[Foundation-l] [Announcement] update in board of trustees membership

Mathias Schindler mathias.schindler at gmail.com
Mon Dec 17 09:57:48 UTC 2007

On Dec 17, 2007 4:01 AM, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Dear community,

> I do not share the same optimism than Jimbo with regards to Knol. I
> think Knol is probably our biggest threat since the creation of
> Wikipedia. I really mean the biggest. Maybe not so much the project
> itself, but the competition it will create, the PR consequences, the
> financial tsunami, the confusion in people minds (free as in free speech
> or as in free of charge).

Hi Anthere,

as some of you know, I am quite focussed on monitoring media items
about wikipedia. Out of 150 news items in Germany about Google Knol,
not a single one of them did *not* mention Wikipedia. This is a media
perception thing, since some of the journalists do not know about the
existence of encyclopedias beside wikipedia any more...

While I agree that Google Knol's effect will be larger than just the
project itself, I do not see a threat in it - unless one starts to
think that Wikipedia has some kind of monopoly on Knowledge or
encyclopedic texts. The consequences you mentioned have always been
there, when britannica made their free-of-charge-trial, when some
*pedia-spinoffs decided to use a non-free license, when mirrors
introduced advertisements, when WMF for some reason decided to leave
the impression that it is now paying illustrators.... A project does
not turn from rotten to golden just because you put "Google" in front
of it and there are far to few facts out there to give a justified
opinion whether it will fail or succeed (by any metric).

My advise is to wait until the project has actually surfaced, to
analyse it (maybe also to play with it) and to look carefully which
parts might be adaptable. And not to consider it a threat, neither in
public statements nor in thinking.


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