stefan m. seydel aka @sms2sms | what u could learn from wikipedia/wikipedia (not the real one. the other one @NZZ ;-)

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Reason for this entry:

The NZZ asked me in March 2020 if I want­ed to do a text on the 20th anniver­sary of Wikipedia. I deliv­ered two texts. One on Wikipedia and a sec­ond on Wiki­da­ta. The first text was pub­lished in April 2020. The sec­ond text was not accept­ed. For the cur­rent occa­sion I have both texts trans­lat­ed into Eng­lish by #chatGPT4. I will not make any changes to them. The orig­i­nal texts are linked below.

#ChatGPT4: Natür­lich, ich kann den Text für Sie ins Englis­che über­set­zen. Hier ist die Über­set­zung:


#CoronaVirus Provokes the “Thick-Skinned”

The full chaos has esca­lat­ed: Num­bers, facts, images are still rac­ing through the live tick­er. Fear has turned into pan­ic. Reac­tion into over­re­ac­tion. Who offers calm, sober, fac­tu­al knowl­edge in times like these? Sci­ence? The Fed­er­al Coun­cil? Qual­i­ty press? Vol­un­teers on Wikipedia.

Ste­fan M. Sey­del/sms ;-)

Wikipedia has exist­ed for almost two decades. For a decade now, the Ger­man-lan­guage Wikipedia com­mu­ni­ty has been mired in seem­ing­ly insol­u­ble con­flicts: The num­ber of con­trib­u­tors is steadi­ly decreas­ing, the rel­e­vance cri­te­ria for entries is dom­i­nat­ed by a mer­i­toc­ra­cy, the fun of edit­ing is pul­ver­ized. And yet the results are impres­sive.

In the first decade, it was said, “Where every­one can take notes, there can be no qual­i­ty.” In the sec­ond decade, the spar­rows whis­tle it from the rooftops: “Against fake news, a look at the dis­cus­sion page and the ver­sion his­to­ry in the cor­re­spond­ing entry on Wikipedia helps.” — If it’s so sim­ple, why has­n’t it long since become com­mon knowl­edge?

“The sur­vival of the pachy­derm in times of sen­si­tiv­i­ty.” (Ernst Peter Fis­ch­er)

Under­stand­ing Wikipedia is quite sim­ple. But it requires an under­stand­ing of how sci­ence works: Sci­ence cre­ates knowl­edge by mak­ing the implic­it explic­it and relent­less­ly expos­ing it to crit­i­cism. And this — and noth­ing less — is exact­ly what the free soft­ware “Medi­awi­ki” of the spon­sor­ing orga­ni­za­tion “Wiki­me­dia-Foun­da­tion” makes pos­si­ble.

Even the small­est entry — every edit — is logged in Wikipedia down to the hun­dredth of a sec­ond. The gen­e­sis of the text is ide­al­ly trans­par­ent and ful­ly trace­able. In the ver­sion his­to­ry, a graph­ic bar shows what is entered and what is delet­ed: The scan­dal­ized “edit wars” thus become imme­di­ate­ly vis­i­ble. And because all ver­sions of a text state can be com­pared, the dis­pute illu­mi­nates the argu­ment.

Grant­ed: Wikipedia can­not be con­sumed like an ency­clo­pe­dia in the form of a book. But those who put in the effort get a lot of insight, whether it’s about Don­ald Trump, the found­ing of the state, or the coro­na virus.

Just like the pos­si­bil­i­ty of anony­mous pub­lish­ing by means of let­ter­press print­ing, Wikipedia also rad­i­cal­ly focus­es on the elab­o­ra­tion of argu­ments: Who enters some­thing is not of inter­est at first. But whether and how a state­ment is sub­stan­ti­at­ed and made ver­i­fi­able, whether the idea entered con­tributes to the cre­ation of mul­ti-per­spec­tiv­i­ty, whether it suc­ceeds in crit­i­ciz­ing cen­tral aspects of an argu­ment — ver­i­fy­ing or fal­si­fy­ing — that is what inter­ests. Rad­i­cal. Exclu­sive­ly.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the real-life, Ger­man-lan­guage Wikipedia looks dif­fer­ent today. In com­bi­na­tion with more than 300 lan­guage ver­sions and a rapid­ly grow­ing Wiki­da­ta, the research envi­ron­ment is nev­er­the­less some­thing of the best that is freely acces­si­ble on the Inter­net these days.

