[Foundation-l] How Kul is that?

simonpedia simon at cols.com.au
Thu Feb 7 00:11:52 UTC 2008

Or should I say, How is that, Kul?


Look mate (I hope you don’t mind me calling you this, as I’ve been in your
position too many times),


I understand that you have a rod up your back created by the Foundation’s
philosophy. So can I throw in a few heresies here, and a direct comparison
with Rotary, as it’s a philanthropic whose Foundation’s philosophy (I think)
is not dissimilar to the WMF’s.


The WMF’s founders are no doubt innovators; they have created a “new star”
which has tens of thousands of people’s hopes up. But they are not
Entrepreneurs, they are Philanthropists. At least, by their actions, that is
how they see themselves. The problem here is that they sit on the combined
goodwill of their star gazers without shifting economic resources out of an
area of lower, into an area of higher, productivity and greater yield”
(using J,B. Say’s definition: around 1800 “The Entrepreneur shifts economic
resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity
and greater yield”) 


The only people making money (yielding) out of Wikipedia, etc are PR
companies who charge their customers for keeping their articles current. If
you’d like some ammunition for this argument I can provide it. The founder’s
honest beliefs have led to the time consuming distraction of gaining revenue
via lots of little donations; quite logical if you are a philanthropist. But
even Rotary produces magazines and newsletters around which they (and their
chapter’s publishers) wrap advertising revenue. And I would never suggest
that these ads would be sold on the basis of the content produced. This is a
point of contention for every publisher and, whether it’s admitted or not at
the moment, this is a business that the WMF is in. 


So until the attitudes change, which they undoubtedly will, if for no other
reason than to acknowledge that some volunteers around here know so much
more about a subject than PR professionals and should be paid accordingly, I
can only hope that the donor meetings serve good food and are entertaining.
In the meantime, as an experiment in how much time and money is lost in
asking for donations instead of simply offering a space for a dollar
figure/month or minute, why don’t you just test the water and ask an
advertising agency how much for just the one spot ?

The board should at least be informed as to what they are saying NO to these


We can see that good talent is everywhere. If we consider Erik’s elevation
to a high rank as an example of a process in action, then Germany is made
poorer by him not having had an apprentice, who steps in to fill his old
role. This is the point I’m trying to make. Go outside the community and
you’re bringing in professionals like yourself. That’s great. But be aware
that this is a new form of philanthropy. Wikimedians don’t need “a service”
provided to them other than a decent technical infrastructure, and treating
their work as anything but professional is denigrating. So they need proof,
and hope that if they work hard, they might be elevated too. Enough heresy
for today. Good luck. simon



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