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Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013 
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
The Devil's Advocate wrote:
HRIP7 wrote:
To me the most surprising bit of news in the timeline is that Jimmy Wales co-chaired a Middle-East conference attended by both Blair and Kazakh President Nazarbaev – I hadn't known Jimbo was in the habit of chairing political conferences like that – followed by the various times he has intervened in Wikipedia articles related to Blair, and his ties to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

It's all related to his being named a "Young Global Leader" in Davos five years ago. There is no need for him to have been wilfully corrupt with regard to the Kazakh Wikipedia: the point is that he is fully integrated in the political and social circles that are fostering image building collaborations with Kazakhstan.


As I noted before, Jimbo stated that he was working with the Open Society Institute on the Kazakh Wikipedia project. OSI and its founder George Soros have actively worked with Blair on matters in various resource-producing countries such as Kazakhstan.


Soros' relationship with Kazakhstan is...shall we say, complicated. Here's my extensive piece on what happened when their local board member, a prominent human rights activist, went to jail on set-up charges, essentially, and they didn't really go to bat for him. Some details I had to learn from WikiLeaks, even though I worked there and knew all those involved:

http://3dblogger.typepad.com/different_ ... hstan.html

Basically, people in this field gravitate to Kazakhstan because they have money. Astana has bought out think tanks in Washington, American academics, etc. And people willingly turn to them because they are viewed as the one "modern" Central Asian country and of course strategically placed among Russia, China and the US. And they have oil, gas, minerals (Chevron is big there). More than any other country I've seen in this region, they invest enormous resources into educating young people with fluent English and get them propagandizing for the regime everywhere -- they are hugely aggressive, wear everyone down at every meeting, etc. If charm and money fail, they use libel lawsuits and then outright thuggery. A number of journalists I know in this field have faced libel threats and then chill their coverage of KZ. I think most likely the regime (which also is a double and stalking horse for Putin) targets certain Western intellectuals, such as they are, they want to have as agents of influence, like Jimmy Wales, and they flatter them aggressively and win them over precisely by playing up to their Better Worlding concept -- "I can go deal with this awful dictator because I won't be tainted by it and I might do some good for some dissident who has no way of expressing himself except...through editing Wikipedia in his country." This self-serving and illogical thinking seems to be exactly what has gone on here...


Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:22 am
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
HRIP7 wrote:
... and I've replied to him.
Quote:
The scandal is very simple: the Kazakh state is funding WikiBilim's expansion of the Kazakh Wikipedia.

Creative Commons (you're on their board, too) describes WikiBilim as an organisation that operates as the Wikimedia representative in Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan and Rwanda: Two more CC Affiliates for 2011), and WikiBilim claims the right to use (and does use) Wikimedia trademarks.

Yet you stated to me and others there was "zero collaboration" with the Kazakh regime, and that WikiBilim was a "totally independent" organisation (User talk:Jimbo Wales: Difference between revisions).

You are usually vociferously opposed to paid editing. Yet you've made the head of WikiBilim, a state-funded organisation with 25 full-time workers (10 Questions with Rauan Kenzhekhanuly), the "Wikipedian of the Year", a fact that is widely advertised in the approved Kazakh media outlets. Kazakh media are quoting you as having expressed gratitude to the Kazakh government for having created the right conditions for the Kazakh Wikipedia to flourish (Kazakh Wikipedia receives award at Wikimania conference).

You'll have to leave it to the public to decide whether the fact that you are close friends with a lot of people who, like WikiBilim, are also "financed" by Samruk-Kazyna is relevant or not.

Meanwhile, press freedom in Kazakhstan has gone down the drain (Main opposition media silenced in space of a month). I hope you realise that if you go to visit Kazakhstan and have yourself photographed shaking hands with the President and Prime Minister, and various other dignitaries, this will be welcome propaganda fodder to officials there, creating an undeserved appearance of normality.


Excellent answer. It would be hard for any organization of this importance and this visibility in Kazakhstan to remain independent even if it really began as an independent NGO, but the reality is, all such authentic independent civic groups are being harassed, dispersed, some members jailed, etc. these days. Sure, some benign GONGOs exist, government-organized NGOs that stick to "vegetarian" themes, and Wikipedia can be just such a vegetarian thing, given the "progressive" politics of its Western stakeholders. But Samruk-Kazyna is definitely a state run body with its hands in every pie and was run by President Nazarbayev's son-in-law Timur Kulibaev -- until Timurjan was fired symbolically after the Zhanaozen massacre. Since then, there have been various turmoils at S-K which you can't find out about from Wikipedia.

http://www.universalnewswires.com/centr ... x?id=11140
http://business.highbeam.com/436260/art ... l-newswire

Here's what Soros-funded EurasiaNet (here I used to work) had at the time on Wales/Kazakhstan:

http://www.eurasianet.org/node/66343

I guess I don't quite buy the idea that Wikibilim is being criticized as "too American" -- it has the state's blessing.

This piece details where there is skewed content in the Kazakh language Wikipedia i.e. especially on Zhanaozen.


Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:44 am
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Which reminds me I never followed this up.

Quote:
The Wikimedia Foundation has given the organisation a $16,600 grant raised from donations to the Wikipedia site.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikibilim_Foundation


Was there such a grant?

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Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:28 am WWW
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
HRIP7 wrote:
Especially given that Rauan's active Wikipedia involvement was only a few weeks old at the time ...

Can you document that, HRIP7? I know that "WikiBilim.kz" had only been registered a few weeks before they got funding from the Kazakh national fund, but was Rauan really "uninvolved" with any language Wikipedia prior to that point? If so, that is especially amazing, and practically seals the deal that Jimbo's actions were extremely fishy.

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Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:06 pm WWW
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
thekohser wrote:
HRIP7 wrote:
Especially given that Rauan's active Wikipedia involvement was only a few weeks old at the time ...

Can you document that, HRIP7? I know that "WikiBilim.kz" had only been registered a few weeks before they got funding from the Kazakh national fund, but was Rauan really "uninvolved" with any language Wikipedia prior to that point? If so, that is especially amazing, and practically seals the deal that Jimbo's actions were extremely fishy.


Some of the timeline below. Rauan had little involvement with the En Wikipedia. Not that much with the KZWP either.

8 March 2011 – Nartay Ashim creates the User:Ashina account on Kazakh Wikipedia. Over the following weeks, a slew of new material, largely taken verbatim from Kazakhstan's state-published national encyclopedia, is transferred to the Kazakh Wikipedia.

