Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
×
The Internet Communications Wikipedia

The Wikipedia Zero Program Will End This Year (medium.com) 75

Wikimedia: Wikimedia 2030, the global discussion to define the future of the Wikimedia movement, created a bold vision for the future of Wikimedia and the role we want to play in the world as a movement. With this shared vision for our movement's future in mind, the Wikimedia Foundation is evolving how we work with partners to address some of the critical barriers to participating in free knowledge globally. After careful evaluation, the Wikimedia Foundation has decided to discontinue one of its partnership approaches, the Wikipedia Zero program. Wikipedia Zero was created in 2012 to address one barrier to participating in Wikipedia globally: high mobile data costs. Through the program, we partnered with mobile operators to waive mobile data fees for their customers to freely access Wikipedia on mobile devices. Over the course of this year, no additional Wikipedia Zero partnerships will be formed, and the remaining partnerships with mobile operators will expire. In the program's six year tenure, we have partnered with 97 mobile carriers in 72 countries to provide access to Wikipedia to more than 800 million people free of mobile data charges. Further reading: Medium.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Wikipedia Zero Program Will End This Year

Comments Filter:
  • Good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Itâ(TM)s hypocritical for anyone to support Wikipedia zero and also support net neutrality.
    • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

      by arglebargle_xiv ( 2212710 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @10:25PM (#56150024)

      Talk about FWP: The discontinuation of access to educational material for vast numbers of third-world school students is announced, and the reaction is mostly some wanking around net neutrality.

      Just to explain this to people sitting in airconditioned offices sipping their third latte of the day: In large areas of the world your education, if you can get one, consists of sitting under a tree or in a dirt-floored room with, if you're lucky, a handful of worn-out books shared amongst the entire class. Wikipedia Zero was created on the initiative of people working for charities and educational initiatives to try and get a replacement for otherwise nonexistent textbooks into countries like I'm describing above. It's made a huge, massive difference in educational opportunities for children whose learning prospects would otherwise be severely limited, because they have virtually zero access to any resources.

      That's what shutting down Wikipedia Zero is going to do, not some theoretical wank about net neutrality.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        It was an initiative to expand the product range of Facebook to third world eyeballs. Wikipedia was just used to give it the illusion of being about charity for tax purposes. I am glad Wikipedia has decided to stop letting for profit corporations use them in this manner.
      • The initiative to add new providers is being ended. It doesn't sound like they're cutting the existing offerings.

        It says they offer service in 72 countries. When I rank countries, by per-capita, it's usually a marginal to excellent life in the top 50, and shitty in the other 150-ish countries.

        This program RIGHT NOW covers HALF the shitholes on earth. That's a pretty good success story, for something which is pretty difficult in countries with little infrastructure, / constant warfare.

        I think 50% coverag

      • We pour billions into these countries and we can't buy a few pallets of textbooks? Those are cheap. What's wrong with our NGOs? Too busy fucking little kids - their real goal for signing up for the job.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Isn't this a blatant violation of net neutrality?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How would this not violate various net neutrality rules? Preferential treatment to one destination over another is what we're all railing against.

  • we have partnered with 97 mobile carriers in 72 countries to provide access to Wikipedia to more than 800 million people free of mobile data charges.

    These agreements ought to be illegal, and in many countries they would be (and rightfully so).

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      The featured article mentions that both Chile and India had struck down the similar Free Basics program offered by Facebook for violating net neutrality.

    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      Why?

      The net neutrality problem is something completely different - that of Internet providers throttling traffic that they don't get extra money for (from the content provider).
      This is people "paying" Internet providers so they will not charge users any money for some sponsored content.

      The first thing fucks up the Internet - the other gives some people that wouldn't have any access the Internet at all access to some part of it.

      It's not the same thing at all.

      • To get Wikipedia on a data connection without data charges those people would have some mobile Internet device (e.g. a smartpone), and a mobile data connection, normally paid for already.

        Now SOME providers in their country offer access to one web site (i.e. Wikipedia) for free (i.e. included in their data plan). Stopping this project, or cancelling existing such contracts, does not cut off those people from Wikipedia. It will just be included in their normal data charges - just like users of the other provi

  • Wikishit (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Tsolias ( 2813011 )
    Wiki used to be about facts and nothing more. Now it's like any other forum, image board, social media website.
    There are countless times where I corrected articles, placed citations, but just because some guy with a bot could manipulate the page, reverted anything back to the previous accepted version.
    Until a couple years ago, the Linux page was about the Linux, an operating system... obviously such thing doesn't exist. In 2017 iirc, the page remained with the same almost content, removed anything related
    • Facts: Linus never named his kernel "linux kernel", the kernel's name is linux, as in Mach, NT, e.t.c., there's no such thing as Linux, a family of operating systems, because Linux refers to a kernel and is a registered trademark as "Linux".

