[Foundation-l] getting Wikipedia to the 5.2 billion people who can't access it

Anthony wikimail at inbox.org
Sun May 31 13:48:03 UTC 2009

On Sun, May 31, 2009 at 9:17 AM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com>wrote:

> 2009/5/31 Anthony <wikimail at inbox.org>:
> > If Waves works anything like email, then it will be possible to use it
> when
> > not directly connected to the Internet.  How's that for helping get
> > Wikipedia to people without Internet access?
> Not very. Waves, like email, should work for people with intermittent
> internet access, but it's pretty useless for people with no internet
> access.

How many people in the world have intermittent Internet access?  I guess
you're right if you were just saying that Wave doesn't directly help someone
with absolutely no Internet access.  If so, I misunderstood, because my
comment was that Google Wave can "help the WMF achieve its goals".

> >> > Personally, I didn't even know the number was 5.2 billion.  Should I
> do
> >> this
> >> > further research myself, or can someone answer these questions for me?
> >>
> >> Wikipedia [1] tells me there are 1.58 billion internet users world
> >> wide. It also tells me [2] there are 6.78 billion people in the world.
> >> That leaves 5.20 billion non-internet users.
> >
> >
> > Ah.  :(  That's not very helpful...  What does it mean to be an "internet
> > user"?
> Don't know, I didn't look at the methodology of the statistics (rookie
> mistake, I know). Hang on... Ok, it looks like the data comes fro a
> variety of sources, so I doubt there is a common methodology. Take the
> statistics with a large pinch of salt!

That's a pretty important question.  If not being an internet user just
means that you have internet at the library and not in your home, the method
to reach such people is much different.  Considering that the United States
is listed at 74.7%, I'm sure "internet user" is defined too strictly for the
purpose of saying who "can't access [Wikipedia]".

> While we can't directly help with things like getting
> >> people access to clean water, education is a very important part of
> >> any long term scheme to get people out of poverty, and we can
> >> certainly help there.
> >
> >
> > I'd say education is lower on the list than most people think, unless you
> > mean education as a means to get the hell out of the place you're living
> in.
> It depends if you are thinking long term or short term. Short term,
> education is pretty useless, but long term it is extremely important.

I still think it's less important than most people make it out to be.  I'd
say politics is much more important than education in terms of getting
people out of poverty long term, and a good education does not at all
guarantee a good set of political beliefs.

I don't think getting people out of poverty by moving them is a
> sustainable strategy, you need to make the poor villages wealthier.
> That means enabling them to move beyond subsistence living, which
> education is a key part of.

I think you're ignoring the political reality of the situation.  Poor
villages are poor due to 1) lack of natural resources and/or 2) a bad
political environment.  In either case, the long term solution is to leave
until the conditions have improved.  Yes, lack of education is a problem,
but poor education is a result of 1 and/or 2, not the other way around.

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