[Foundation-l] Letter to the community on Controversial Content

rupert THURNER rupert.thurner at gmail.com
Mon Oct 10 04:17:49 UTC 2011

On Sun, Oct 9, 2011 at 14:55, Ting Chen <tchen at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> Dear Wikimedia community,
> First, I want to thank the 24,000 editors who participated in the
> Wikimedia Foundation's referendum on the proposed personal image hiding
> feature. We are particularly grateful to the nearly seven thousand
> people who took the time to write in detailed and thoughtful comments.
> Thank you.
> Although the Board did not commission the referendum (it was
> commissioned by our Executive Director), we have read the results and
> followed the discussions afterwards with great interest. We discussed
> them at our Board meeting in San Francisco, in October. We are
> listening, and we are hearing you.
> The referendum results show that there is significant division inside
> the Wikimedia community about the potential value and impact of an image
> hiding feature.

many thanks, ting, for this thoughtful mail. since the beginning of
the discussion i was wondering if it would be controversial to just
give up on image filters. and since the beginning of the discussion i
was wondering if its the foundations desired role to ignite
controversial discussions within the community.

and since the beginning of the discussion about image filters i was
wondering if it would not be one additional thing distracting a part
of the community, the developers, the chapters, the foundation, and
the foundations board from listening to the world outside wikipedia,
both with respect to contents, and technology.

to give you an example: a single person, salman khan, was able to
build a youtube channel containing a couple of thousand educational
videos, subscribed nearly 200'000 times, and watched nearly a 100
million times. with a budget of a couple of 100'000 usd, maximum.
despite questionable details (e.g. npov is missing completely) i find
the quality of the videos impressingly good.

additionally, there are others doing the same thing with even less
budget. "aggregators" are developping around this ecosysytem as well.
and everything without wikimedia foundation, whose vision is "..freely
share in the sum of all knowledge", and whose mission is " ... collect
and develop educational content under a free license or in the public
domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally." partially
this evolves right on wmf's doorsteps, in san francisco.

knowing this vision and mission, and knowing the new projects were
built up without any involvment of the wikimedia foundation, operating
e.g. wikiversity, having 20 times the budget and 20-50 times the
people, having a multiple thousand times the volunteers, this leaves
me completely speachless ....

some links:
* http://khanacademy.org
* http://youtube.com/watch?v=-ROhfKyxgCo
* http://academicearth.org/lectures/gender-sex-linked-traits
* http://academicearth.org/about/team
* http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mission_statement
* http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Vision

best regards,


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