[Foundation-l] Social networking (was: Analysis of lists statistics: community in decline)

Milos Rancic millosh at gmail.com
Sun Nov 2 17:40:11 UTC 2008

On Sun, Nov 2, 2008 at 5:19 PM, Robert Rohde <rarohde at gmail.com> wrote:
> There are many who seem to feel that using Wikipedia for socializing
> and fun is contrary to our mission, especially if it attracts people
> who aren't contributors to the encyclopedia.  Personally, I think
> that's nonsense, and the community benefits from increased cohesion
> when there is fun and socializing to be had, but I realize that many
> people don't see it that way.

There are three issues here:
* If the point is that a part of the community doesn't want to have
social networking because of the principles -- besides your (positive)
point -- I have one more (negative): We are not able to choose anymore
what do we like, we are in the critical position and we desperately
need some fresh blood. Even it may be not so obvious at the field,
leaving this discussion for the next year this time -- may be too
* For those who really don't want to have social networking options,
there should be an option "turn it off".
* I think that I am not the only one who is using social networking
sites just to be in touch with friends. And a lot of my friends are
Wikimedians; and I am more interested in their Wikimedian activities
than what did they do at Elven Blood :) However, I think that games at
some future social networking for Wikimedia projects would be much
better: there are a lot of possible educational games which may be
very nice.

On Sun, Nov 2, 2008 at 5:47 PM, Pharos <pharosofalexandria at gmail.com> wrote:
> We should keep in mind that there is a much broader community out
> there beyond Wikimedians, who are interested in cooperative efforts in
> promoting priojects.
> Personally, we've had great success working with the 2 Students For
> Free Culture chapters in New York City, who have supported Wikimedia
> projects as ardently as any Wikimedians.
> On a level of real-life organization, there should be no sharp line
> between people with Wikimedia user accounts and those without.  The
> basic skills in organizing real-life events and projects are
> orthogonal to particular technical skills or specializations.
> What we really need is a social networking site for the whole Free
> Culture/Open Source community, so that we can build a thousand
> coalitions in a thousand different cities.
> In researching this idea, I happened upon this proposal last year from
> the Free Software Foundation for a "Planet Libre":
> http://www.libervis.com/article/july_2007_letter_to_free_software_foundation_associate_members
> That particular initiative appears to have foundered over recent
> months.  I suggest we should revive it, and in cooperation with Free
> Software Foundation, develop a "Planet Libre" social networking site
> based on Elgg.

I would like to see such social networking site. But, I am skeptical
about making one another social networking site. I've got calls for
some academic and free society social networking sites, but I don't
see them as active. Maybe it may function in some areas, like Orkut
functions well in Brazil (I saw one more in Russia and one more in
India). But, none of them is near to even MySpace, not to talk about

At the other side, Wikipedia has the potential to gather significant
community. We don't even need a notice at the site. We just need to
make it and to tell that to the world. And we will be in this position
for some time; at least until Wikipedia is at the top ten sites. Also,
I am sure that free software community would treat Wikimedia social
networking platform as their own.

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