Wikimedia and the Free Culture Movement

An essay I wrote for the Wikimedia Foundation fundraising drive was just published on the the foundation’s Why Give blog. The essay, titled Wikimedia and the Free Culture Movement, discusses the movement for free culture, Wikimedia’s central role in it, and the importance of supporting the foundation because, I argue, the immediate success of the free culture movement is intimately tied up in Wikimedia’s efforts.

It is very exciting to see an essay I wrote linked prominently from the top of every page in Wikipedia! It is also exciting to imagine that I might help the Wikimedia foundation at this important time in that organization’s life.

I am giving to two organizations in support of two causes this year: the Wikimedia Foundation in support of free culture and the Free Software Foundation in support of free software. No other two groups are as committed or are doing as much to build a world where knowledge, and the tools we use to use, produce, and communicate it, are and remain free.

2 Replies to “Wikimedia and the Free Culture Movement”

  1. Cool essay.

    “Utopian” projects like GNU and Wikipedia become platforms for economic exploitation (in the positive sense) that feed financial value back to support the utopians in a spiral of value creation. For example corporate payments to Red Hat or the FSF and corporate provision of servers to Wikipedia. “Pragmatic” projects don’t create enough value to do this because they are usually beholden to less productive ideologies such as asset stripping or economic appeasement. Pragmatism is not always a more pragmatic measure than utopianism. ;-)

    Wikimedia are the GNU Project of culture. GNU is an OS, Wikimedia is a canon or library with an encyclopaedia, books, documents, gallery and music hall. The projects are comparable. Eben Moglen’s comments about the Deweyite basis of GNU apply to Wikipedia as well.

  2. Thanks for the comment Rob!

    I tend to agree that I could have picked a better word than “pragmatist.” To borrow a term from the Wiki(p|m)edia communities, perhaps I could say “immediatist.”

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