principal da Igreja da Razão é sempre o velho objetivo
socrático de buscar a verdade, em suas formas em constante mutação,
conforme é revelada pelo processo da racionalidade. Tudo o mais deve
subordinar-se a isso. Normalmente, tal objetivo não entra em choque
com o intuito local de edificar a comunidade, mas às vezes ocorrem
certos conflitos, como no caso do próprio Sócrates. É quando os
curadores e legisladores que contribuíram com grandes quantidades de
dinheiro e tempo para construir a sede da universidade se opõem às
aulas ou pronunciamentos dos professores. Passam então a pressionar a
administração, ameaçando cortar as verbas se os professores não
disserem o que eles querem ouvir. Coisas como essas também acontecem.
Em tais situações, os verdadeiros sacerdotes devem agir como se nem
tivessem ouvido as ameaças. Seu objetivo principal nunca é servir à
comunidade, acima de tudo. Seu objetivo principal é servir, através da
razão, à busca da verdade.”
Excertos. Capítulo 13, Zen e a arte da manutenção de motocicletas,
Robert M. Pirsig.
"It began with reference to a newspaper article about a country church
building with an electric beer sign hanging right over the front
entrance. The building had been sold and was being used as a bar. One
can guess that some classroom laughter started at this point.
The college was well known for drunken partying and the image vaguely
fit. The article said a number of people had complained to the
church officials about it. It had been a Catholic church, and the
priest who had been delegated to respond to the criticism had sounded
quite irritated about the whole thing. To him it had revealed an
incredible ignorance of what a church really was. Did they think that
bricks and boards and glass constituted a church? Or the shape of the
roof? Here, posing as piety was an example of the very
materialism the church opposed. The building in question was not holy
ground. It had been desanctified. That was the end of it. The
beer sign resided over a bar, not a church, and those who couldn’t
tell the difference were simply revealing something about
Phædrus said the same confusion existed about the University and that
was why loss of accreditation was hard to understand. The real
University is not a material object. It is not a group of buildings
that can be defended by police. He explained that when a college lost
its accreditation, nobody came and shut down the school. There were no
legal penalties, no fines, no jail sentences. Classes did not
stop. Everything went on just as before. Students got the same
education they would if the school didn’t lose its accreditation. All
would happen, Phædrus said, would simply be an official recognition of
a condition that already existed. It would be similar to
excommunication. What would happen is that the real University, which
no legislature can dictate to and which can never be identified
by any location of bricks or boards or glass, would simply declare
that this place was no longer "holy ground." The real University
would vanish from it, and all that would be left was the bricks and
the books and the material manifestation.
It must have been a strange concept to all of the students, and I can
imagine him waiting for a long time for it to sink in, and perhaps
then waiting for the question, What do you think the real University is?
His notes, in response to this question, state the following:
"The real University, he said, has no specific location. It owns no
property, pays no salaries and receives no material dues. The real
University is a state of mind. It is that great heritage of rational
thought that has been brought down to us through the centuries and
which does not exist at any specific location. It’s a state of mind
which is regenerated throughout the centuries by a body of people
who traditionally carry the title of professor, but even that title is
not part of the real University. The real University is nothing less
the continuing body of reason itself.
In addition to this state of mind, "reason," there’s a legal entity
which is unfortunately called by the same name but which is quite
another thing. This is a nonprofit corporation, a branch of the state
with a specific address. It owns property, is capable of paying
salaries, of receiving money and of responding to legislative
pressures in the process.
But this second university, the legal corporation, cannot teach, does
not generate new knowledge or evaluate ideas. It is not the real
University at all. It is just a church building, the setting, the
location at which conditions have been made favorable for the real
Confusion continually occurs in people who fail to see this
difference, he said, and think that control of the church buildings
control of the church. They see professors as employees of the second
university who should abandon reason when told to and take
orders with no backtalk, the same way employees do in other corporations.
They see the second university, but fail to see the first."
The primary goal of the Church of Reason, Phædrus said, is always
Socrates’ old goal of truth, in its ever-changing forms, as it’s
revealed by the process of rationality. Everything else is subordinate
to that. Normally this goal is in no conflict with the location goal
of improving the citizenry, but on occasion some conflict arises, as
in the case of Socrates himself. It arises when trustees and
legislators who’ve contributed large amounts of time and money to the
location take points of view in opposition to the professors’
lectures or public statements. They can then lean on the
administration by threatening to cut off funds if the professors don’t
they want to hear. That happens too.
