Caution: this is an editorial in which I express personal opinions
beyond the scope of Wikipedia, and most certainly not in NPOV. :-)
I feel compelled to point out that I in no way agree with the thesis
of the AP article, and feel that this is a prime example of how biased
journalists pursue their agendas.
You'll notice that there are no quotes from me in the article -- the
reason is that the reporter asked me a series of leading questions,
trying to get me to bash commercialization on the Internet, or to
support public spending on content, and I refused to take the bait.
To detect the bias, notice how he compares Wikipedia's *contributors*
to AOL/Time-Warner's *visitors*. Comparing our *visitors* to their
*visitors* would have been compelling enough -- they're big and we're
small, no shock there. Is there any reason, though, to think that a
single project (an encyclopedia) will have traffic that is similar in
any way to a vast conglomerate? Clearly, the answer is NO, so what's
the point of the comparison?
A better comparison, but not helpful to him in grinding his axe, would
be between traffic to AOL/Time-Warner's "broadcast" pages versus their
"community" pages. What he would find is that AOL/Time-Warner's
traffic is primarily a function of their providing a space for free,
non-commercial community activity... paid for with commercials! This
is only a paradox to people too anti-capitalist to think in anything
other than a complete intellectual fog.
Another good comparison would be between the traffic of Wikipedia and
the traffic of Britannica -- I do not have recent numbers, but a
couple of summers ago, Britannica reported 30 million pageviews in a
month -- whereas Wikipedia is currently at around 1.5 million a month.
I'm sure they are higher than 30 million now, but call it 50 million
or 100 million -- we're still coming on strong, and growing 30% a
month or more.
I disagree entirely with the thesis that there is a lack of
"nonprofit" or "community" activity on the net. I disagree entirely
with the notion that a few big corporations are in a position to
control the content of the net. But I most MOST strongly disagree
with the idea that anyone who is unhappy with the state of the
Internet has the right to use *force* (i.e. money stolen by the
government) to pursue their agenda. There's no more effective way to
ensure the death of true grassroots activity than to set up tax-funded
competition for it.
This guy reminds me of the anti-globalization pinheads who think that
any form of commercialism is necessarily corrupt.
The best thing I can say for this article is that at least he spelled
my name correctly, and I can only most sincerely hope that we are not
inundated with goofballs who agree with him, and who want to turn
wikipedia into some kind of anti-freedom editorial statement.