25 March 2011 – Nartay Ashim (User:Ashina on Kazakh Wikipedia) registers the wikibilim.kz domain.

March 26 2011 - Rauan's first edit to Kz wikipedia (last edit April 2012 - not a regular) http://kk.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?tit ... did=196147

April 2011 – "In April 2011, the first meeting of Kazakh Wikipidians was held in Almaty (Kazakhstan) where Local Chapter creation issue had been discussed."

4 May 2011 – The registration of WikiBilim Public Foundation (per Wikimedia Meta page) takes place.

10 May 2011 - Samuel Klein, a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation, asks how he might assist in automating the transfer of all 15 volumes of the state-published Kazakh Encyclopedia to the Wikimedia Foundation's Kazakh Wikipedia.

Aug 4 2011 At Wikimania-2011 Wales awards Wikibilim (i.e. Rauan) with his personal grant to organize a regional Wikipedia conference.

September 2011 - Rauan begins editing on English Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Co ... ons/Rauank

November 2011 Wikibilim page created "In August 2011, the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Whales [sic], awarded WikiBilim as the Wikipedia of the year. Moreover, Jimmy Whales [sic]awarded his own grant as a contribution to the development of Kazakh Wikipedia".

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Last edited by Peter Damian on Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:27 pm WWW
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
thekohser wrote:
HRIP7 wrote:
Especially given that Rauan's active Wikipedia involvement was only a few weeks old at the time ...

Can you document that, HRIP7? I know that "WikiBilim.kz" had only been registered a few weeks before they got funding from the Kazakh national fund, but was Rauan really "uninvolved" with any language Wikipedia prior to that point? If so, that is especially amazing, and practically seals the deal that Jimbo's actions were extremely fishy.

It might be worth stating (or restating) the problem here.

If the Government have a state-approved view of the world in the form of an encyclopedia, they may be aware that its credibility would be in question. If you can launder that state-approved document into one that has the appearance of an independently written source, then you have created an excellent propaganda tool.

To understand whether this is a problem, one would need to test certain articles to see if they are biased towards the state in some way.

If the source is untainted, for example we might imagine a parallel with the BBC in the UK and how much they are viewed as a tainted news source due to their state funding, then there is not necessarily a problem, but then we would expect a clear and open statement of the relationships. People are fully aware of the BBC funding situation and can take that into account.

It is worth repeating also that an individual unilaterally declaring an unknown person Wikipedian of the Year without any apparent reference to either the community of Wikipedia or having a clear process with the controlling body of Wikipedia (WMF) is extremely bizarre, especially when the criteria are so opaque.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Worth adding that Jimmy clearly doesn't understand how the Kazakh Wikipedia is a vehicle for both linguistic cleansing and censorship. So by supporting it he is unwittingly supporting linguistic cleansing and censorship.

1. Linguistic cleansing because a large minority (30%) of the population in Kazakhstan are ethnic Russians who arrived in the boom of the 1950s and settled, and who have children and grandchildren. These people do not speak or understand the Kazakh language, which the government is trying to promote as part of its de-russification program. There has been a displacement of Russians and Ukrainians from many levels of government employment.

Indeed, not many ethnic Kazakhs speak their own language. Kazakh is a so-called 'kitchen language'. I.e. it is spoken mostly in the countryside, not in urban areas, has no technical, legal, scientific or philosophical vocabulary. Parliamentary debates are usually in Russian. On rare occasions a Kazakh-speaking MP chooses to speak in Kazakh, members have to use an interpreter. Official documents until recently were written and edited in Russian and then translated into Kazakh. It's a strange language to write an encyclopedia in.

2. Censorship, because (as the dissidents have pointed out to me) Russian is a universal language in Kazakhstan. Any censorship in the Kazakh Wikipedia can immediately be spotted by comparing it with the Russian Wikipedia. But if the government succeeds in its program to wipe out the Russian language, the Kazakh encyclopedia can have any version of reality that it likes, without anyone knowing any better. The internet can only 'route around censorship' if there is a universal language. The campaign against the free press in Kazakhstan is essentially a campaign against Russian media outlets.

Quote:
Measures to enhance the use of the Kazakh Language have been seen as a pretext to silence opposition, which as a rule is Russian-educated and Russian-speaking. For instance, the violation of the requirement of at least 50 percent Kazakh-language programming has been used to close down independent TV stations associated with the opposition.
http://www.cacianalyst.org/?q=node/1997


Quote:
The government is trying to ‘invent the bicycle’ by translating all existing knowledge into Kazakh (also channeling public money into this project), and create difficulties for Russians by forcing Kazakh to be used equally (fifty-fifty) with Russian. One of the prominent leaders of the Lad, Michail Sytnik, published several works explaining that Kazakh is not fit for the modern public sphere because it cannot serve as a language of modern politics, science and education. Historically, he wrote, Kazakh never was the language of ‘civilization’ but just the language of nomad poetry.


Quote:
The primary value of Kazakh [language] is as an instrument of nationalisation". (Bhavna Dave, _Kazakhstan_ p. 112)


Quote:
All of the activities were driven by the mission to develop our mother tongue. You know that Kazakhstan…was a part of the Soviet Union. And at that time the mother tongue in this country and in other countries in the region, they were not developed. They did not add much to the development of the language. And now the last two decades, we are trying to revitalize the language and to give a second glance to the language. "
(Rauan Kenzhekhanuly http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/ ... -Q/?page=2 )


We also need to understand Rauan why he has dodged questions from the Respublika reporter. Respublika is banned in Kazakhstan. Perhaps that explains why, although he initially agreed to speak to the reporter, he has failed to pick up the phone and generally dodged any attempt at in interview. But of course as an employee of a repressive government, and a good Wikipedian, why would he want to speak to a 'banned person'.

Why is Jimmy sponsoring the linguistic cleansing of a whole nation?

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Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:49 pm WWW
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
More

Office of the High Commission of Human Rights http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/ce ... tan_76.pdf

Quote:
Objectively, Russian is the language of inter-ethnic communication in the multinational state. Despite this, the use of Russian language in mass communication has been limited to a significant degree. One of the principal requirements imposed by the State is that all the broadcast media, including the private media, would keep a proportionate balance of coverage to 50% of air-time dedicated to Kazakh language programs [EB: a law passed in 2011].

Statistical data of the 1 January 2008 shows that 81.9% of civil servants are of Kazakh origin, Russians are the second group at 12.3%, while other ethnic groups account for 5.8%. On many occasions professional qualifications have less weight in terms of civil servants selection than command of Kazakh language.

