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Fundings for Wikipedia

Source:Blog de Carlos Martínez
Author:Carlos Martinez
Date:09/11-2009

In 1985, Richard Stallman developed jointly with other partners the "GNU Manifesto" 1 which set out the principles for a new way of producing software based on the "spirit of cooperation that prevailed in the early days of the community of computer users . That same year he created the Free Software Foundation (Free Software Foundation, FSF) that would be responsible for ensuring that the GNU software to remain free for all users could "run, copy, modify and distribute. The GNU project received a significant boost when the Finn Linus Torvads computer donated the source code of Linux, an operating system completely free. In any case, no generalization of the Internet would not have been possible that today there are thousands of open source programs that are developed by a community of users anywhere in the world. The undoubted success of GNU / Linux led to this partnership model is reproduced in other areas. The age of digitalization has enabled much of our culture can be stored in binary code and, consequently, generate and distribute over the Internet.

The foundation FSF created the GPL software to protect against possible appropriation by deprivation of those, so that anyone can use the source code of a free program provided that you add or modify code is also free. Copyleft is now used not only in computing but his philosophy also permeates other movements like the Free Knowledge Free Society, the Free Art License, License GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons2. The latter, in its different forms, has been the most widely used in publishing books for free distribution online. In any case, paradoxically, all these licenses exploit the harsh and strict rules governing intellectual property by international treaties and domestic laws to shield free works against misappropriation deprivation of knowledge that is so important in this phase of the capitalist world economy. Even in one of his last articles, the thinker Andrew Gorz understood this phenomenon, announced that "the exit of capital had already begun" 3.

In parallel, a young broker named Jimmy Wales 4, follower objetivismo5, which considers the philosophical current liberal capitalism as the best of the different economic models, he founded a porn site called Bomis.com. Taking advantage of the relative successes and together with some of its employees, who would stay Nupedia6 based on the same servers that the Web Bomis.com. Nupedia was an online encyclopedia whose entries were written by expert authors and recorded subsequently licensed as free content, but not a wiki, that is not publicly editable. The original intent was that Jimmy Wales' renowned academic volunteer content for free. Because of these characteristics, the free failed and just had articles, so that in 2001 the same team began to develop Wikipedia as a side project that took a lot more acceptance and rapid rise of entries.

Wikipedia's success required increased investment in servers and more bandwidth on your Internet connection. Jimmy Wales proposed that all pages of Wikipedia to have the publicity of your pornographic Bomis.com portal. This claim was first split in the Wikipedia project and a group of collaborators from the Wikipedia in Spain decided to start a separate project, born in this way, the Free Encyclopedia in Spanish Universal 7. Wales considering the uproar raised, decided that Wikipedia's independence from the Company that operated Bomis.com and created a foundation that would ensure the financing of the library, consisting basically of server spending, salaries of administrative and leadership of the foundation.

Wikipedia was greeted with joy by the Internet community, until then the libraries were the great classical works printed (Espasa, British) who have serious problems in its price and difficulty of updating content. The monopoly of digital encyclopedias was boasted (as in almost everything related to the computer) by the multinational corporation through its Microsoft Encarta product sold on cd-rom.

Encarta's dominant position was not only frowned upon by the users to whom the information they provide is free it seemed biased, inadequate and / or conservative, but also for his nearest rival: the multinational Google. Following the popularity of Wikipedia and the increase of its content, Google, intentionally or not (the code of their algorithm is secret), he always among the first results of a search the Wikipedia entries. This, in turn, pushed further into the success to the free encyclopedia.

In these early years of development of Wikipedia, the free was truly ill-treated by traditional media and conservatives. Two columnists in the ultra-conservative publication "Digital Freedom" written in 2005 against the free, one of them called stupid many of his colaboradores8 (LibertadDigital.es 25/09/2007) and another labeled them judeófoba9 (LD 16/12/2005 ). In just over three years this suspicion became enthusiastic and in a June 2008 article from the same journal stated that "A far-left website tries to sabotage and discredit Wikipedia 10. And in January this year, former and current member of the ultraconservative Grapo Pio Moa, after writing a laudatory of Israel, requesting donations for Wikipedia11 (LD 1-01-2009). What has happened in recent years in Wikipedia to which this shift in conservative opinion?