So if a knowl­edge-cre­at­ing envi­ron­ment is so robust, why isn’t Wikipedia pro­tect­ed as aggres­sive­ly as the uni­ver­si­ty? Why has­n’t the pub­lic ser­vice tak­en Wikipedia under its wing long ago?

  • Why should pol­i­tics admit that there are also quite dif­fer­ent ideas on how “the con­sen­sus to dis­agree” (Mani Mat­ter) could be worked out?
  • Why should sci­ence admit that the pro­duc­tion of knowl­edge, also out­side the uni­ver­si­ty, is pos­si­ble?
  • Why should econ­o­my admit that quite excel­lent prod­ucts, quite with­out mon­ey, can be pro­duced?
  • Why should mass media admit that robust, rel­e­vant, infor­ma­tive infor­ma­tion is acces­si­ble entire­ly with­out their medi­at­ing activ­i­ty?
  • Why should the arts admit that more sur­pris­ing, provoca­tive, and fas­ci­nat­ing crit­i­cism is car­ried into dis­course on the Inter­net?
  • Why should edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions at all lev­els admit that learn­ing and teach­ing is pos­si­ble beyond year class­es?

Against this back­ground, Ste­fan Haupt’s Zwingli film offers itself as a metaphor. It depicts how “new media” — at that time the pos­si­bil­i­ty of anony­mous pub­lish­ing by means of let­ter­press — under­mine the legit­i­ma­cy of the “pachy­derms” and make pos­si­ble a long-await­ed, next answer to “The Social Ques­tion:

Zwingli squats on his char­i­ot in the very first scene, gawk­ing at his new medi­um. Zwingli was sup­plied with the lat­est writ­ings from near and far by “limp­ing Andreas” (Castel­berg­er) in Hot­tin­gen. This new, dif­fer­ent, next knowl­edge flood­ed the city. Unlike Luther in Ger­many, Zurich worked in col­lab­o­ra­tive writ­ing sys­tems. That is why we speak of the Zurich Bible to this day: in such work­ing envi­ron­ments, there are no longer authors, and there is no longer any ques­tion of estab­lish­ing author­ship.

What was estab­lished 500 years ago applies to Wikipedia today: The qual­i­ty of an entry in Wikipedia declines if too few or too many col­lab­o­rate. If, how­ev­er, it suc­ceeds that the most diverse per­spec­tives are entered, that the “com­mu­ni­ty care” of the admin­is­tra­tors is focused on main­tain­ing the joy of edit­ing, then entries become pru­dent start­ing points for fur­ther research.

How exis­ten­tial an “infor­ma­tion­al com­mons” is can be read in the cur­rent esca­la­tion around Coro­na Virus: Marc Walder, CEO of Ringi­er, rebukes the NZZ via Twit­ter and calls a refused equal­iza­tion of all mass lead­ing media in Switzer­land “unsol­i­dar­ic”. ZDF deletes a con­tri­bu­tion with phar­ma crit­ic Wolf­gang Wodarg. Sun­dar Pichai, CEO of Google, announces that there will be no coop­er­a­tion with igno­ra­mus­es and deniers of sci­en­tif­ic knowl­edge. We do not even want to imag­ine their pos­si­bil­i­ties to hide unpop­u­lar infor­ma­tion.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Sei_mutigEgal, how bad or even wrong a piece of infor­ma­tion on Wikipedia is: The dis­pute about the ori­gin of the cur­rent entry has an enlight­en­ing effect. The dis­cus­sion page and the ver­sion his­to­ry tell — includ­ing graph­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion — about the “edit­war”. Dele­tion with­in Wikipedia is hard­ly pos­si­ble, has to be jus­ti­fied and dis­cussed, and leaves link­able traces. It can be edit­ed, archived, struc­tured, emp­tied, blocked or hid­den. That all this is “eso­teric knowl­edge of insid­ers” may con­tain a grain of truth: It is strange, how­ev­er, why this eas­i­ly learn­able “secret knowl­edge” has not long been part of the “com­pul­so­ry lit­er­a­ture” in schools, uni­ver­si­ties or edu­ca­tion­al tele­vi­sion. It can­not be due to miss­ing expla­na­tion pages with­in Wikipedia. The input of WP:MUT in the search field at Wikipedia, helps.


