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

Richard Symonds richard.symonds at wikimedia.org.uk
Mon Aug 6 20:36:35 UTC 2012


That idea - my idea - is taken wildly out-of-context, and I feel I have to
step in and defend it. We were all asked to come up with a crazy idea that
could costs about £10k as part of a brainstorming session - the canal boat
idea was my contribution. As you know, I know a fair bit about narrowboats,
and when asked to come up with a crazy idea, it's usually where I start.
There's nothing wrong with liking boats. It's a running joke with me (and
my picture on ED is of me in a sailor suit...)

It wasn't long ago that people on the WMUK list were suggesting ideas like
funding open-source ocean-going ROVs, to take photos of shipwrecks - while
not all of these ideas are workable, I think it's fantastic that we're
having such creative ideas. Innovation is a fantastic thing: just because
something is wacky and zany, doesn't mean that it's a waste of money;
equally just because something isn't feeding African orphans, doesn't mean
it's not a charitable endeavour. There are UK charities out there that
exist just to fund donkeys, or of course charities like KCM Europe (
http://www.kcm.org.uk/) which exist for the advancement of religion. It is
a matter of personal choice for the donor as to where a donor's money goes.
I am confident that this year, we'll be raising money for some fantastic
projects - a larger version of Monmouthpedia, or a new digitization project
with the National Archives - or maybe even the next Wikidata.

To conclude, I want to share my own feelings on who I donate to: I donate
to several charities, one of which is a homelessness charity who have
helped me and my loved ones greatly in the past. The others are all
education charities. This is because it's my belief that, in the long term,
free education for all is the best way to solve world poverty, world hunger
and conflict. You might disagree - I daresay many people would - but I feel
that if only we were all as wise as a wise old owl, the world would be a
much, much better place.

Richard Symonds
(Wikimedia UK staff, but with my volunteer hat on).

On 6 August 2012 21:06, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466 at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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>
>  wrote:
> > 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 ...
> ---o0o---
> 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.
> ---o0o---
> 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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