Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Investment 101 .. put money in growth

Conventional wisdom has it that the English #Wikipedia has plateaued. The same is true for the German and the Japanese Wikipedia. From an investment point of view, there are two reasons to put money in stagnant properties: to maintain the value of the property and to grow a property even further.

English is going down even in the USA
The English language Wikipedia is currently the most valuable resource for the WMF, but when you look at the trends, its traffic as a percentage is going down in most countries. At the same time the endemic languages are growing.

One of the truisms of investment is that you invest in where the biggest growth is, this would benefit languages like Russian, Spanish and Portuguese. The problem is that this does not help any of the other languages including English. So there is a need for a different approach.

Considering the formulated approach of leaving local things to chapters, the WMF can invest in technology and approaches that are neutral to languages but promote growth. A truly multi-lingual Commons, improved usability for MediaWiki and Commons, tools that identify demand..

There is only one aspect where language targeted investment makes sense; this is where a level playing field is established. This is where we fix issues that prevent a language to be properly expressed on the Internet.
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