Even before it was known what Wikipedia was, a dis­pute with Jim­my Wales in 2002 clear­ly answered what Wikipedia is not: “paper”. There is no space lim­i­ta­tion at all. It is very easy to edit. There is no edi­to­r­i­al dead­line. And on and on it goes.

What “Jim­bo” — as the com­mu­ni­ty more or less ten­der­ly calls the founder of Wikipedia — has nev­er under­stood in all these years is that it is pre­cise­ly the prin­ci­ple of “Any­one can edit” that guar­an­tees suc­cess. One after the oth­er, he tried to prove that main authors, experts and spe­cial­ists were need­ed. But the only suc­cess­ful Wikimedia.org projects are those that have been kept rad­i­cal­ly open.

Open is the new safe

And then it sud­den­ly strikes us that open, inclu­sive, dis­sent-favor­ing, col­lab­o­ra­tive writ­ing sys­tems have long since become the sup­port­ing net­works of our soci­eties:

Peo­ple have been work­ing on the idea of a blockchain since 1991. Since 1992 on the open oper­at­ing sys­tem Lin­ux, with­out which hard­ly any com­put­er is kept in the net­work today. In 2001, not only Wikipedia appeared out of nowhere, but also an entire legal sys­tem that under­stands copy­right as “the right to copy”: the Cre­ative Com­mons. Many pro­gram­ming lan­guages have been cre­at­ed this way. For exam­ple, Pyton. Con­tent man­age­ment sys­tems like Word­Press. Khan Acad­e­my shows how tra­di­tion­al knowl­edge can be taught to chil­dren in a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent way. Once under­stood what to look for, the enu­mer­a­tion hard­ly finds an end.

In just three decades, the World Wide Web has fos­tered a glob­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion cul­ture that peo­ple seem to intu­itive­ly under­stand. Chil­dren who were born with their thumbs on their smart­phones are exchang­ing ideas. Show each oth­er on Tik­Tok how seem­ing­ly com­pli­cat­ed things can be made sim­ple. They dis­trib­ute their ideas more effort­less­ly than pam­phlets did in the time of Zwingli: If some­thing works, it is adopt­ed. In no time at all. Glob­al­ly, region­al­ly, local­ly, indi­vid­u­al­ly.

While the Boomer gen­er­a­tion described a nec­es­sary par­a­digm shift, in the cur­rent Coro­na cri­sis it is now actu­al­ly notice­able that the eco­log­i­cal chal­lenge, the eco­nom­ic chal­lenge, the com­mu­nica­tive chal­lenge pre­cise­ly can­not be mean­ing­ful­ly dealt with using the action pat­terns of the “pachy­derms”. Pol­i­tics, sci­ence, econ­o­my, mass media, art, edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions are eas­i­ly rec­og­niz­able in the Zwingli film in the role of the Bish­op of Con­stance.

But this must be cred­it­ed to the prag­mat­ic forces around Zwingli and Bullinger: They first drowned out the rad­i­cal forces as they achieved their Ref­or­ma­tion goals: The priests want­ed to estab­lish fam­i­lies. The guilds did not want to have their busi­ness activ­i­ties deter­mined from the pul­pit. And the city of Zurich could final­ly become an inde­pen­dent admin­is­tra­tion.