      That's wonderful. Other facts: when people talk about Linux in general discussion they are referring to the set of operating systems based on the Linux kernel. When people look up Linux on Wikipedia, they are almost universally looking for information about those operating systems rather than the kernel.

      Encyclopaedias aren't intended to be a pedants wet dream; their purpose is to document and communicate useful information. Had you included just a single sentence clarifying the difference between the or

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        when people talk about Linux in general discussion they are referring to the set of operating systems based on the Linux kernel.

        In practice, GNU/Linux, Android/Linux, and BusyBox/Linux have very different use cases: desktops and servers, phones and tablets, and routers and other appliances. To which of these do people refer "when people talk about Linux in general discussion"?

        Had you included just a single sentence clarifying the difference between the original word "Linux" and the common usage, I doubt it would have been removed.

        Better yet, write an entire article about that difference and link to it from this sentence in lead section of "Linux". No wait: Wikipedia already does exactly that.

        • In practice, GNU/Linux, Android/Linux, and BusyBox/Linux have very different use cases: desktops and servers, phones and tablets, and routers and other appliances. To which of these do people refer "when people talk about Linux in general discussion"?

          For most people it's curiosity about the desktop OS variants; very few people think of android as being Linux, and those who know enough to be looking up info on servers and embedded devices probably aren't browsing Wikipedia for that information anyway. But there's no reason why all of those use cases couldn't be mentioned briefly, with links to more detailed articles.

          Better yet, write an entire article about that difference and link to it from this sentence in lead section of "Linux". No wait: Wikipedia already does exactly that.

          Precisely my point.

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            very few people think of android as being Linux

            Among these "very few people" are Slashdot users who pride themselves on being "technically correct, the best kind of correct," as a Futurama character put it. I've seen several comments to the effect: "If you want a small form factor Linux device for lightweight development work, buy an Android tablet and pair a keyboard."

            • Among these "very few people" are Slashdot users who pride themselves on being "technically correct, the best kind of correct," as a Futurama character put it. I've seen several comments to the effect: "If you want a small form factor Linux device for lightweight development work, buy an Android tablet and pair a keyboard."

              Of course it is Linux based, and I wouldn't argue with anyone who called it "Linux"; I said "most people" not "most Slashdot users".

              I do think that using an android tablet as a lightweight development device is a horrible idea though. Pretty much all of them use an outdated kernel, they have limited support for peripherals, and are limited in many other ways. You are far better off buying a raspberry pi or odroid type device and putting a standard Linux desktop distro on it. If you need it to be portable

    • Facts: Linus never named his kernel "linux kernel", the kernel's name is linux, as in Mach, NT, e.t.c., there's no such thing as Linux, a family of operating systems, because Linux refers to a kernel and is a registered trademark as "Linux".

      Wikipedia's policy of a neutral point of view causes editors to use the name most commonly used by third-party reliable sources and teach the controversy, as in the "GNU/Linux naming controversy" article [wikipedia.org].

      My own writing style [pineight.com] is to use "GNU/Linux" for typical desktop and server distributions to distinguish them from Android [gnu.org], BusyBox-based small distributions, and other specialized operating environments built around Linux that contain little or no code from the GNU project. I have found "GNU/Linux" or "X11/L

      • If you call a machine with a Linux kernel and GNU userspace utilities "GNU/Linux" does that mean a Windows machine with cygwin is a "GNU\Windows"? And a Mac with a bunch of GNU packages installed from home brew is running "GNU/macOS/BSD"?

        • In the deliberate lack of an official definition of "GNU/" [gnu.org], I have been defining "GNU/" as GNU Coreutils combined with two of GCC, Bash, Emacs, and shared glibc.

          If you call a machine with a Linux kernel and GNU userspace utilities "GNU/Linux" does that mean a Windows machine with cygwin is a "GNU\Windows"?

          Correct. That in fact is what "gwin" in Cygwin and "GW" in MinGW stand for. Likewise, a complete installation of DJGPP (with the compiler, Binutils, Coreutils, Make, and Bash) is GNU/MS-DOS or GNU/FreeDOS.

          And a Mac with a bunch of GNU packages installed from home brew is running "GNU/macOS/BSD"?

          Probably not, unless the user has replaced the Darwin counterpart to Coreutils with GNU Coreutils.

      • I have found "GNU/Linux" or "X11/Linux" the most succinct way to satisfy fans of Richard Stallman while ducking some Slashdot users' insinuation that a tablet running Android with a paired keyboard or a laptop running Chrome OS can adequately substitute for a laptop running Ubuntu.

        So what do you call a tablet running Android etc etc using tincore linux deploy to get an Ubuntu userland?

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          So what do you call a tablet running Android etc etc using tincore linux deploy to get an Ubuntu userland?

