Successful open communities must occasionally interact with closed worlds. For example, Wikipedia’s openness and transparency sometimes conflict with their obligations to be responsive to the law (e.g., defamation, copyright, and human safety). Such is a consequence of becoming a notable and established institution.
A new source of tension is the “professionalization” of Wikipedia administration – a move I otherwise commend. It appears professional marketers were asked to develop a marketing/fundraising campaign, yielding the “WIKIPEDIA FOREVER” slogan. Some Wikipedians feel this is inappropriate, arrogant, and loud – a sentiment with which I agree. A more wiki-typical discussion of appropriate slogans can be found here.
Benjamin Mako Hill on 2009-11-15
You’ll see that foundation board members, advisory board members, and other closely involved with the organization and with the community expressed reservations, or more, before the campaign was launched: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Fundraising_2009/Website_Design
I didn’t read any of that feedback as being anti-professional. In fact, a lot of it was just the opposite!
Joseph Reagle on 2009-11-13
I suppose ultimately, the “proof is in the pudding.” We’ll see how it turns out. I was thinking a neat process would be to ask the community to give it some thought, then have the pros select from the top X to put their polish on it.
Also, I know corporate users of banners/ads can be quite sophisticated, watch response rates and switching ads dynamically. This gives you a good sense of what works, and what doesn’t.
Joseph Reagle on 2009-11-16
Huh, Well, the more I hear, the more odd it seems…
Longbow4u on 2009-11-13
I agree. The sloga is amateurish. It is hard to identify with it. If amateurs come up with something like that, it’s perhaps excusable. But not for professionals. Sorry for the misspend money.
James Vasile on 2009-11-13
I’m in the camp of people who think Wikipedia is so well defined that its fundraising/marketing success is probably not much affected by sloganeering.
I generally applaud the move to professional services where warranted, but it needs to be done within a structure that ensures they’ll derive real value from the service. SFLC, for example, is a professional service, and we think we do a pretty good job for our projects. Maybe some of the wiki folks should give me a ring and we can talk about how to get the most value from bringing in outside professionals for specific tasks.
GerardM on 2009-11-13
It is a tradition to not be impressed at the sart of the fundraising. The heart of the matter is that we do need the funding and is self inflicted damage when the fundraiser is not effective because of the noise. It should be clear; we need the money !!