If Wikipedia is cel­e­brat­ing “the mar­riage of tra­di­tion­al knowl­edge with the elec­tron­ic machine” (Umber­to Eco), it would be a good moment to take anoth­er fresh look at this glob­al cul­ture of dis­course and not let the result­ing infor­ma­tion­al com­mons dis­in­te­grate. In par­tic­u­lar, because since 2012 Wiki­da­ta has been real­iz­ing the com­mu­nica­tive inclu­sion of those who have long been com­mu­ni­cat­ing with us: The machines. But that would be a next top­ic.

Ste­fan M. Sey­del is an entre­pre­neur, social work­er and artist. As a blog­ger, he has been using the abbre­vi­a­tion sms for decades, as well as the abbre­vi­a­tion sms2sms on social media and in Wikipedia.


Open is the new safe — #TheGreatReset

What if … — just for play! — What if Wikipedia and Wiki­da­ta were adopt­ed as the two most low-thresh­old and prac­ti­cal­ly rel­e­vant col­lab­o­ra­tive writ­ing process­es in human his­to­ry? Would it be pos­si­ble to learn from them how world soci­ety seeks to com­mu­ni­cate? Would this obser­va­tion be able to describe the require­ments of a pub­lic ser­vice at the height of the times? Could the dis­tinc­tion between “Open” and “Free” defend­ed there even be a sign­post to the “great fil­ter” that must be over­come in order to real­ize #The­GreatRe­set @wef? — An attempt.

Ste­fan M. Sey­del/sms ;-)

It is very easy to under­stand how it could hap­pen that Wikipedia has been used for twen­ty years by most peo­ple with inter­net access around the globe, but rarely described appre­cia­tive­ly, curi­ous­ly, offen­sive­ly in the con­tent of social inno­va­tion: “Wikipedia pro­vokes the pachy­derms.” (NZZ, April 18, 2020, page 7) Why, on the oth­er hand, Wiki­da­ta may not be com­mu­ni­cat­ed, that must have oth­er rea­sons, is most aston­ish­ing and urgent­ly in need of expla­na­tion:

Wiki­da­ta does not pro­voke pol­i­tics, sci­ence, econ­o­my, mass media, arts, edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tion in any way. Wiki­da­ta ignores pachy­derms. If data is the new oil, Wiki­da­ta is an uncon­cerned­ly bub­bling source on an open­ly acces­si­ble, entire­ly free com­mons.

Who is afraid of green­field projects?

Wiki­da­ta is a clas­sic project on a green­field site: Free of any social restric­tions, peo­ple tin­ker and build, try out and improve. The most com­mit­ted forces, who start­ed what became a woe!woe!woe! for oth­ers, described the basic idea back in 2001. They tried to launch a pow­er­ful move­ment with the best peo­ple, suc­cess­ful net­works, attrac­tive meet­ings and among many great names: Seman­tic Web, Web 3.0, Giant Glob­al Graph, Web of Data, Linked Open Data … None of it suc­ceed­ed. That changed on Octo­ber 29, 2012, when the idea was imple­ment­ed in the Wiki­me­dia Foundation’s Medi­awi­ki soft­ware envi­ron­ment. The sup­port­ing orga­ni­za­tion is com­mit­ted to “free knowl­edge” and “free con­tent”. Its best-known project is called Wikipedia.

The con­struc­tion of the glob­al ency­clo­pe­dia of the knowl­edge hand­ed down by peo­ple, had a sim­i­lar odyssey behind it until the break­through was achieved on Jan­u­ary 15, 2001. With the change from an “open” to a “free” work­ing envi­ron­ment, wind has fall­en into the sails. That’s what the work­ing the­sis here wants to sug­gest: The two lit­tle words “Open” and “Free” make the dif­fer­ence, which make the prac­ti­cal dif­fer­ence.

But first, the ques­tion of what the dif­fer­ence is between Wikipedia and Wiki­da­ta. Spoil­er: “Wiki­da­ta is Wikipedia for machines.”