The language issue has social, cultural, political, legal and ethno-political dimensions. Low command of Kazakh could be a direct or indirect reason for refusing to hire a candidate in civil service, for disqualification from the state contest or political campaigning and could lead to other violation of rights (although there are no court cases or legal claims that authors could be aware of) related to these issues.

Russian-speaking residents of the country have certain concern about the violation of the law on languages, pertaining to the social services sphere. The signatures and nameplates for streets, official institutions, including the Employment bureaus, public hospitals and post offices, road police offices and other agencies are in Kazakh only, which creates discomfort for residents that do not speak Kazakh. Tax and customs forms, medical records and medication leaflets are also sometimes provided in one language only. Translation into Russian is not provided at some of the state-funded conferences, including those with participation of the Committee on Languages of the Ministry of Culture, Information and Sport, meaning that a number of non-Kazakh participants are left out of the discussion.


So, promoting a Kazakh language Wikipedia no different, really, from putting Kazakh-only nameplates for streets :(

One state, one territory, one people, one language.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
dogbiscuit wrote:
If the source is untainted, for example we might imagine a parallel with the BBC in the UK and how much they are viewed as a tainted news source due to their state funding, then there is not necessarily a problem, but then we would expect a clear and open statement of the relationships. People are fully aware of the BBC funding situation and can take that into account.

The BBC has many biases, and I have been a vocal critic of some of them. (Not so much when they agree with my biases, of course!) However, being consistently pro-Government is scarcely one of them.

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Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:38 pm WWW
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
dogbiscuit wrote:
To understand whether this is a problem, one would need to test certain articles to see if they are biased towards the state in some way.


As I keep explaining, it's the very existence of the thing that is the problem. An analogy may help. The English government is overthrown by the Welsh and the Cornish, aided by the Scots. The new leader of the Welsh government declares himself Prime Minister for life. He decrees that Welsh is the official language of New Wales (formerly England). A law is passed that all TV and radio stations and newspapers must have at least 50% coverage in Welsh. This is used as an excuse to shut down most of the press and TV, which are a front for the English opposition of course.

Then the New Welsh government funds a massive expansion of the Welsh Wikipedia, and seeks support from the Wikimedia Foundation. Jimmy Wales gives $5,000 to the Welsh nationalist who is leading the project.

Now it doesn't matter whether this new Welsh Wikipedia is biased or not (although it probably is). It's the very existence of the thing, which is part of a de-Anglicisation project, a linguistic cleansing of the English, which is the problem. Yes?

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Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:56 pm WWW
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Peter Damian wrote:
Which reminds me I never followed this up.

Quote:
The Wikimedia Foundation has given the organisation a $16,600 grant raised from donations to the Wikipedia site.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikibilim_Foundation


Was there such a grant?

Yes. See this page.
Quote:
Funded
This submission to the Wikimedia Foundation Grants Program was funded in the fiscal year 2011-12. This is a grant to an organization.
IMPORTANT: Please do not make changes to this page now. They will be reverted.

This project has been funded, completed, and a project report has been reviewed and accepted by WMF Staff.
To review a list of other funded submissions by fiscal year, please visit the Requests subpage, and to review the WMF Grants Program criteria for funding please visit the Grants:Index.

This grantee has requested a change to the project completion date submitted here, and this change has been approved WMF and is now reflected on this submission page. Please see the discussion page for details, including reporting requirements that may have changed as a result of this extension.
Legal name of chapter or nonchapter group
"WikiBilim" Public Foundation
Grant contact name
Rauan Kenzhekhanuly
Grant contact username or email
Rauank
Grant contact title (position)
Director of "WikiBilim" Public Foundation
Project lead name
Nartay Ashim
Project lead username or email
Ashina
Project lead title (position), if any
WikiBilim PF coordinator
Full project name
Turkic speaking wikipemedians conference -- conference page
Amount requested (in USD)
20 00016,600
Provisional target start date
The 18th of November 2011 20 April 2012
Provisional completion date
The 19th of November 2011 21 April 2012


This event was explicitly co-sponsored by Wikimedia Foundation and Samruk-Kazyna (and the selection of people funded to go to this conference later led to a major controversy in the Turkish Wikipedia, which has its own page in Meta: Requests for comment/Dispute over Turkish representation at Turkic Wikimedia Conference 2012).

So if Wales asserts, as he did on his talk page on 8 April, that "There is no relationship between the WMF and Kazakhstan at all", then that means that co-sponsoring a conference with the Kazakh state fund can be done without any relationship at all.

The Wikimedia Foundation chair giving a joint press conference in Almaty with Kazakh government politicians, too, is a thing that can happen without any relationship at all:

Quote:
On June 16, 2011 in Almaty, Kazakhstan chapter creation initiative group organized the first WP events. It had been press-conference and presentation of the web-page with kazakh video & PDF tutorials and start of Wiki-campaign dedicated to 20th independence anniversary. Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the WMF Mr.Ting Chen, Head of Kazakh Encyclopedia Mr. B.Zhakyp, Parliament deputy Mr. M.Abenov (internet advocate), co-founder of Wikibilim Foundation Mr.Rauan Kenzhekhanuly, deputy chair of JS "KazKontent" (state agency responsible for development of Kazakh internet) had participated in the event. Also Mr.Ting Chen held a seminar on Wikipedia and WMF development.


I am wondering whether someone shouldn't begin to question Ting Chen about his role in all of this, and what made him travel to a meeting and press conference in Kazakhstan in June 2011. Remember, WikiBilim stated here that a meeting between Jimmy Wales and Kazakh Prime Minister Massimov in Davos was what got the ball rolling.
Quote:
PM [prime minister] of the RoK [Republick of Kazakhstan] Karim Massimov had conversation with Jimmy Wales concerning the development of KKWP during the last Davos summit. Also the Parliament Member Mr.Murat Abenov is among our strong supporters and he is one of our active community members. Chief of Kazakh National Encyclopedia Mr.Bauyrzhan Zhakyp is also among our supporters.

Wales contradicted them later, saying there had not been such a meeting between him and Massimov – but there was clearly some sort of approach made in Davos or elsewhere that led the WMF to send Ting Chen halfway round the world. But no one's coming clean.


Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:57 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Why is it that whenever I read anything about Jimmy Wales or the WMF playing footsie with the current Kazakh regime, I am inevitably reminded of the strange case of Lloyd George and Hitler? You can't really cite a true equivalence, in that Nazarbayev appears to have far better political survival skills than Hitler did; and that about the only notable thing Jimbo has in common with Lloyd George is his penchant for deception.


Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:12 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
thekohser wrote:
HRIP7 wrote:
Especially given that Rauan's active Wikipedia involvement was only a few weeks old at the time ...

Can you document that, HRIP7? I know that "WikiBilim.kz" had only been registered a few weeks before they got funding from the Kazakh national fund, but was Rauan really "uninvolved" with any language Wikipedia prior to that point? If so, that is especially amazing, and practically seals the deal that Jimbo's actions were extremely fishy.

Peter Damian has indicated when Rauan first registered accounts. But even Wikimedia's own write-up says Rauan first heard about Wikipedia in 2010:
Quote:
Rauan worked in civil service in Kazakhstan for several years before jumping at an opportunity to do a one-year fellowship at Harvard University in Boston. As part of his fellowship, he took a class in fall 2010 that changed his life: Professor Nicco Mele’s “Media, Politics, and Power in the Digital Age”, part of a pilot of the Wikipedia Education Program. Students in Professor Mele’s class were required to read Andrew Lih’s book “The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopedia” and contribute to the English Wikipedia. Rauan was hooked.

Less than half a year later, he has Kazakh government support for taking charge of the Kazakh Wikipedia, Ting Chen comes to visit and he is earmarked for Global Wikipedian of the Year, and then the Kazakh prime minister is the patron of his organisation (which also interfaces with Creative Commons, and with Google for Google Translate). And remember, Rauan has made a super career out of working for the Kazakh government: he is a government high-flyer.

I am not judging him.

Given that he lives in Kazakhstan, a country I don't know very much about at all, I am in no position to judge him. He is a smart guy, and best of luck to him.

But Rauan is not some random enthusiast like Rich Farmbrough. Rauan has made a first-class career out of working for the Kazakh government. Wikimedia's account that "WikiBilim's success attracted government support" contradicts the Kazakhs' own account, which said it is a government initiative from beginning to end, "purpose-organized by Kazakhstani activists of Wikipedia at the initiative and for the money of Samruk-Kazyna". Remember, even WikiBilim stated that the whole thing was hatched at a Davos meeting with Jimmy Wales.

The official Wikimedia account is incompatible with what the Kazakhs have said, and flies in the face of reason. I believe the Wikimedia account is a lie.


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Our attention to Wikipedia and other multi-language open knowledge platforms based on the strong believe in the power of technology and particularly in the power of the free knowledge and the Internet as a great tool to support native culture, mother tongue and modernization of the country we live in.
Wikibilim


Quote:
The 'modernization' of Turkish language went hand in hand with 'linguistic cleansing' and 'linguistic homogenization'. Confident of their role as 'social engineers of the new system' the reformist/ Jacobinist elite of the new Turkey failed to see that we do not make language, language makes us."
Shafak


Quote:
"Zygmunt Bauman, Alexander Laban Hilton and Paul Havemann, amongst others, have argued that genocide is intimately linked to modernity. Modern discourses on development, modernization and western science as well as key meta-narratives of modernity (advancing the teleological myth of progress and civilization), “gardener's visions” and the very categorization and standardization of national languages (crucial to the biopolitical formation of global populations under the system of modern nation-states) have all legitimated and effected policies and practices that have been genocidal in their nature and scope. This article examines and details the extent to which all these identified aspects of modernity can be observed in the case of Turkey. The findings indicate that linguistic/cultural and physical genocide of Kurds in Turkey has taken place (over the past eight and a half decades) as a direct consequence of the Kemalist/Ataturkist modernity project. Language policy – which has advocated linguistic imperialism alongside linguistic genocide – has been a critical tool for the creation of the modern Turkish nation-state."
Modernity and the linguistic genocide of Kurds in Turkey. Fernandes, Desmond.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Perhaps Ting Chen could be contacted? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Philopp

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Quote:
10 May 2011 - Samuel Klein, a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation, asks how he might assist in automating the transfer of all 15 volumes of the state-published Kazakh Encyclopedia to the Wikimedia Foundation's Kazakh Wikipedia.


Is it standard practice for Wikimedia to just offer to automate the transfer of a state-filtered version of reality in its encyclopedia directly to Wikipedia like that?


Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:21 am
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Peter Damian wrote:
Perhaps Ting Chen could be contacted? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Philopp

I've contacted Ting on the German Wikipedia, in reference to a piece on this I wrote for the Kurier (the German Wikipedia's approximate equivalent to the Signpost).

I see the German Kurier article has also been mentioned on Jimbo's talk now.


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Catfitz wrote:
Quote:
10 May 2011 - Samuel Klein, a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation, asks how he might assist in automating the transfer of all 15 volumes of the state-published Kazakh Encyclopedia to the Wikimedia Foundation's Kazakh Wikipedia.


Is it standard practice for Wikimedia to just offer to automate the transfer of a state-filtered version of reality in its encyclopedia directly to Wikipedia like that?

Of course not. It's even rarer for people to be awarded "Global Wikipedian of the Year" Awards for this kind of activity.


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HRIP7 wrote:
Peter Damian wrote:
Perhaps Ting Chen could be contacted? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Philopp

I've contacted Ting on the German Wikipedia, in reference to a piece on this I wrote for the Kurier (the German Wikipedia's approximate equivalent to the Signpost).

I see the German Kurier article has also been mentioned on Jimbo's talk now.


Quote:
WP cannot just function in our cozy safe little Liberal Democracies. It has to grow everywhere or WP becomes meaningless in its original intent. It must be said that WP brings a greater level of openness within the society it operates it by its very mechanics and ethos.


There you go again. The internet routes around censorship.

The attacks by Prioryman, Russavia and Demiurge have reached new levels of shrillness. "Sorry, the guys a trolling troll, nothing more, nothing less. "

There are many interesting things to deconstruct there. Prioryman's complaint that JN did not reveal any conflict of interest. The idea that writing for the German Wikipedia is an 'off-wiki attack', yet one of the fundamental defences against censorship is the ability to use different platforms to campaign on. It's as though only WP can be the conduit of truth.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Andreas leaves a message on Ting Chen's talk page http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?tit ... =113181655 , which my rusty German translates as follows:

Quote:
Hello Ting, see the Courier article, "Jimmy Wales and censorship in France, Russia and Kazakhstan," and the accompanying discussion. Could you help clarify a couple of points?

