[Foundation-l] free access to the sum of all human knowledge

David Strauss david at fourkitchens.com
Sun Jan 14 20:43:49 UTC 2007

I agree that we're working toward an inspirational, valuable goal, but
we cannot ignore the realities of achieving it.

If we ignore all countries' laws, we cease to exist for legal reasons.

If we abide by all countries' laws, we cease to exist for content reasons.

We have to find a middle ground, and all the inspiration and
introspection about free knowledge in the world won't help us find it.
We need to have the discussions we're having right now.

When Wikipedia was younger, the communities were much smaller and more
homogeneous. We weren't on the legal radar of many organizations, and
the community generally agreed on most issues.

The discussions we're having aren't a sign of weakness in our projects.
They're a sign that Wikipedia has grown large enough that it must
confront these issues.

Tough discussions like these are what push the free knowledge movement
forward. The international interaction strips away the echo chambers
that plague smaller-scale discussions and forces us to define what free
knowledge means.

And that's progress, not disintegration.

Anthony wrote:
> Imagine a world in which every single person is given free access to
> the sum of all human knowledge.  Seriously, don't just read the words,
> imagine it.  Forget about rules-lawyering and what Wikipedia is not
> and think about what it would take to achieve something of that
> magnitude.
> I imagine a collaborative tool that allows me to upload and download
> information in a seamless fashion, and one which allows me to search
> through that information to find what it is that interests me.
> Getting a bit more detailed and realistic, I imagine a website that
> allows its visitors to find information about virtually anything, one
> which allows its visitors to *easily* add knowledge that isn't yet
> assimilated, and one which allows its visitors to index that knowledge
> in a way which will help others find what they are looking for.
> Am I way off, or are there others out there on this list who would
> like to create something like that?  If so, how can we do it without
> ruffling the feathers of those who have a different preconceived
> notion of what it is the foundation is doing?  Does this need to be a
> separate project?
> I have a feeling that some people are going to respond by saying that
> Wikipedia is already pretty much doing this.  Before you say that
> please at least note the part about it being *easy* to add knowledge.
> Anthony
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> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
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