Financing Wikipedia

Discounted advertising in the pages of Wikipedia, the foundation created by Jimy Wales launched a campaign to get donations that allowed for the killing by the web12. The truth is that small, anonymous donations have covered more than a third of the budget of the foundation. In its last full financial report available on the net, for the fiscal year 2007-2008, the Wikimedia Foundation recognizes an expenditure of three million and a half dolares13. For the same year the Foundation admits an income of seven million dollars, representing a surplus of no less than four million dollars. The unstoppable rise of the income of the Foundation (almost one million euros more per fiscal year) is hardly justifiable. First, being the work they do volunteer Wikipedians, the bulk of expenditure should be directed to the maintenance of servers and Internet connection. The truth is that although the servers have been extended and connections every year is not justified the increased cost of this in such magnitude as also the price of these services and hardware has been declining steadily over the past decade.

He has also criticized the use that has made its founder, Jimmy Wales, of all this capital. For example, the complaint made by Danny Wool, who until 2007 worked at the Wikimedia Foundation. Wool published a paper in Wales stating that the organization billed the cost of extravagant items like a visit to the masseur in Moscow, a meal for $ 1,300 in Florida and exclusive wine bottles, which led him into debt to the organization by 30,000 dólares 14.

The dramatic increase in income has been made possible by major donors covering nearly 40% of the budget today. The Foundation, in keeping with its policy of "transparency" in its web15 explains that "it is normal that organizations have reserve or contingency funds. Reserve funds are critical to preparing the organization in case of unexpected expenses, emergencies and / or revenue shortfalls. Also explain the importance of major donors in the current funding of Wikipedia: "The success of our campaign donations to the community has meant that the operation of the Wikimedia Foundation is now covered. That means we are now able to focus on the development of grant proposals for specific projects instead of requiring that foundations fund our general operations. This is good for the Wikimedia Foundation, because it means you will be able to implement projects that will help us accelerate progress towards meeting the overall mission - for example, the Initiative usability of Wikipedia, for which we received 890,000 Stanton Foundation dollars. "

Major donors of Wikipedia

As we have seen, Wikipedia is maintained largely by large donors. They are all Anglo-Saxon companies or foundations, the latter linked to shareholders and executives of large U.S. corporations (General Motors, CBS ...) and which therefore still promoting charities, can not fail to be influenced by their worldview and interest in maintaining the system so little capital that has given good results. For example, the latest annual Wikimania conference, held this August 2009 in Buenos Aires on the website they advertise evento16 who have hosted this meeting in addition to the city government hosted the event, Terra, Telefonica and other companies technology to which they naturally favors the spread of Internet use, is supported by two foundations: the Richard Lounsbery Foundation and The Open Society Institute.

The first Foundation Richard Lounsbery is also a U.S. foundation to promote "science and technology," also sponsors other activities such as the conference held in February 2008 under the title "The reintegration of France into NATO. A new vision of Sarkozy's presidency: 17. In his cadre has two former U.S. ambassadors to NATO: President of the David M. Abshire, R. Nicholas Burns, who also was U.S. ambassador Grecia18. In addition to supporting the Wikimania, the foundation "Richard Lounsbery" has contributed several times to maintain Wikipedia19.

Another co-sponsor of "Wikimania," and a major donor to the Wikimedia Foundation is "The Open Society Institute" 20, a foundation based in New York, founded in 1993 by billionaire George Soros, famous for accumulating his fortune through investments speculative. The main objective of this foundation has been supporting the "velvet revolutions" in Eastern Europe.

