[Foundation-l] Rethinking brands

daniwo59 at aol.com daniwo59 at aol.com
Wed May 9 22:31:00 UTC 2007

Well stated. To me this whole idea of changing brands and renaming projects  
is just flogging a dead horse. It ain't gonna happen. The fact is that there 
is  too much opposition.
In a message dated 5/9/2007 3:11:25 PM Eastern Daylight Time,  
notafishz at gmail.com writes:

Back to  the basics.

On 5/8/07, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org>  wrote:
> (Part of a "Rethinking" series.)

You keep asking for  "rational reasons".
Many people on this thread have said it. Looking for  rational
arguments might not be the way to go. David Gerard, however,  has
given, in my opinion, the most striking of all in his  last
intervention, I quote:

"If you don't understand that that is a  rational reason, you don't
understand volunteer motivation."

But  let's try and leave emotions aside. There is one thing that
strikes me in  this whole conversation as missing.

You argue that renaming everything  Wikipedia would bring the following:

> * Strength of Wikipedia brand  directly reflects on other activities.

Wikipedia is a strong  brand, I'll grant you that. Let's push the
reasoning a bit further. Is it a  "positive brand"? ie. will it really
shed light on the other projects once  they are called "Wikipedia

We can argue that yes,  Wikipedia is a positive brand. I will argue
that it is a positive brand for  what it is.

Wikipedia has something on everything.
Wikipedia is  always up to date
Wikipedia is (almost) as good as Britannica
Wikipedia  is free as in beer
Wikipedia is free as in speech
Wikipedia is user  generated content and allows everyone to share their  

However, we also have:

Wikipedia is  unreliable
(Hmmm. Not good for Wikipedia books -Wikibooks-,  that)
Wikipedia has been banned as a source from X and Y news  agency
(Not good for Wikipedia News -Wikinews- to ever be recognized as  a
source of news)
Wikipedia cannot be quoted by students in  universities
(So much for Wikipedia source -Wikisource- as a comprehensive  source
of original works)
(So much for ever hoping Wikipedia learning  -Wikiversity- is ever
going to be anything)
(So much for trying to slip  Wikipedia books -Wikibooks- into schools)

In the end, I find  that one of your "rational" (well, I suppose you
deem them rational) reason  to undergo such a change is set on a strong
personal opinion that Wikipedia  everything is the way to go, because
It Is Good (TM), because It Will Bring  More Cash (TM) and because It
Is Better Known (TM). In the end, I find this  hardly rational.

For the record, I agree with the fact that our brands  are messy. I
even agree that we should try to rename some of the projects,  but I
would do so in the hope of giving them a chance to escape the  shadow
of Wikipedia.

But in the end, I agree with Yann that the  target audiences are not
the same for all the projects, that they should  not be, and that it
ensures that there is a place for all possible  contributors and
I agree with Andreas and David Gerard that  emotion is also a big part
of the rational reasons why we should not  consider a change in the
"Wikipedia all" direction.
I agree with Kelly  that we should be trying to shed more light on
other Wikimedia  projects.
And I strongly disagree with your statement, which again is posed  as a
rational reason, but which I believe is not, that the media  pressure
is so big on the other Wikimedia projects that they all have  to
achieve the success of Wikipedia. Where is it written that this is  the
case? Have you polled the active communities in the other  projects
about this? In any case, on this I agree with Brianna that hits  in
Google are a lame unit to measure the success (or lack thereof) of  a
project (and I agree with Brianna on millions of other things  she

Most of all, I am convinced that although Wikipedia may  be the best
known of our projects, our true mission (distribute free  knowledge and
even "free" the knowledge) will be achieved on a much greater  scale
through our other projects. It's Wikibooks you'll find in  schools.
It's free images from Commons you find in the newspaper  everywhere,
it's Wikisource academics are pointed to to have access to  documents
that are found nowhere else... Not Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is  an amazing tool to bring everyone to the core of our
mission. As such, we  should protect it, brand and all. I don't
believe, however, that Wikipedia  is some magic wand that suddenly
unites the whole world. It may sound cool  to be called "Wikipedia
somethingorother" but it does not reflect our  diversity, which I
believe is our greatest  strength.

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