[Foundation-l] Re: Relaunch Chinese Wikinews poll?

Erik Moeller erik_moeller at gmx.de
Sat Feb 4 23:25:43 UTC 2006


> Granted, we simplify the access to knowledge to many. We collect the 
> info. We organise it. We put all our attention in giving non biaised 
> information. And this is already really great.
> But we mostly give information to those who have internet access and if 
> they made a bit of effort, they could actually find this information all 
> by themselves. At least for major languages.
> In short, we facilitate access to information for those who *already* 
> can access it.

Very true. You will remember the "Mobile Audio Wikipedia" project that 
aims to bring Wikipedia articles (in spoken form) to cell phones, for 
free (with support from governments, corporations and foundations). This 
would be one way to improve access for people who don't have access now, 
and fairly uncontroversial. This is something which could be tackled by 
the Special Projects committee, provided it is sufficiently open and agile.

A more controversial idea in the area of Internet censorship would be to 
provide a package of tools that can help people to penetrate censorship. 
This would also require us to more closely look into the issues of 
authentication and authorization related to anonymous access. Jimmy has 
posted on this issue in his blog a while ago:

I've also published some thoughts on how to distribute anonymization 
tools here:

Finally, Brion and Gerard have been talking about our authentication 
strategies after single login, and the issue of anonymized access could 
certainly be factored into this:

I think at some point we have to make the choice between continuing our 
"appeasement" strategy, or openly confronting censorship. If one 
community on this planet is capable of working together to penetrate 
censorship in order to bring knowledge to people, it is ours. Nobody can 
say that we haven't tried to work with the authorities, and nobody can 
say that we oppose censorship in order to push a political agenda.

We are "knowledge aid workers", and aid workers are not always welcome. 
Sometimes, you have to break the rules of the land in order to do your 
job. As Wikipedia becomes as large as the largest search engines, our 
actions are scruticinized just as closely. As I have said before, we do 
not have to act like a for-profit corporation. We can lead the way for 
others to follow.

However, I'd already be happy to make some progress on Chinese Wikinews 
before taking more radical steps.


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