The work­flow of cre­at­ing knowl­edge as estab­lished in clas­si­cal sci­ence applies equal­ly to Wikipedia and Wiki­da­ta: The implic­it is made explic­it and open­ly acces­si­ble to rad­i­cal crit­i­cism. Who­ev­er makes a state­ment is oblig­ed to seek crit­i­cism and to inte­grate it. For crit­i­cism itself there is no input form and no stan­dards of decen­cy. Sci­ence is the best way in our form of cul­ture so far to deal with the cor­ro­sive cir­cum­stance that all human knowl­edge is col­ored, selec­tive, per­spec­ti­val knowl­edge. That’s why infor­ma­tion­al qual­i­ty is mea­sured by how com­pre­hen­sive­ly dis­sent­ing cues are includ­ed.

The provo­ca­tion now lies in the fact that a com­put­er-medi­at­ed reading/writing process not only pul­ver­izes the lim­i­ta­tions of the aca­d­e­m­ic work­flow through pub­li­ca­tion on paper and the asso­ci­at­ed expense of dis­tri­b­u­tion to obtain cri­tique, or the stor­age of ver­sion his­to­ries of ideas in the uni­ver­si­ty library with a click, but flaunts oth­er most fas­ci­nat­ing “good­ies”:

  • There is unlim­it­ed space for the most diverse to unfold.
  • The rad­i­cal trace­abil­i­ty and trans­paren­cy of the gen­e­sis of the text is ide­al­ly offered in all its ver­sions to the hun­dredth of a sec­ond.
  • In Wiki­da­ta, the uncon­di­tion­al “Any­one Can Edit” of Wikipedia extends to machines, and:
  • When a record under­goes an update, it can be brought to dis­play in real time with­in Wiki­da­ta.

This has enor­mous advan­tages for the cre­ation of knowl­edge of humans and changes most pow­er­ful­ly the entire social life in all direc­tions.

Naive, who does not imme­di­ate­ly have a thou­sand ideas for the most dra­mat­ic prob­lems and chal­lenges. Naive, too, who pre­tends that the fas­ci­na­tion of Wiki­da­ta just has to be hushed up long enough to erad­i­cate the basic idea.

Caught in this dilem­ma, the offi­cial hash­tag of @wef 2021 is refresh­ing: #The­GreatRe­set. As always, @elonmusk bold­ly tweets one more on top: “We must pass The Great Fil­ter.” It is not answered in what these high-fly­ers and sub­ver­sive bot­tom-feed­ers rec­og­nize the great fil­ter, which must be over­come in order to tack­le a new start, a next ref­or­ma­tion, the sup­pos­ed­ly nec­es­sary green­field project.

On August 27, 2018, Ste­fan Lan­ge­nauer, head of the Sta­tis­ti­cal Office of the Can­ton of Zurich, in his wel­come to the nation­al annu­al meet­ing of his dis­ci­pline #SST18, wish­es that after 150 years of gov­ern­ment sta­tis­tics, con­trol over data would be relin­quished.

What might have caused some of his accu­rate col­leagues to gasp and shake their heads in dis­be­lief is, of course, mere­ly a real­is­tic com­pre­hen­sion of what can be pho­tographed: Data sov­er­eign­ty has long since passed to what is dis­parag­ing­ly and admir­ing­ly called #GAFAM in equal mea­sure: Google, Ama­zon, Face­book, Apple, Microsoft. In a tweet dur­ing the writ­ing process for this text, @LangenauerStefn spec­i­fies what he meant to express two years ago: “…lose con­trol of “our” data so that third par­ties can dri­ve dis­course based on the data.” — Per­suad­ed:

“On to the con­tro­ver­sy”

When the state col­lects, gath­ers, ana­lyzes and pub­lish­es processed data, this has always had the goal of serv­ing fact-based, crit­i­cism-favor­ing dis­cours­es in offices, par­lia­ments and cit­i­zens. But because we have just come out of the cel­e­bra­tions of 500 years of Ref­or­ma­tion and because we are threat­ened from “Auf und Davos” via Twit­ter and Youtube or — depend­ing on the denom­i­na­tion — promised that #The­GreatRe­set is at work, this state-coer­cive­ly financed, extend­ed pro­duc­tion of facts first becomes rec­og­niz­able as a pred­i­cate of the cur­rent cul­tur­al form: facts instead of fast­ing. (Like this?)

