[Wikimedia-l] FreeBSD fate and the lesson for Wikimedia movement

Amir E. Aharoni amir.aharoni at mail.huji.ac.il
Mon Dec 10 05:17:35 UTC 2012

2012/12/10 Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com>:
> And our competition are not various online encyclopedias -- not one as
> large and as relevant as Wikipedia. Our competition are top Internet
> sites, which are taking away the attention of our users.
> Fortunately, no top Internet site has enough of imagination to create
> viable collaborative educational project of Wikipedia size. (BTW, they
> have courage to do that -- Google Knol was the best try. Fortunately.)
> Fortunately, we don't have serious competitor outside of our broader
> movement (we don't have it inside, neither, but that wouldn't be so
> bad news; actually, bad news is that we don't have internal competitor
> yet).

If the definition of a competitor is "a complete, general,
multi-lingual, rather well-edited encyclopedia", then we don't really
have competitors. Knol was a joke hardly worth mentioning, which is
not necessarily good.

But if the definition of a competitor is "a website that brings up
seemingly useful results to Google searches in English", then
StackOverflow are Quora are rather strong competitors for certain
types of searches. And yes, they have social network features worth
learning. You know, reputation points, and automatic granting of
various privileges based on these points. And we only have
"autoconfirmed" and the dreaded RFA.

Wordpress.com and Tumblr (and in some areas - LiveJournal) are also
competitors in the category of "websites where people who are able to
write a few grammatical sentences are writing about things they love".
We probably shouldn't compete with them for the users' attention,
because Wikipedia will never provide the complete editorial freedom
that they do, but we can learn a thing or two from their communities.
Tumblr has some unexplained coolness around itself; I cannot say any
more about it. Wordpress' strong card is its rather stable PHP-based
platform, and when you think of it, that platform is not much more
technically advanced than MediaWiki is, but it has a much more vibrant
community of users. And when I say "vibrant", I mean "lots of people
make money out of installing Wordpress for their clients". I know that
it's a dirty question, but did anyone ever try to estimate how much
money is made around the world from maintaining MediaWiki sites?

And LiveJournal, though it may seem shocking to some people, is still
going very strong in some areas of the world, most notably the former
Soviet Union. For people who are, again, able to write a few
grammatical sentences in Russian and some other post-Soviet languages,
that is the premier social network. It has the "everybody is there"
appeal, and it has a the hands-down best comments support. (By the
way, MediaWiki talk pages suck and we all know it. But well, there are
attempts to fix it.)

Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
‪“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬

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