Jimmy Wales said recently that it was "extremely problematic" that WikiBilim money had been received from the Kazakh government. Yet that was clear from the beginning: apart from Rauan being is a long-time functionary, it was announced at the press conference in Almaty in June 2011, when you were there, and was thus was already [known?] weeks before Wales' award ceremony in August 2011. And if it is so "extremely problematic" why has Wales awarded the prize anyway?

And do you know how the contact between Wales and Kazakhstan originally came about? According WikiBilim Wales discussed the development of the Kazakh Wikipedia first with the then Kazakh Prime Minister Massimov, in Davos. Wales denies that he had a meeting with the prime minister (without revealing anything else about discussions he had with regard to the Kazakh Wikipedia in Davos). But how was it that you flew to Kazakhstan so soon after founding WikiBilim ?
Links for info above in the discussion on the talk page courier. Regards, - Andreas JN466 04:04, 14 Apr. 2013 (EDT)

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Cedric wrote:
about the only notable thing Jimbo has in common with Lloyd George is his penchant for deception.

Oh, I don't know.

Anne Perkins enjoys Ffion Hague's engaging, sympathetic portrait of Lloyd George's women

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Peter Damian wrote:
Andreas leaves a message on Ting Chen's talk page http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?tit ... =113181655 , which my rusty German translates as follows:

Quote:
Hello Ting, see the Courier article, "Jimmy Wales and censorship in France, Russia and Kazakhstan," and the accompanying discussion. Could you help clarify a couple of points?

Jimmy Wales said recently that it was "extremely problematic" that WikiBilim money had been received from the Kazakh government. Yet that was clear from the beginning: apart from Rauan being is a long-time functionary, it was announced at the press conference in Almaty in June 2011, when you were there, and was thus was already [known?] weeks before Wales' award ceremony in August 2011. And if it is so "extremely problematic" why has Wales awarded the prize anyway?

And do you know how the contact between Wales and Kazakhstan originally came about? According WikiBilim Wales discussed the development of the Kazakh Wikipedia first with the then Kazakh Prime Minister Massimov, in Davos. Wales denies that he had a meeting with the prime minister (without revealing anything else about discussions he had with regard to the Kazakh Wikipedia in Davos). But how was it that you flew to Kazakhstan so soon after founding WikiBilim ?
Links for info above in the discussion on the talk page courier. Regards, - Andreas JN466 04:04, 14 Apr. 2013 (EDT)

Thanks for the translation, Peter. Ting Chen has posted a long reply in German on the Kurier talk page:
tldr: show
Quote:
Hallo, hier einigen Antworten zu den Fragen, die Andreas auf meine Diskussionsseite gestellt hatte. Ich habe den ganzen Thread hier nicht durchgelesen und daher, falls es unvollständig ist, bitte nachfragen.
Dass "Rauan ein langjähriger Funktionär ist" ist nicht "von Anfang an klar". Wir machen kein Backgroundchecks falls jemand die Foundation kontaktiert. Wir führen auch keine Akten über Volunteeren, die uns kontaktieren. Für uns war Rauan ein der Volunteeren, die ein Chapter gründen wollen. Als ich in Almaty war und ihn fragte, was er beruflich tut, hatte er geantwortet, dass er im Außenministerium gearbeitet hatte und sein Dienst quittiert hatte und selbständig gemacht hat. Das ist das erste Mal, dass irgendjemand von der Foundation über seinem Background erfährt, glaube ich. Von dem, was ich übersetzt bekommen habe, würde ich sagen, dass Rauan an keine Stelle gesagt hatte, er wäre ein Funktionär oder dass noch zu diesem Zeitpunkt in Staatsdienst stand.
Was ich ihn auch gefragt habe, war, wie Wikibilim sich finanziert. Und er hat gesagt, dass er bei zwei staatliche Stiftungen Geld beantragt. Das war auch der Grund dafür, warum er Wikibilim als Chapter anerkannt haben möchtet, weil das das Beantragen des Geldes erleichtern würde. Die Stiftungen sind so weit mir gesagt wurde, Stiftungen die Bildung und Wissenschaft betreffen. (Ich muss hier auf die Übersetzung stützen da ich kein Russisch oder Kasachisch kann.)
Jimmy sagte, dass er in Davos den Ministerpräsidenten von Kasachstan getroffen hatte, ja. Allerdings halt so wie wenn man auf Konferenzen jemanden trifft. Ich kann mir nicht vorstellen, dass zu der Zeit sie über Wikipedia speziel gesprochen hatte. Denn, ich erinnere mich noch gut, dass als ich mein Reisebericht an Board verschickt hatte, hatte Jimmy den Präsidenten von Kasachstan als Diktator bezeichnet und auch gesagt, dass er ihn nicht treffen möchtet.
Jimmy verlieh Rauan den Preis einzig und allein weil die Editorenzahlen in kasachische Wikipedia seit Anfang 2011 konsistent und anhaltend gestiegen war. Das hatte er auch auf Wikimania bei der Preisverleihung so gesagt. (Übrigens glaube ich auch, dass die Preisverleihung eine spontane Idee von ihm war, es hatte uns allen überrascht.)
Also nochmal, der Kontakt zwischen Foundation und Wikibilim ging von Rauan aus. Mir ist nicht bekannt, und kann mir auch nicht vorstellen, dass es über Jimmy ging.
Die meisten meiner Reise (auch die nach Kenya oder Armenien oder auch Lüneburg etc.) kommen so zustande: Irgend eine Gruppe von Volunteeren fragt bei Foundation, dass sie eine Aktion machen wollen, ob sie von Foundation eine offizielle Unterstützung erhalten können in Form eines Vertreters. Sue leitet die Anfrage an das Board und (meistens) ich antworte darauf da bei mir die Flexibilität am meisten gegeben ist. Ich betrachte meine Reise immer als Arbeitsreise und bestehe darauf, dass die Reise auch nur Arbeiten dient, das heißt, ich verbinde nie ein Urlaub damit oder so und fliege auch nur so viele Tage hin und zurück wie es erforderlich ist. Es ist meistens so, dass die Gastgeber dann sich wünscht, dass ich auch etwas vom Land und Menschen und Gastfreundschaft erfahre. Ich versuche dieses Teil so gering wie möglich zu halten, ohne die Gefühle der Gastgeber zu verletzen. Da es Arbeitsreise sind, schreibe ich nach der Reise auch immer ein Bericht an das Board und lege Rechenschaft ab. So war das auch bei meiner Reise nach Almaty gewesen: Rauan fragte bei der Foundation nach einem offiziellen Vertreter anlässlich der Gründung von Wikibilim und ich habe mich dazu gemeldet.
Wikibilim wurde letztendlich nie als Chapter anerkannt weil die vorgeschlagene Satzung einen sehr autoritären Charakter hat. Jimmy reiste trotz mehrfacher Einladung von Rauan nie nach Kasachstan.
Hoffe, damit den Vorgang aufklären zu können .--Wing (Diskussion) 13:29, 14. Apr. 2013 (CEST)


