[Foundation-l] One Wikipedia Per Person (regarding the distribution of and the ability to read Wikipedia)

Foxy Loxy foxyloxy.wikimedia at gmail.com
Sun May 31 05:54:58 UTC 2009

It does sound like an excellent idea, but it does appear to require us 
teaming up with Google, a hardware vendor, a software vendor (the OS of 
course), a distributor and various governments that may or may not wish 
they people having access to 'forbidden' information.

Assembling a chain of production that long, particularly for a 
non-profit foundation that doesn't have the best reputation (I'm not 
saying it's justified, but many people in high places will go 'ew, 
wikipedia'). And then of course we have the money issue.

On Sunday, 31 May 2009 10:38 am, Brian wrote:
> Given currently existing technology, and technology that we can 
> reasonably
> assume to be available within the next decade, how can the WMF best 
> achieve
> its goal of giving every person free access to our current best summary 
> of
> all human knowledge?
> Consider that Google Translate has the best machine translation corpus,
> consisting not only of the Internet but also all United Nations 
> translations
> and many other datasets. It is the closest existing thing to a 
> Babelfish,
> now supporting 41 languages and winning all translation competitions 
> for
> several years. It will continue to be the best for the foreseeable 
> future.
> Consider that 75% of the world is not online and that there may be a 
> way to
> beat market forces in the race to getting free Internet access to every
> person by literally giving Wikipedia to every person instead, offline. 
> Our
> current micro-content distribution model would be sufficient if 
> everyone had
> access to the Internet. They don't so it's not.
> Consider that the money the WMF could potentially raise through 
> competitive
> market forces (the OLPC way) may lag behind the money they can raise 
> through
> their idealistic goals, uncompromised values and principles, and smart
> ideas. This money can be used to give copies of the entirety of 
> Wikipedia
> away.
> Consider that access to Wikipedia does not require readability proper
> (beautiful prose), just the ability to comprehend the information, and 
> just
> barely. The human brain is the most powerful translator in existence, 
> we
> just have to meet said brain halfway. We may see a meta language in our
> lifetimes but not within the next decade. The current best meta 
> language is
> a set of fuzzy translations that are a function of the size of the 
> source
> and target language corpuses.
> I propose a cheap cellphone-sized device (OWPP) whose only purpose is 
> to
> read Wikipedia. The WMF teams up with Google to obtain CC-BY-SA 
> translations
> from all supported source languages to all supported target languages. 
> The
> device holds just one copy of all of the Wikipedia's in a single target
> language.
> The technical specifications of such a device allow for it to be 
> extremely
> cheap.
> Let's let those of us fortunate enough to have access to the Internet
> write an encyclopedia and give it to those who are not,
> sooner rather than later.


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