Because the idea of how peo­ple take for True is part of social agree­ment and under­stand­ing, it is worth look­ing at what the most cur­rent sys­tem the­o­ries have for­mu­lat­ed as the next propo­si­tion and which has long since become dom­i­nant. Sci­ence, by the way, was also devel­oped, taught and lived in monas­tic schools. Exact­ly the same the sys­tem the­o­ry in the uni­ver­si­ty. What do the sys­tem the­o­ries say:

A sys­tem has three ele­ments: It must be able to dis­tin­guish an inside from an out­side. It must sec­ond­ly have ener­gy and third­ly com­mu­ni­ca­tion, which guar­an­tee repro­duc­tion and recur­sion. All three ele­ments can shift. If one of the ele­ments shifts, every­thing shifts. Every­thing is quite a lot. The ear­ly adopters called it par­a­digm shift. #The­GreatRe­set sounds cool­er, though.

If the shift in the “human” sys­tem bound­ary is left out of the equa­tion — although we’ve long since grown accus­tomed to arti­fi­cial hip joints and it’s not a mat­ter of time before motors and com­put­ers become sim­i­lar­ly irri­ta­tion-free — pro­duc­tive nar­ra­tives have tak­en root in the realm of ener­gy and com­mu­ni­ca­tion:

Along the “Four Indus­tri­al Rev­o­lu­tions,” the sci­ence-dri­ven field of ener­gy can be shown: The suc­ces­sive phas­es of mech­a­niza­tion, motor­iza­tion, automa­tion, dig­i­tal­iza­tion implic­it­ly the­ma­tize the changes in the field of ener­gy use and extrac­tion: the tran­si­tion from human mus­cle to nat­ur­al forces (fire, water, wind), to fos­sil fuels (coal, oil, gas, nuclear fis­sion), and now fur­ther to renew­able ener­gy (pho­to­syn­the­sis).

Human­i­ties speak of media changes in the field of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. In many iter­a­tions, four terms have also emerged (sur­prise!), but which are now to be read more sym­bol­i­cal­ly here: Lan­guage, writ­ing, let­ter­press, com­put­er. Trib­al, ancient, mod­ern soci­eties can be admired stuffed in the anthro­po­log­i­cal muse­um, and Suhrkamp has been press­ing a live­ly game about the cul­tur­al form of a “next soci­ety” between two book cov­ers for two decades. The descrip­tion of the ele­ments of a next cul­tur­al form, the con­crete con­tents of a next lit­er­a­cy, which are col­lect­ed under the hash­tag #DataL­it­er­a­cy, are becom­ing increas­ing­ly clear.

In short, while nat­ur­al sci­ences devel­oped a lin­ear-causal-deter­min­is­tic approach to the world, human­i­ties have been inspired by a dynam­ic-proces­su­al-sys­temic approach to the world: The com­ple­men­tar­i­ty of the two start­ing points, of com­pli­ca­tion on the one hand and of com­plex­i­ty on the oth­er hand, is evi­dent and a sit­u­a­tion­al use is a mat­ter of course for every coun­try­woman: When pre­serv­ing veg­eta­bles or fruits, it makes sense to work like the engi­neers: First pour what is to be pre­served into the jar. Then screw the lid on. Not the oth­er way around. No exper­i­ments. Zero cre­ativ­i­ty at this moment. But when it comes to teach­ing her cowherd and goat herder, with­in the “divine order”, what he has to stand for at the next Lands­ge­meinde, beau­ti­ful­ly dressed up and fresh­ly washed, she quite agile­ly applies more imag­i­na­tive meth­ods.

Noth­ing new under the sun. Or is there?

Even a tree can tweet. An intel­li­gent light bulb reflects its own tran­sience bone-dry and knows when its light will go out: It orders its own replace­ments from Ama­zon. In this respect, is a dumb light bulb wis­er than some tie-dyed, high­ly dec­o­rat­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives of pachy­derms?