Here is a quick translation:
Quote:
Hi, here are some answers to the questions that Andreas asked on my talk page. I haven't read the whole thread here, so if anything is missing, please ask.
It was not "clear from the beginning" that "Rauan was a long-time functionary". We do not perform background checks when someone contacts the Foundation. Nor do we keep records of volunteers who contact us. To us Rauan was one of the volunteers who wanted to start a chapter. When I was in Almaty and asked him what he does professionally, he replied that he had worked at the State Department and had resigned and become self-employed. This is the first time that anyone in the Foundation learns anything about his background, I think. From what I got translated, I would say that at no point Rauan said that he was a functionary or that he was still a government employee at that time.
I also asked him how Wikibilim was financed. And he said that he applied for money from two state foundations. That was also the reason why he wanted to have Wikibilim recognised as a Chapter, because that would make it easier to apply for the money. As far as I was told, the foundations were foundations whose aims were education and science. (I have to rely on the translation here because I don't speak Russian or Kazakh.)
Jimmy said that he had met the Kazakh prime minister in Davos, yes. However, just the way you meet someone at a conference. I cannot imagine that at the time they would have spoken about Wikipedia specifically. After all, I still remember that when I sent my travel report to the Board, Jimmy called said the President of Kazakhstan was a dictator, and also said that he did not feel like meeting him.
Jimmy gave Rauan the award simply and solely because there was a consistent and sustained increase in editor numbers in the Kazakh Wikipedia from the beginning of 2011. He said so at the award ceremony at Wikimania. (Incidentally, I also believe that giving the award was a spontaneous idea of his; it surprised us all.)
So again, the contact between the Foundation and Wikibilim was initiated by Rauan. I don't know anything about things going through Jimmy, and can't imagine that being the case.
Most of my travel (also to Kenya or Armenia or Luneburg, etc.) comes about like this: a group of volunteers ask the Foundation about an action they want to take, whether they can get official Foundation support in the form of a representative. Sue forwards the request to the Board, and I (mostly) respond, because it requires flexibility, and I am in the best position there. I consider my trips business trips and always insist that the trip only serves official purposes, that is, I never combine it with a holiday, and I only ever go for as many days as the task requires. It is generally the case that the host then wants that I also learn something of the country and people and their hospitality. I try to keep this part as short as is possible without hurting hosts' feelings. As these are business trips, I always write a report to the board after each trip and give an account of myself. That includes my trip to Almaty: Rauan asked the Foundation for an official representative for the founding of Wikibilim and I volunteered.
In the end, Wikibilim was never recognized as a chapter because the proposed constitution had a very authoritarian character. Jimmy never went to Kazakhstan, despite repeated invitations from Rauan.
Hope this clears things up. Wing (talk) 13:29, 14 Apr. 2013 (EDT)


I've thanked Ting, and have pointed out to him that his and Wales' accounts contradict each other with respect to whether Wales met Massimov in Davos or not.

Ting says (in translation),
Quote:
Jimmy said that he had met the Kazakh prime minister in Davos, yes. However, just the way you meet someone at a conference. I cannot imagine that at the time they would have spoken about Wikipedia specifically.


Someone from WikiBilim said on Meta:
Quote:
PM of the RoK Karim Massimov had conversation with Jimmy Wales concerning the development of KKWP during the last Davos summit.


Jimmy said on Meta some months later,
Quote:
Hi in this edit [User:84.240.196.128] introduced the claim that I met with (now former) Prime Minister of Kazakhstan at Davos. This is in error; I have never met with him. I did attend a Kazakhstan reception at another World Economic Forum event (with humorous results for my friends, as you can read about in that blog post), but I was one of hundreds of guests there and did not get to meet with any top officials. I have had a casual meeting with someone from his office, and various other casual or indirect contacts with Kazakhs over the years, but never a formal meeting with the President, the Prime Minister, or any ministers there. Yet.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:41, 29 December 2012 (UTC)"


I guess someone could ask Wales whether he is still quite sure he never met Massimov, or whether he would like to correct, amend or supplement his statement in Meta.

Marcus Cyron pointed out that Jimmy had in fact said in both Haifa and Washington that he would travel to Kazakhstan. In Washington, this included mention of a meeting with Nazarbaev, according to Marcus Cyron. Marcus Cyron suggested Wales should make it clear that this would not and could not happen. I pointed out that it was the Tengri News report last December announcing that Wales would visit Kazakhstan in 2013 that started the whole discussion here.

For those who speak German, the Kurier discussion is here: link.


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
How are russavia and demiurge1000 not being sanctioned for personal attacks right there on Jimbo's talk page?

Have you no balls Mr. Wales?
Have you no sense of shame?


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
So we now know that Rauan contacted WMF early June, that Chen flew to Almaty two weeks later on June 16.

Quote:
I always write a report to the board after each trip and give an account of myself.


Why not ask for a copy of the report, or is it secret?

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Note that in December 2012, Wales stated on his user talk page that he would go to Kazakhstan and raise press freedom issues etc. with politicians there.

At Wikimania Washington in July 2012, in contrast, he thanked the Kazakh government profusely for their contributions (effectively thanking them for paying people to replace the content of the Kazakh Wikipedia with the content of the regime's Kazakh National Encyclopedia).

There was a cool little write-up about this on Netprophet at the time which I only spotted today:
Quote:
Kazakh Wikipedia has received an award at the annual Wikimania conference, which was held this year in Washington DC. The conference recognized Kazakhstan’s success in the development and improvement of its national division of Wikipedia, the biggest online encyclopedia, writes Caspionet.kz.

The Kazakh Wikipedia project, already voted “the best wiki project in 2011″, was supported by the Kazakhstan national encyclopedia, run by the Ministry of Culture. In a not-so-common cooperation between paper and digital media, they allowed the website to convert their whole hard-copy content into a digital form to be posted on Wikipedia, says Rauan Kenzhekhanuly, Head of the Wikibilim Foundation which was in charge of the project.

