[Foundation-l] A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen cimonavaro at gmail.com
Mon Apr 23 02:08:55 UTC 2007

On 4/23/07, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Two comments
> The first is that in my opinion, refusing ads is not simply an ethical
> position. My problem with ads is that when they are "google ads" type,
> they decreases if not negate the neutrality of an article. An example I
> always use is the article on tires. If we put an ads of Michelin on the
> tire article, then we can not claim it is neutral anymore (Michelin is
> from my city).

I am slightly confused by this attempt at a line of reasoning. I do
think that compromising our neutrality would be essentially an ethical
problem, although of course there would be our reputation on teh line
as well.

Furthermore, I find arguing from a *specific* type of advertising
compromising our integrity, to the conclusion that all adverts would
necessarily have the same effect, is highly suspect logic.

That said; what you say does very clearly underline the point that as
geni and David said above, everything would have to be thought through
very deeply and carefully.

But to think on the proactive, positive side of this question, can
somebody point out which kinds of adverts *would* not compomise our

> I might at best consider ads on the search pages, though not happily.
> But ads on the articles themselves is really something I am not supporting.

Putting ads on search pages is a *bad* *bad* *bad* idea. Our search is
the worst and most irritating feature of the whole mediawiki software,
and to compound it by putting adverts on it, ARRGH, words fail me.

> The second is that to really bring in money, an ads needs to be on a
> "visited" website. Right now, the visited website is the .org. For ads
> (or any commercial feature for that matter) to be successful, we would
> need to orient visitors to be .com rather than to the .org. So, by
> default, the world would have access to a website 1) with ads, 2) not
> editable and 3) with stable versions.

Reply to 3):
As was said above the wikipedia.com pages would be teh safe and sweet
checked out and stable versions, and thus preferrable by schools etc.
That would help direct traffic towards them gradually, likely the site
would be faster too.

Reply to 1):
I confess that I daily visit many sites with ads on them, and they
only annoy me if they pop up to obscure the text or when they slow
down the page loading. I think if we avoided both those and the other
possible egregious annoyances - pages would load fast, and ads would
not be popping up in your face - I personally think it might well be
what I myself would check first wikipedia.com on many instances, when
I was not actively searching for things to edit.

Reply to 2):
Perhaps it was not spelled out, my understanding (I certainly think it
would be fundamentally a requirement) is that teh article pages should
certainly each and every time *advertise* (heh) the fact that we have
the editable version which may either be more up to date, or on the
other hand may have deteriorated to some degree, and which we would
welcome work on, if the reader knows about the subject, or is
otherwise happy to volunteer to improve our content in genereal.

As a final thought, I think movement in this should be very careful,
paced, considered and deliberate, and even after the site went up, I
find it provable that for a long time the .org side would quite easily
dominate the popular imagination.

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen, ~ [[User:Cimon Avaro]]

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