Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Disrupting #Wikipedia

With the tenth anniversary of Wikipedia imminent, it is a great moment to consider the value that the Wikimedia movement added by disrupting the status quo.
  • both Wikipedia and Wiktionary are now the most popular projects of its kind
  • Commons is an increasingly relevant source of freely licensed media material
  • more people have a practical awareness of the value of freely licensed content
  • there are many communities who collaborate on freely available and or freely licensed content
As this has proven itself as extremely beneficial, disrupting Wikipedia must be done without killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

So there must be clear benefits to disrupt the status quo. The funny thing with disruption is that it implies that business will not be as usual. This means that an able writer who is also an effective misogynist should be banned even though this is not supported by current practices.

Obviously the communities are most valuable but contrary to
what many people say, there is not one community. The readers of the English language Wikipedia are increasingly from non-Anglo-Saxon countries but realising a project of all the towns and villages of India is not yet in the cards.

The Wikimedia Foundation used to concentrate its efforts on the requirements of the "Wikipedia". This made sense given the limited resources that were available. With a budget of more then 10 million dollar this argument lost much of its validity. The WMF strategy made India a target for much of its growth. To realise the potential of India it is important to realise the technical requirements for the Indic languages. This should not lead to the splintering of the technical community as is likely to happen.

When you look at the world from an African perspective, its opportunities are huge.The experience we gained in the Indian subcontinent and Indonesia indicates what can be done if we set our minds to it. There is however not one African perspective in the same way as there is not one African opportunity. When we are willing to realise African opportunities we should look for the best and brightest opportunities and learn what works where.

The biggest disruption, with in my opinion the biggest opportunities, is in creating a chapter for the United States. A chapter organises all the content and community activities in a country, as what is good for the goose is good for then gander there is no real argument to leave the current situation as is. It will leave the Wikimedia Foundation as a global organisation that will fill in the gaps where there is no chapter.
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