[Wikimedia-l] Outage: what I'm telling the press

Andreas Kolbe jayen466 at gmail.com
Mon Aug 6 20:06:35 UTC 2012

On Mon, Aug 6, 2012 at 8:54 PM, David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 6 August 2012 20:43, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > David, the BBC says you told them the following:
> See, this is where you part ways with how the media works. These days
> I count it as a win if anything in quotes uses words I've ever used in
> my life.

Well, glad to hear the words gaffer tape and string never crossed your
lips, then. I still think you should call them and disabuse them of their
notion that WMF is desperately short of cash.

On Mon, Aug 6, 2012 at 8:47 PM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com>

> On 6 August 2012 20:43, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Could you get back to the BBC, please, David, and tell them that they
> > somehow seem to have gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick here? And
> > could you drop the "gaffer tape and string" jokes next time round?
> We operate the fifth most visited website in the world on an
> operations budget of a few million dollars. It is you that has the
> wrong end of the stick...

$35 million is not "a few million dollars". Wikipedia was indeed run on a
budget of a few million dollars a few years ago, but that's no longer the
case. And the chapters are having to come up with creative ideas to spend
their money. One of the latest suggestions raised by a Wikimedia UK staff
member was that ...


We could put a volunteer or two on a specially fitted-out (and
Wikipedia-liveried?) live-aboard boat for the summer, and have them map the
canal network - taking photos of every building, every lock, and even
taking video footage of sections of the trip from a roof-mounted camera. A
GPS system would trace the entire route for Open Street Map. British
Waterways may also be interested, as we'd essentially be doing a
mini-survey of the network, including all the structures, for them. We
could fit the inside of the barge with a small supply of educational
materials and a marquis for stopping the 'wiki-barge' in towns along the
way.*What would we need?* - A narrowboat, to hire, for the summer - needs
to be quite small. Two volunteers, technically minded, at least one of whom
knows about narrowboats. GPS equipment (possibly able to loan from OSM or
British Waterways?). A 3G internet connection (wouldn't work everywhere,
but would work when near a village/town). A camera (and possibly a
video-camera). Lots of hard drive space. Expenses for the volunteers
aboard. Brochures/booklets.


All fine and dandy, but then let's please do our best to ensure that the
BBC don't print "gaffer tape and string" sob stories about us. The tenner
that someone in India sends us might indeed be better spent on a local
charity there that actually feeds someone, or keeps someone healthy.

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