[Foundation-l] Advertisement

GerardM gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Thu Dec 28 18:05:53 UTC 2006

If the Gates Foundation is willing to provide the Wikimedia Foundation with
a substantial amount of money to help us achieve our aims, the only reason
why we should not accept this is when there are conditions attached that are
contrary to our principles. Accepting money is not against our principles.
Accepting money from organisations is not against our principles. Being
willing and able to say "thank you" is a gracious thing to do.

In my opinion you have to differentiate between donors and partners. A
partner is an organisation that shares the same goals and works together
with you in achieving these goals. A sponsor is an organisation that only
helps by providing resources to make things possible.

When people start talking in terms of "forking" it is an option that they
have. They should know that it is not easy to be successful at this. It
fractures the effort in bringing Free/Open content to the people that need
it most. The only way I think you will be successful is by bringing
something new to such a project. If Citizendium is to do well, there mix of
Wikipedia content and expert editing needs to hit the right balance. If all
you bring to your fork is this "anger", it may mean a temporary dip in the
number of edits for the WMF projects but the traffic of our projects will
only go up as a result.

The Wikimedia Foundation is a wonderful organisation. It achieved miracles
on a shoestring budget. Given the exponential growth, there is a growing
need and potential to make things happen. About many things we fantasise;
what can we do with one hundred million Euro. We could make so much more of
a difference. The question that we need to answer is, are we a complete
hostage to a group that insists on their values being adopted or are we to
bring information to all people of this world.


On 12/28/06, Jeroenvrp <wikipedia at xs4all.nl> wrote:
> Hello,
> There is much going on today. The community is split about the actions the
> Foundation took. Let me clarify something about Virgin Unite:
> Virgin Unite is a charity organisation of one of the largest
> multi-nationals
> in the world. If I can think about one company that will really do
> everything
> to own Wikipedia, it's Virgin. Their €250.000 is nothing compared to that.
> Virgin Unite is just a PR-department. Almost every multi-national has
> these
> kind off charity organisations. What if the Gates Foundation will offer
> these
> kind of money? A lot of us will see that it is just a PR-stunt from
> Microsoft. That's why Virgin Unite is just pure advertisement for Virgin.
> It also creates a precedent to the future. The road to daily advertisement
> has
> been opened by a weak Foundation. Yes we need the money, but there are
> other
> ways. Rather no money than sell the basis principles of Wikipedia/-media
> to
> whoever has the money.
> Meanwhile the Foundation has tear apart a lot of local communities. Partly
> this could be avoided by informing the communities, at least a few days in
> advance. Every community had a local mailinglist, a sysop list and a
> village
> pump.
> Anyhow; a lot of people are angry. A lot of people are talking about
> forks. A
> lot of people, including a lot off the hardcore contributors, are leaving
> the
> project. Only because of these unintelligent actions from the Foundation,
> backed by a lot of misinformed people and people who don't understand or
> don't want to understand the rules of free content.
> These actions will have very negative consequences and I'm ashamed about
> that.
> Especially on the day the Dutch and Flemish media are reporting about the
> quarter of million articles on the Dutch language Wikipedia. This evening
> the
> Dutch Wikipedia will peak with a lot of new visitors and new users. They
> will
> see the advertisement and gone is the neutrality of the project. Thank you
> Foundation; for selling us out!
> Jeroenvrp
> Moderator on the Dutch language Wikipedia since oct 2003
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