Other major holders include Wikipedia21 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934 by Alfred P. Sloan, who then was chairman and CEO of General Motors. The foundation also supports projects of the U.S. State Department bioterrorismo22 for prevention. The other two major foundations are "Stanton Foundation (created in honor of former CBS president Frank Stanton) and" Arcadia ", both with programs that demonstrate a special sensitivity to the cause judía23. At the donor level appears below the search Bing, owned by the multinational Microsoft, a former competitor of the free who has abandoned his own project (Encarta) and has yielded to the model of Wikipedia.

One might think that the ideology of donors does not influence the editorial line of the free, but it is highly unlikely and we do not coincidental that the Wikipedia today on hot topics such as genocide or the Palestinian coup in Honduras 24 , clearly has a conservative editorial line in any way disapproved of his major donors. But the organizational evolution of the Wikipedia could learn the lesson of how a free software project is taken over by the neocons.

Some samples of what Wikipedia says

The vast majority of Wikipedia articles are not discussed. The worst and least neutral Wikipedia articles in Spanish are referred to the Zionist movement and, recently, to the revolutionary processes in Latin America.

The performance of librarians seem coordinated by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which organizes volunteers openly campaigns worldwide to improve the image of Israel on the Internet 25. To see how biased it is information about Palestine just go to the Wikipedia entry dedicated to Rachel Corrie, American activist who was killed while trying to prevent a Palestinian home demolished by the Israeli army, in fact so stated in the the encyclopedia entry inglés26, however, if we consult the page in Spanish presented their killing as a justified killing and peaceful resistance as an act of complicity with terrorism "was a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who traveled as Palestinian activist to the Gaza Strip during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. He died while trying to arrest a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) operating in Rafah, during a protest against the destruction of Palestinian homes by the IDF in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army said the incident would have occurred while the IDF conducted a military operation involving the removal of shrubs in Rafah, near the border between Israel and Egypt, for explosives and destroy tunnels used by Palestinian terrorists to smuggle illegal from arms from Egypt into Gaza. According to some sources, Corrie was interfering a military operation to demolish an empty house used to hide one of the tunnels used by terrorists. "27 It is not an error, the article has been discussed ad nauseam and librarians have imposed the final text.

Examples like the previous populate Wikipedia, bias which was aggravated by the inclusion by the three librarians in the list of spammers to Website Rebelión.org because of its information policy on Palestine. The list, which aims to prevent links from Wikipedia to websites "punished" for abusing the Wikipedia links to them, was used to block a rebellion under the guise of being "unreliable source" arbitrary and baseless argument that has been altered recently by another equally false: "Replacement of original references' 28. It so happens that Rebelion.org is the only media to be linked banned from Wikipedia.

How to organize a library is "free"

Wikipedia began as a free encyclopedia, which anyone can create and edit articles. However, there are elections for users with certain privileges (librarians, bureaucrats, checkuser and supervisor) can delete, block or restore pages and even expel summarily other users.

Anyone can become a user and then librarian of Wikipedia. "Only" it takes three requirements: possess a sophisticated understanding of the issues to be collaboration, have plenty of free time and have Internet access. The latter may seem a truism but it is not, only 3% of the population of Latin America has broadband access to the network. According to the Observatory for the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean (Osilac) of ECLAC, Internet access in homes of the richest segment of the population is over 30 times the access of the poorest segment. The average computer access in households in urban areas is nine times higher than access to computers in the homes of rurales29 areas. Furthermore, it is clear that the social sector that has more free time is the richest.

Therefore, being an active wikipedian, especially in Latin America, means, generally, a person who is among the segment of the population belonging to the upper classes. In the case of Wikipedia in Castilian the result is that it is controlled mainly by a group of students and professors and among them stands the influence of a group of Wikipedians Argentine Jewish.

It is true that there are choices that would enable the Wikipedia editorial change, but the reality is that the "librarians" and "bureaucrats" who monopolize the project have not hesitated to expel no arguments or false arguments to those who have shared their criterio30. Thus, there is no possibility of change in the Wikipedia since they outlawed dissent and evil can be unruly users that can stand for election to a librarian.