When the head of the office @LangenauerStefn pro­pos­es to file the work results of all sta­tis­ti­cal offices in the open net. When his col­league from the city of Zurich @grandgrue also makes the codes they use for “data analy­sis, visu­al­iza­tions and co.” freely avail­able on GitHub. Then it can be shown far more than what the lit­tle word “Open” means under the patron­age of Sir @timberners_lee:

Data is open as soon as it is open­ly acces­si­ble on the Inter­net. That’s award­ed one star. Award­ed three stars, open data is when it is made acces­si­ble in a soft­ware envi­ron­ment that in turn also makes its data open­ly acces­si­ble. And on and on: 5stardata.info — When it comes to data, “Open” is the equiv­a­lent of “Secure”. And some­thing with “Closed” the syn­onym for “Sus­pect”: Open Data, Open Source, Open Access, Open Sci­ence, Open Edu­ca­tion­al Resources … The end of the end­less list (Umber­to Eco) is open, but deal­ing with it has long since found a name: “Dis­trib­uted Ledger Tech­nol­o­gy”.

“Free” is the new #Ser­vi­cePub­lic.

If Jim­bo Wales had his idea of an ency­clo­pe­dia (Wikipedia) and Tim Bern­ers-Lee had his idea of a Seman­tic Web (Wiki­da­ta) “Open” on the web, but it only found sup­port around the globe under the promise of “Free”, can we now guess the dif­fer­ence?

A found­ing mem­ber of Wiki­me­dia Switzer­land and Italy once answered the ques­tion in a larg­er ple­nary at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Zurich, chuck­ling, “Open? — Just 2 lit­tle Free.” And kept silent. Con­sis­tent­ly. Until today. He knows that 20 years ago it was no coin­ci­dence that Wikipedia want­ed to be a “Free” — and not an “Open” — ency­clo­pe­dia. It is the three Ger­man-lan­guage Wiki­me­dia asso­ci­a­tions that are not only no longer will­ing to defend this dif­fer­ence, but are aggres­sive­ly work­ing to whisk it away. And already inquiries on dis­cus­sion pages are reg­u­lat­ed by the group dynam­ic process­es of mer­i­toc­ra­cy: Who wants to indi­cate inward­ly to be a mer­i­to­ri­ous address will do the nec­es­sary.

If an “Appeal for Free Debate Spaces” is cur­rent­ly signed by more than 15,000 peo­ple, then the dif­fer­ence between “Open” and “Free” is at best per­ceived: “Open” is the oppo­site of “Closed”. But “free” means not only being able to take part, but also to give part.

Accord­ing to these assump­tions, the big fil­ter is like­ly to be the shar­ing econ­o­my. The World Eco­nom­ic Forum will want to see this dif­fer­ent­ly. The con­sen­sus will be that no one needs state-dis­trib­uted and pre-sort­ed news, and that state info­tain­ment brings back the worst mem­o­ries. A #Ser­vi­cePub­lic at the height of the times would be rec­og­niz­able by the fact that a pro­fes­sion­al #Com­mu­ni­ty­Care in a #Smart­Set­ting pro­tects open debate spaces and that these in turn can obtain bases, results and knowl­edge from a free com­mons and in turn also main­tain them there. But that would be anoth­er top­ic.

Ste­fan M. Sey­del is an entre­pre­neur, social work­er and artist. He lives and works in Dissent.is/Muster. The “mak­ing of” this text with many links: https://dissent.is/nzz-wikidata

The Basic Textes in German:

“Wikipedia/Wikidata is the worst of all set­tings deal­ing with #DATA #INFORMATION #KNOWLEDGE. Except for all the oth­ers that have been tried.” 


“Wikipedia/Wikidata ist die schlecht­este Umge­bung im Umgang mit Dat­en, Infor­ma­tion, Wis­sen auf der Höhe der Zeit. Auss­er aller Anderen.” Ste­fan M. Sey­del/sms ;-)

AutarkieIndex.org | WikiDienstag.ch | Q102014.xyz | dfdu.org | blog: dissent.is | about @sms2sms


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