          GNU/Linux. The "GNURoot Debian" app is also GNU/Linux.

    • Wiki used to be about facts and nothing more.

      Wikipedia has never been about facts, that is just faulty original research promoting faulty original research.

      Wikipedia is, and always has been, about being encyclopedic .

  • by yurik ( 160101 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @08:37PM (#56149600)

    I was the principal engineer on Wikipedia Zero, and one of the top code contributors to the MediaWiki itself, first as a volunteer, and later as an employee. I think Wikipedia Zero was a great attempt at promoting open knowledge in the less developed locations. I suspect that by now it is not as critical as it once was, and it would be good for the Wikimedia foundation to focus on better allocation of funds.

    That said, I do have serious concern with how WMF does its allocation and chooses its priorities. Foundation collects over $80 million a year, and employs nearly 300 people, yet the **only** team that is directly driven by the community is a tiny 10 person Community Tech team. Community tech runs community surveys, and picks just the top 10 items to work on. Think about this - foundation that was created and prospers financially due to the community's efforts only lets 3% of its work, and even less of its funds be directly driven by that same community. Instead of allocating funds based on comunity's preferences, and in the same order, WMF has choosen the order and fund allocation according to the internal goals and inside politics. The recent priority setting efforts (which took nearly a year) may change that, but the process so far has seem to be far too complex, whereas the community tech team's voting was much more straightforward and simple to follow and participate.

    There is fundamentally only one reason WMF gets the $80 millions in donations -- content. People value Wikipedia's content, and wish to support that content as much as possible. Despite this, almost none of these money goes towards improvements in the content -- Wikipedia is still a wall of text with a few static images, just like it was in 2001. I am still hopeful that a more interactive content [wikimedia.org] would make its way to Wikipedia pages, avoiding stagnation and keeping the whole project relevant for the future.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @09:11PM (#56149748) Homepage Journal

      Wikipedia is still a wall of text with a few static images, just like it was in 2001.

      Good! Text has, by far, the highest content-to-bit ratio. It should be encouraged, and not be replaced with prolefeed.

      • Indeed, I would be wary of any move to multimedia content.

        The text content is accessible and editable and has high density, fact oriented which suites Wikipedia as a nerd's reference.

        How do you diff contributions to multi media? (OpenStreatMap has this problem.) Images also provide enough headaches over copyright as it is.

        A multimedia focused education site might be a good thing, but I do not think it is Wikipedia.

        I think some support for Open Street Map might be a good use of some of that $80 million thou

      • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

        It depends on the subject. While descriptive text almost always helps, talking about music (without actually allowing the reader to hear any) is like dancing about architecture.

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          It depends on the subject. While descriptive text almost always helps, talking about music (without actually allowing the reader to hear any) is like dancing about architecture.

          Explanatory text without the music would be immensely more useful than the music without explanatory text.

          And as a lifelong hobby musician and composer, I find text far more useful. I can recreate the music from text, but a recording doesn't tell much of the story. Who wrote it, when, for whom - what preceded it, what followed it, was it rearranged for the recording that's presented?

          Descriptive text also teaches people a bit about music, if they are interested, much like a food recipe teach people about f

          • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

            Talking about music is great for those people who already understand the subject. You can of course convey the subjective reactions people have had to the music, such as the riots after the debut of The Rite of Spring, but can text alone convey why it caused this reaction? If you already know the piece, then maybe you don't need snippets of the music. But if you've never heard it before, and you're not a musician, words alone aren't going to get you there.

    • Yeah, as it turns out, one of the primary motivations for working at a non-profit is to divert as much money as possible to phoney baloney jobs for your cronies (harrumph harrumph) while dragging out the project as long as possible.

      That being said, I think Wikipedia as text and pictures is great. Your link has a lot of mistaken assumptions: "Reading information is not as fun as interacting with it." Where the hell is it written that Wikipedia's job is to be fun? "Learning from Wikipedia should be as add

    • > Just like it was in 2001. I am still hopeful that a more interactive content

      And that formula has been working, and Wikipedia constantly growing, since 2001. Be VERY careful about changing what works so well.

      Have a look at the world's most popular web page - the Google home page. See all the animated gifs, the dynamic content with sliders and dials for the the user to.play with? Nope. Just a logo, a text field, and a button. Just like 2001.

      Contrast this with the sites that WERE super popular in 200

      • by zabbey ( 985424 )
        And yet some of the most popular sites today are littered animated gifs. Reddit and facebook are full of them
  • by fred6666 ( 4718031 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @10:01PM (#56149952)

    Did Wikipedia pay mobile network carriers to offer Wikipedia Zero for free? Or did just they wrote letters to them asking them to offer Wikipedia Zero for free?

The world is coming to an end--save your buffers!

Working...