[Foundation-l] what do we do in the event the Foundation fails? - Re: Pol...

Lars Aronsson lars at aronsson.se
Thu Apr 19 04:49:12 UTC 2007

daniwo59 at aol.com wrote:

> Nevertheless, there is a reason people turn to Wikipedia and not 
> Answers.com or Ask.com or any other such product. It is the 
> name. Our strength lies in our brand. Our strength lies in 
> recognizability.  Our strength lies in the fact that people want 
> to be on Wikipedia, and not our mirrors. It lies in the fact 
> that we are the one at the top of the Google charts.

The Wikimedia Foundation is here to produce free contents, to 
create a product.  For the production some central servers are 
needed.  Currently, the product is also consumed (read, cited, 
linked to) from webservers operated by WMF, but this is not at all 
a necessary arrangement.  A lot of the money that WMF must now ask 
in donations is burnt on providing servers and bandwidth for this 
consumption.  If instead the website said "please login if you 
wish to edit; if you only wish to read, please visit our mirrors", 
then the need for servers and bandwidth would be reduced and much 
money would be saved.  People would link to mirrors such as 
Answers.com instead of wikipedia.org. The "Page rank" and thus the 
commercial value of the domain names would be diluted, and this 
would reduce the risk of anybody trying to overtake them.

The idea that WMF needs strong brand recognition, broad public 
trust and high ranking in search engines for its domain names in 
order to solicit donations in order to run the servers, is based 
on a false assumption.  WMF doesn't need to provide servers for 
readers.  WMF doesn't need to pump around all this money.  WMF is 
not a major corporation.  It is a small and informal club for 
boring people who find joy in writing an encyclopedia.

> What Kelly and I have talked about is losing our brand.

Instead of that being a risk, I think it could be a successful 
strategy. Lose it, drop it. Shake off all this hype that currently 
surrounds Wikipedia. We could get away from discussing money and 
lawyers and instead we could focus on how to write a better 

Disclaimer: I'm not speaking for the foundation.  I have never 
held any trusted position or rank within the Wikipedia community. 
I'm just an occasional contributor, logging in as user:LA2.

  Lars Aronsson (lars at aronsson.se)
  Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se

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