This resulted in the publication of about 70,000 articles, which attracted the interest of other users who actively started contributing to the page, bringing the current number of articles to almost 140,000.

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, was impressed by the achievement, thanked the Kazakh government for contributing and supporting the project and accepted the Kazakh Ambassador to the US’s invitation to visit the country.

According to Amir Aharoni, the programmer of Israeli Wikimedia Foundation, the Kazakh success in spreading free knowledge can be of inspiration to other countries like Armenia, and Uzbekistan.

Then again, one cannot help wonder what the future of free knowledge will look like if governments, especially those of authoritarian countries (like Uzbekistan and Armenia, actually), which do not exactly support freedom of speech, get involved, more or less directly, in the Wikipedia project.

Freedom House, the American NGO monitoring the status of liberties across the world, rated Kazakhstan in 2012 as “partly free,” and its media as “not free.”


So the Kazakhs (note Massimov's image on the WikiBilim website ...) have now actually gotten a Wikimania award from Jimmy Wales for two years running.

I am tempted to call Wales Massimov's poodle.


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
HRIP7 wrote:
I am tempted to call Wales Massimov's poodle.

I'm still not convinced Jimbo understood the problem here until after it was pointed out to him, over and over again.


Vigilant wrote:
How are russavia and demiurge1000 not being sanctioned for personal attacks right there on Jimbo's talk page?

Have you no balls Mr. Wales?
Have you no sense of shame?

As long as Russivia isn't targeting Jimbo, he probably doesn't see what the problem is.


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
TungstenCarbide wrote:
HRIP7 wrote:
I am tempted to call Wales Massimov's poodle.

I'm still not convinced Jimbo understood the problem here until after it was pointed out to him, over and over again.
Well, he and Wikimedia were in desperate need of a success story in a smaller Wikipedia project, because basically so many of the smaller-language projects are moribund, with editor numbers in single figures. After all, that's the state the Kazakh Wikipedia was in before all of this happened.

Manus manum lavat. Jimbo and WMF got their success story, and Massimov got the Kazakh Wikipedia.


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Sorry if I'm repeating something that was already covered in this long thread. I've skimmed through it and I don't think you had these references:

I did a search for the names Massimov and Wales with Cyrillic, and got these articles:


http://news.headline.kz/mneniya_i_komme ... simov.html
Rebuttal of the Examiner piece

http://www.respublika-kaz.biz/news/tribune/9969/
Long interview Respublika (opposition paper) makes with Wales in which he claims WikiBilim is an independent organization and which in any event belongs to Wikimedia as apparently all Wikipedias in all languages do.


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Catfitz wrote:
Sorry if I'm repeating something that was already covered in this long thread. I've skimmed through it and I don't think you had these references:

I did a search for the names Massimov and Wales with Cyrillic, and got these articles:


http://news.headline.kz/mneniya_i_komme ... simov.html
Rebuttal of the Examiner piece

http://www.respublika-kaz.biz/news/tribune/9969/
Long interview Respublika (opposition paper) makes with Wales in which he claims WikiBilim is an independent organization and which in any event belongs to Wikimedia as apparently all Wikipedias in all languages do.

Thanks. Relying on Google Translate, it sounds like the Respublika Editors didn't buy Wales' line, and understood very well what was going on.
Quote:
However the official media in Kazakhstan disseminate information about the projects of public fund Wikibilim performed under the auspices of the presidential administration, Karim Massimov. You know about this?
- Kazakh-Wikipedia is wholly owned and operated by Foundation Wikimedia, which is located in California, in the United States, and is not under the control or patronage Karim Massimov in any shape or form. He's only publicly praised the project, which to me is completely normal, and that I, of course, no way I can not control!
And what about the fact that the header Wikibilim says the opposite? At the top of the site clearly states that the projects are carried out under the auspices of the fund Karim Massimov.
- Wikibilim - it is absolutely independent. They do not control and do not control the Kazakh-Wikipedia. Wikibilim received support from the institution of the "Open Society" and Radio Free Europe. Grant of "Samruk-Kazyna" fund was issued without any obligations to the Wikipedia content (which Wikibilim in any case does not control).


The final section seems to say that Wales is only the latest in a long line of Westerners Kazakhstan has co-opted. Could you improve on the Google Translate mess, Catfitz?
Quote:
From the Editors
Recall that Acorda never regretted money for "dusting off the nose" for the western society. It is known that the government of Kazakhstan is almost openly supported morally and financially so-called friends of Kazakhstan among politicians (current and retired) in the U.S., Germany, Poland and Italy. In exchange for this assistance "friends" touted Nazarbayev and his policies at home and work "wedding generals" on various inspirational events held in the country, giving them the appearance of planetary scale events.
In recent years, all records of the "friends" beat former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who officially receives millions for abstract advice, but in reality it helps Kazakh authorities "sort out" numerous problems. Since there are more and more trouble, we can assume that Tony Blair permanently employed.
In addition, Astana regularly pays western journalists for articles about a prosperous democratic Kazakhstan. Image Film about a young country are in the air leading TV channels of the world. Only the Internet until recently did not fall under close attention Kazakh officials. But then the situation changed technologically advanced Karim Massimov - is with him in the government of the idea of ​​a Kazakh Wikipedia. Of course, honor and praise to Jimmy Wales, if he could not resist the temptation, to which many could not resist the powerful. But something tells us that this scandal is to be continued.


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
A slightly better translation here http://www.logicmuseum.com/x/index.php? ... March_2013

Apparently the sovereign wealth fund "Samruk-Kazyna" is written 'SamKa' in Russian, which also means 'female', hence Google translator got terribly confused.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
I'm having another Jimmy moment.

Quote:
Wikimedia Foundation is not supported in any form by the Government of Kazakhstan.


Quote:
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, was impressed by the achievement, thanked the Kazakh government for contributing [i]and supporting[i/] the project and accepted the Kazakh Ambassador to the US’s invitation to visit the country".


Perhaps he means that the Wikimedia Foundation, the one in San Francisco, is not supported by the Kazakh government, even if the bit in Kazakhstan is?

Looking at the interview, he is still taking the line that Wikibilim is independent of the Kz Wikipedia, even though it is been pointed out many times that Wikibilim members are administrators, bureaucrats etc.

