[Wikimedia-l] Geolocalization improvement proposal

Birgitte_sb at yahoo.com Birgitte_sb at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 24 02:16:28 UTC 2012

On Jul 23, 2012, at 12:48 PM, "Federico Leva (Nemo)" <nemowiki at gmail.com> wrote:

> Birgitte_sb at yahoo.com, 23/07/2012 19:27:
>> On Jul 23, 2012, at 7:42 AM, "Federico Leva (Nemo)" wrote:
>>> Birgitte_sb at yahoo.com, 23/07/2012 14:28:
>>>> I am unaware of what the shortcomings of the current system are and where any improvements would be felt. This makes it a bit hard to have a firm opinion of the trade-offs involved with changing the system. So what exactly are the problems people are having with the current geolocation system?
>>> As the page tries to prove, looks like the current system is completely unreliable and therefore useless for most geonotices in Italy and probably other places.
>> I think it would be useful to have a wider study of the accuracy of the current system. Privacy issues are always a concern.  I am not certain I could support gathering more exact information on users who are well-served by the current system. It would be more supportable, I think, if there were a way to turn on the browser-based system only for those who are in areas that are known to be poorly served by the current system. Or if you were to ask those who geolocate to known ambiguous areas to opt-in to browser-based geolocation. There is obviously a benefit for some people, but a cost to everyone if we were to switch wholesale. Further study to determine exactly how widespread and how significant the benefit would be is something that I think might be useful.
> What if the new system happened e.g. to be needed for geonotices (to distinguish regions within a country) but not fundraising (which so far cares only about country, for currency/language/payment/legal purposes)?

I already was thinking it was as you said. I can't see why I would feel any different about using it for fundraising purposes, and I think we already use the separate browser data rather than geolocation to identify language. If anything I might be inclined to think a person would find it more desirable to know it.WM is hosting an event in their city, than to learn that their money is wanted in more targeted way. Not to put down fundraising, but I think people really like to know about local events. I certainly enjoy these notices. Maybe big city folk are too jaded to feel this way, but imagine that many other people must enjoy this too. I know whenever I see a local event mentioned on some big website, I always think of Judy Garland (if you have ever seen the movie "Meet Me in St. Louis") saying, "I can't believe it. Right here were we live - right here in St. Louis!" I don't get that magical feeling from fundraisers! So I definitely believe what it.WM wants to do, to connect people with local events, has real value. And that it has value for the individual people just as much as for it.WM.

The main question is whether the benefit from being able to connect people with local events is worth the risk of collecting more personalized of their data than we are accustomed to handling.  Maybe the benefit does win out for many people in Italy (I don't really understand enough about what degree of improvement you are anticipating to have a firm opinion). But it is certainly not worth the risk for people in areas that do not notice problems with the current system. This is why I am suggesting that the browser feature might only be limited to areas that are known to reach some pre-defined level of error under geolocation. Or else that it be made an opt-in feature (perhaps even advertised through the current geonotice in areas that are known to be a problem).  However I don't believe that gathering more browser data for everyone everywhere is a likely to be good overall solution.

Birgitte SB

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