[Foundation-l] Is popularity a good thing for us?

Delirium delirium at hackish.org
Sun Dec 16 20:10:24 UTC 2007

Andrew Whitworth wrote:
> +our goal is to spread this knowledge freely to all humanity. People
> knowing of our existence is a prerequisite to them using our
> knowledge.

I agree that's currently the case, but it need not be forever. Right now 
the main reason that knowledge-spreading would be reduced by 
*.wiki[m|p]edia.org getting fewer hits is that we're both the content 
producers and the only significant distributors of the content. If there 
were lots of third-party reuse and distribution of our content (as 
intended by our Free license!) then our own popularity would be less 
important, and we could focus more on producing good content, knowing 
that as soon as we put it out there, other organizations would step in 
to distribute it to whatever corners of the earth could benefit from it.

In many ways that'd be better IMO, as central "push" distribution is 
harder to tailor to end-users' needs than "pull" distribution where 
hundreds of organizations around the world reuse our content. One of the 
points of free content is that it's hard to predict exactly how someone 
might want to use something, so best to put it under a license that 
allows anyone to adapt the work as needed.

But so far that seems to be getting started fairly slowly, especially as 
regards other nonprofit organizations doing something interesting with 
our content. Why this is I'm not entirely sure. Is it that nobody has 
good ideas? Or they find the format we provide our dumps in too 
intimidating? Or they want more filtered/stable content? Or they lack 
money? Etc.


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