[Foundation-l] Rethinking brands

Anthony wikilegal at inbox.org
Wed May 9 12:31:19 UTC 2007

On 5/9/07, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> On 5/8/07, Claudio Mastroianni <gattonero at gmail.com> wrote:
> > if you abuse of the brand "Wikipedia", you just make it weaker.
> > As for now, Wikipedia is a strong brand: it makes people thinking at
> > a _encyclopedia_.
> Not really; see my response to Brianna. This is a bias in our own
> community: We have a strong attachment to our internal semantics,
> which do not necessarily relate to the way outsiders perceive our
> projects. For most who use Wikipedia, it's simply a site on the web
> that has tons of useful information (many are still not aware that it
> is user-edited). They do not share any academic definitions of what
> Wikipedia is or is not.
I think your argument is good, if you treat the project communities as
a self-contained corporate entity, and only worry about how the name
change would work externally.  If the WMF were a corporation like
Google, with the majority of the work being done by employees who
could pretty much just be ordered to go along with the name change, it
would probably work.

But that's not the way things are.  The vast majority of people
working on the Commons, and Wikibooks, and Wikinews, and all the other
projects, are volunteers.  The brand is as much for them as it is for
those who merely read the content.  Confusing all the volunteers, even
if none of the "outsiders" notice, would be extremely problematic.

If the name change could somehow be done in a way which doesn't
confuse the vast community (many of whom don't speak English well or
even at all), it might be a good thing.  I haven't really decided if I
think it would or not.  But at first glance the name change implies to
me that Wikipedia is becoming a parent of the other projects.  I know
that isn't true, but how much time and effort will it take to explain
it to the members of all the projects, who don't read this or any of
the mailing lists, who don't speak English, etc?

I'm not convinced it would work.  You might be able to convince me, though.


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