The expulsion for no apparent reason librarians and users and was denounced by the publication "The Register" who discovered a hidden mailing list by which a small group of managers made decisions about the contents outside the community, agreeing to the expulsion of the hindering their planes31 users.

The increased internal repression in Wikipedia is in addition to projects to limit freedom of publication in the library. Thus the inclusion in English of a new post about living people will not be published until an authorized revision of the text editor and approval. Before the German Wikipedians have already been the first to impose prior review earlier this year. They are about 7,500 librarians who have the ability to decide whether to publish the contributions of usuario32. At the end of this process will be similar to Wikipedia Nupedia, the initial project of Jimmy Wales on the experts claimed that free supply him with a free text free distribution.

Neutrality

The approach of Wikipedia is formally uncontested, calling for neutrality, to reflect on their entries different points of view and that the conflict resolved in a democratic community. But this theoretical neutrality is affected by several factors: the motivations of the patrons of the foundation, by foundations and companies with their donations support the project and, finally, by the ideology of those who wield power over the entries and users from Wikipedia. In the end, the free encyclopedia call is simply a reflection of society as it evolves, it is embodied in the Internet the same conflicts in the real world, the same power relationships and the same winners. As it could not be otherwise, here you pay the charge, and the soldiers are recruited from the population most in training and technology access have and enjoy more free time, ie the wealthy class.

The conclusion is that the more progressive sectors can not abandon these places hoping to change the relations of production, but we should not be naive to think that projects that were born free sites like Wikipedia is bound to serve as speaker to alternative ideologies, because in reality, fertile ground for social change are few and even the Internet is the panacea some imagine.

Notes

1 http://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.es.html

2 http://creativecommons.org/

3 El Viejo Topo, number 258-259, July 2009

4 http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Wales

5 http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objetivismo_ (Ayn_Rand)

6 http://web.archive.org/web/ * / www.nupedia.com / main.shtml

7 http://enciclopedia.us.es/index.php/Wikipedia #La_Wikipedia_y_la_Enciclopedia_Libre

8 http://www.libertaddigital.com/opinion/daniel-rodriguez-herrera/aventuras-en-wikipedia-28617/

9 http://www.libertaddigital.com/opinion/antonio-jose-chinchetru/manipulacion-en-wikipedia-28722/

10 http://www.libertaddigital.com/internet/una-web-de-extrema-izquierda-intenta-sabotear-y-desacreditar-wikipedia-1276333192/

11 http://blogs.libertaddigital.com/presente-y-pasado/por-que-interesa-israel-4255/4.html

12 http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate/Now/es

13 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/foundation/2/2a/WMF_20072008_Annual_report.pdf

14 http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/357588/0/jimmy/wales/wikipedia/ and http://www.noticiasdot.com/wp2/2008/03/14/las-cuentas-nada-claras-de-la-wikipedia/

15 http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Financial_reports/July_2008_to_December_2008_Mid-Year_FAQ

16 http://wikimania2009.wikimedia.org/wiki/Portal

17 http://www.iris-france.org/docs/pdf/up_docs_bdd/20090304-142224.pdf

18 http://rlounsbery.org/officers_board/default.htm

19 http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Translation_requests/WQ/2/Es:

20 See http://www.soros.org/

21 http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate/Benefactors/es

22 www.interpol.int/Public/ICPO/FactSheets/PST02ES.pdf

23 http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/focus/antisemitism/voices/transcript/?content=20080508 and http://www.arcadiafund.org.uk/content/grantMain.asp?aID=16&tID=0&sID=4

24 http://carlosmartinez.info/content/view/49/1/

25 http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=79080

26 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Corrie

27 http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Corrie

28 http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist

29 http://www.elespectador.com/articulo142135-america-latina-busca-de-conexion

30 http://es.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Especial:Registro/block&page=Usuario:Orahan

31 http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/317000/0/wikipedia/funcionamiento/secreto/

32 http://www.publico.es/ciencias/246257/wikipedia/limita/libertad/edicion