True churchmen in such situations must act as though they had never
heard these threats. Their primary goal never is to serve the
community ahead of everything else. Their primary goal is to serve,
through reason, the goal of truth."
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Pirsig, excerpts from the Chapter 13.
Bence é o boss do AffCom, pensando nisso leiam:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Bence Damokos <bdamokos(a)gmail.com>
Date: 19 February 2013 10:42
Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Are chapters part of the community and board seats
To: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
I'll separate this out as I think it is a really interesting conversation,
and as I have heard the two arguments below repeated numerous times, it
might be useful to think about it and the future shape of things a bit more.
I think the fundamental question is how legitimate can an interest group
(chapters in this case) be if it's membership is significantly smaller than
its potential membership (at least 30% of editors come from countries with
well established chapters in afaik good standing with their local
The difference in the answer to this question could be behind the two
"memes" on chapters being seen as insignificant or significant parts of the
community based either on their membership or potential membership size.
I like to believe that people who go beyond online editing (or in the case
of readers and donors, beyond online donations and reading) into the
offline world are among the most dedicated of our volunteers, and knowing
their background, they usually are well embedded in their
local/national/linguistic communities, to the point that they are able to
recognize and represent their interests.
(Especially, as chapters tend to have open structures, often giving the
right to be heard to any non-member and generally not making it difficult
to become a member even for those advocating different directions.)
However, as our communities are very diverse (someone active on Wikipedia
and the chapter might not be aware of recent developments in Wiktionary and
vice versa), we need to constantly think about ways of informing and better
engaging those whose interests we wish to represent (be this at the WMF or
the individual chapter level).
Even if we don't subscribe to the wider interpretation of representation of
the potential members, the actual members are still showing a level of
dedication that I think makes it worthwhile hearing their voice in e.g.
All that said, the chapter selected board seat is related to the
communities the chapters are embedded in at a further step of remove
because of the way the process is conducted. (The list of candidates and
questions to them, etc. are in theory non-public – although the candidate
may choose to make it public on Meta – so the boards of chapters might not
be in a position to directly survey their members' preferences and have to
bring the decision on their own.)
Therefore, I think there are definite possibilities to improve on the
selection process, even with just chapters.
On Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 9:26 AM, Jan-Bart de Vreede <jdevreede(a)wikimedia.org
> I think that chapters represent a different part of the movement, and that
> their input in board composition results in different candidates than we
> would possibly elect :) At the same time the increased scope of affcom
> gives us the option of increasing the scope of these two selected seats to
> include thematic organisations and user groups (giving them more
> coverage" than is the case now). That would be a good discussion to have
> over de coming months as the selected seats term expires in july next
> thoughts anyone?
> On Feb 19, 2013, at 8:42 AM, James Alexander <jamesofur(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> > Snipping a bunch for simplicities sake
> > On Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 11:14 PM, Jan-Bart de Vreede <
> > jdevreede(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
> >> I simply don't agree.
> >> a) Chapters are part of the community
> >> b) Whenever a vote comes up for an appointed seat that seat obviously
> >> not vote, therefore the (s)elected seats have a majority vote on any
> >> appointed seat (5 our of 9 votes) Apart from that I would say that
> >> seat is a community seat, but recognise that not all share that
> >> Jan-Bart
> > :-/ To be honest I don't particularly like this meme that the chapter
> > part of the community either. The chapters may be part of the community
> > (and so the statement not false) but we use the phrasing in such a way
> > to say that they are more then they are. There may be a part of the
> > community but they are really a very small part of it overall.
> > Their power in board selection and movement voice (both formally and
> > informally) is disproportionately huge and we set them up to represent
> > community when that is a serious misstatement. They represent their
> > who are a very small subset of the community and often have a very
> > different goal and interest set then the, much larger, remainder of the
> > community and depending on the chapter may include more donors or
> > then editors.
> > That is not to say they don't do good things at times (or that it is a
> > problem to include donors or readers, personally I think they are part
> > our larger community) but we should not confuse what they actually are.
> > Jimmy is a whole different question ;) I would certainly say he deserves
> > seat at the table, I prefer to just categorize him as "Jimmy" because
> > just a class of his own in all ways :).
> > James
> > _______________________________________________
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> > Wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org
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Rodrigo Tetsuo Argenton
+55 11 97 97 18 884