<CPOV> The costs of knowledge

andrew.famiglietti at lcc.gatech.edu andrew.famiglietti at lcc.gatech.edu
Wed Mar 24 15:14:21 CET 2010

This is very interesting stuff! You were able to identify top editor's real identities? If there was money at stake wouldn't you have to deal with attempts to falsely claim "ownership" of an active Wikipedia account? Were there any concerns about the loss of anonymous speech? English language Wikipedians seem to have divided opinions about being identified on Wikipedia. 

I'm not surprised the Foundation declined the money, in an early post to Wikipedia-L, Jimmy Wales writes that he basically considers taxation theft... however I also wonder about practical considerations. Edit conflicts can burn hot enough as it is, would they get worse if the editor whose contributions stuck was going to get paid? 

- Andy 
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Andreas Kemper" <andreas.erich.kemper at googlemail.com> 
To: "Juliana Brunello" <juliana at networkcultures.org> 
Cc: "cpov list" <cpov at listcultures.org> 
Sent: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 11:41:30 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern 
Subject: Re: <CPOV> The costs of knowledge 

There are programs to find the main-authors. It didn't seem to be the big problem to find the main-authors in Wikipedia. We had in the German Wikipedia a big discussion about the question: should we name the main-authors in the beginning of a Wikipedia-article 

and we had also a big discussion about VG Wort/Metis: 

and here is my blog-article about the solidarity economy in Wikipedia: 
where I published the possibility to get royalty from the state for Wikipedia-articles. 

All this articles are in German language, sorry. 

The most Wikipedia-articles have enough clicks per year to get the royalty from VG-Wort/Metis, so Wikimedia and the German Wikipedia-Authors could get each year a big peace of the cake (12 million Euro!), Matthias Schindler spokes about 5 million Euro. 

2010/3/23 Juliana Brunello < juliana at networkcultures.org > 

Wow, I wasn't aware of such a possibility! 

However, I don't know how exactly this would work in the case of 
Wikipedia. Articles are edited by a different number of authors, so how to 
compensate them? Divide equally? Divide per word count? How should it 
actually be measured and is it possible to automate the process? 


> Hi Juliana 
> Thats really a necessary question. 
> We had in the germanspeaking Wikipedia in the last year trouble about 
> In Germany you can get money from the state, if you are publishing books or 
> articles. And since two years you can get money, if you publish 
> internet-articles. If your internet-article has enough clicks, than you can 
> get 30-40 € for each article. If your article is published by an 

organization, than you get 60% and the organization gets 40% of the 
> Each year the internet-authors in Germany get 12 million € from 

the state 
> (from VG-Wort). 
> I was in contact with VG-Wort and they told me, they want also give 
> to 
> Wikipedia / the Wikipeda-Authors. But the Wikimedia-Foundation and the 
German chapter didn't want to have the money. They didn't told anything 
> the German authors. The ideology: Wikipedia-Authors have a lot of fun, 
> they write articles for Wikipedia. It's not work, it's a hobby. 
> If there an internet-content-organization is not part of the VG-Wort, 
> the internet-authors can get a special distribution. VG Wort was giving 
around three € for each article (if it has enough clicks). It's 

not much 
> money for one article, but some authors have written thousands of articles. 
> The German Wikimedia-Chapter knows about this special distribution, but 
> didn't inform the Wikipedia-Authors about this easy possibility to get 
> for their work. 
> Best 
> Andreas 
> 2010/3/23 Juliana Brunello < juliana at networkcultures.org > 
>> Hi all, 
>> This is a two paragraph quote from a text published at firstmonday called 
>> ‘Signs of epistemic disruption: Transformations in the knowledge 
system of the academic journal’ by William W. Cope and Mary 
>> http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2309/2163 
I find their questions not only interesting, but necessary. 
>> “Everybody who writes for Wikipedia has to have another source of 
income. What would happen to the global scholarly publishing industry 
>> academics assumed collective and universal responsibility for self 
publishing, an industry supporting in 2004 a reported 250,000 employees 
worldwide with a US$65 billion turnover (Peters, 2007)? What would 
>> to scholarly associations and research institutes that have 
>> gained revenue from the sale of periodicals and books? An ironical 
consequence of a move to social production would, in the 
>> much–trumpeted era of the knowledge or creative economy, be to value 
>> knowledge making and creativity at zero when coal. How do knowledge 
workers eat and where do they live? Without doing away with the market 
entirely, we are consigning a good deal of knowledge work to 
>> volunteerism, unaccountable cross–subsidy, charity or penury. We 
know from experience the fate of workers in other domains of unpaid 
>> such as the unpaid domestic work of women and carers. Making it free means 
>> that it is exploited. In the case of the knowledge economy, the exploiters 
>> are the likes of Google who take the unpaid work of social producers 
>> make a fortune from it. 
>>>> In this perspective, in this era of the new, digital media we might be 
witnessing no more than one of the old marvels of industrial capitalism 
— a technology that improves productivity. In the case of 
>> making, the efficiencies are so great — print encyclopedias vs. 
Wikipedia, celluloid movies vs. digital movies posted to YouTube, PDF 
journal articles vs. print journals — that we get the impression 
that the costs have reduced to nothing. But they have not. They have 
>> been lowered. We have become too dazzled by the reduction in costs to 
notice the costs we are now paying. So low are these costs in fact that 
>> are can even afford to make these cultural products in our spare time, and 
>> not worry too much about giving away the fruits of our labors to companies 
>> who have found ways to exploit them in newly emerging information markets. 
>> Knowledge is a product of human labor and it needs human labor to make it 
>> available. There can never be zero costs of production and distribution of 
>> knowledge and culture, theoretical or empirical. At most, there are 
productivity improvements. Far from ushering in a new mode of 
>> production, 
>> the driving force is more of the same engine that over the past few 
centuries has made capitalism what it is.” 
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Andrew Famiglietti 
Brittain Fellow 
School of Literature, Communication, and Culture 
Georgia Institute of Technology 
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