[edit] I'm getting so confused. The Wikibilim website says that Wikibilim 'adminstrates' the Kazakh Wikipedia

Quote:
Kazakh Wikipedia started in 2002, however the number of editors and articles were very low. In order to increase the attention of society and especially young generation of internet users Wikibilim started to administrate Kazakh Wikipedia.
http://wikibilim.kz/index.php/english/about-foundtion


Yet Jimmy in his interview http://www.logicmuseum.com/x/index.php? ... March_2013 says that they don't operate or control the Kazakh-Wikipedia. Perhaps there is a translation problem here?
Quote:
Wikibilim is absolutely independent. They do not operate [?] and do not control the Kazakh-Wikipedia.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
HRIP7 wrote:
Quote:
From the Editors
Recall that Acorda never regretted money for "dusting off the nose" for the western society.


Acorda is the house of the president, figuratively 'the government'. 'Dusting the nose' should be 'powdering the nose'. Thus, the government does not regret the money it pays to PR advisors, Blair etc, in order to powder its nose, i.e. look glamorous and nice and no nasty spots and pimples, to the West. Hah.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Peter Damian wrote:
Perhaps there is a translation problem here?

No, just the usual Jimmy-is-lying problem.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
thekohser wrote:
Peter Damian wrote:
Perhaps there is a translation problem here?

No, just the usual Jimmy-is-lying problem.

Occam's Razor


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Vigilant wrote:
thekohser wrote:
Peter Damian wrote:
Perhaps there is a translation problem here?

No, just the usual Jimmy-is-lying problem.

Occam's Razor

Jimbo's Bludgeon. Frequently mishandled.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
EricBarbour wrote:
Jimbo's Bludgeon. Frequently mishandled.

Is "Bludgeon" a euphemism for something? :evilgrin:

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
EricBarbour wrote:
Vigilant wrote:
thekohser wrote:
Peter Damian wrote:
Perhaps there is a translation problem here?

No, just the usual Jimmy-is-lying problem.

Occam's Razor

Jimbo's Bludgeon. Frequently mishandled.

"Mishandling" it is how you get suspicious stains on TShirts?


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
I find it difficult to understand Jimmy Wales. Can he really be as stupid as he appears to be?


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Malleus wrote:
I find it difficult to understand Jimmy Wales. Can he really be as stupid as he appears to be?

He can't be.
Denied by physics.
He'd be unable to exchange gasses without external assistance if it were so.


Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:16 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Vigilant wrote:
Malleus wrote:
I find it difficult to understand Jimmy Wales. Can he really be as stupid as he appears to be?

He can't be.
Denied by physics.
He'd be unable to exchange gasses without external assistance if it were so.

The cause is Jimbo's sticky web of contradictions and misstatements. The only way out for him is to appear clueless about a portion of the mess.
It's like a dumbed-down version of the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field (T-H-L).

I call it Jimbo's Flounder Pit.

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Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:03 am
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Peter Damian wrote:
I'm getting so confused. The Wikibilim website says that Wikibilim 'adminstrates' the Kazakh Wikipedia

Quote:
Kazakh Wikipedia started in 2002, however the number of editors and articles were very low. In order to increase the attention of society and especially young generation of internet users Wikibilim started to administrate Kazakh Wikipedia.
http://wikibilim.kz/index.php/english/about-foundtion


Yet Jimmy in his interview http://www.logicmuseum.com/x/index.php? ... March_2013 says that they don't operate or control the Kazakh-Wikipedia. Perhaps there is a translation problem here?
Quote:
Wikibilim is absolutely independent. They do not operate [?] and do not control the Kazakh-Wikipedia.

Well, it's remarkable that he doesn't criticise WikiBilim for making that statement (with Massimov's picture proudly displayed in the page's header). In the discussions on his talk page on Wikipedia, he has always maintained, and still maintains, that WikiBilim are apolitical free culture enthusiasts, "just like you".

Well, most Wikipedians do not have funding from an oil-rich authoritarian government, and do not have a website announcing to the world that their organisation performs its duties under the patronage of the president's chief of staff, and former prime minister.

Of course, what WikiBilim are saying is also true in a way: their project manager, Ashina, became a bureaucrat on the Kazakh Wikipedia, able to appoint other users as administrators, soon after WikiBilim was founded. Potentially that gives him a key role in administering the site, because the Kazakh Wikipedia only has two bureaucrats with the permissions to appoint ordinary administrators, and we all know – because the Wikimedia Foundation is so fond of saying it – that the Wikimedia Foundation takes no active role in everyday site governance.

This is once more a case of Wales wanting it both ways: when it suits him, he says that the Wikimedia Foundation administers Wikipedia; when it doesn't, he says that it's the community that administers Wikipedia, while the Wikimedia Foundation sticks to a strictly hands-off approach. He is really exploiting the public's confusion about the matter. The public does not understand that the Wikimedia Foundation generally leaves the generation, deletion, alteration and administration of content entirely in the hands of the "community" (incl. people like WikiBilim), and only intervenes when there is a legal requirement for them as site operators to do so (e.g. DMCA takedown notices, removing child pornography, etc.).

(The other Kazakh Wikipedia bureaucrat dated back to the Kazakh Wikipedia's early years and was almost inactive by the time WikiBilim was established, though he stuck around and made thousands of edits in 2011, when the government-sponsored expansion was happening.)


Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:23 am
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
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Wikipedia is non-profit, but it's the #5 website in the world. With 450 million monthly users, we have costs like any top site: servers, power, rent, programs, staff and legal help.
To protect our independence, we'll never run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations: $5 is the most common, the average is about $30.
If everyone reading this gave $5, our fundraiser would be done within an hour. Please help us forget fundraising and get back to Wikipedia.

Wikipedia 2012 fundraising banner.


Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:09 am
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
HRIP7 wrote:
(The other Kazakh Wikipedia bureaucrat dated back to the Kazakh Wikipedia's early years and was almost inactive by the time WikiBilim was established, though he stuck around and made thousands of edits in 2011, when the government-sponsored expansion was happening.)


The other Kazakh wikipedia bureaucrat, GaiJin (T-C-L), edits enwiki. Based on most of his edits, he probably attends Osaka University and is associated with the Institute for Laser Engineering.

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Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:10 am
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Another Kazakh press article that appeared last week, about how the Kazakh Wikipedia has been developed by WikiBilim, under the patronage of the head of the Kazakh president's administration.

Quote:
Project of Kazakh language section development in Wikipedia is developed in Kazakhstan

The first day of the WORLDDIDAC Astana 2013 exhibition where 24 countries of the world, and also the domestic companies exposed the projects in the sphere of innovative projects of education participated came to the end today in Astana. One of them is public fund WikiBilim, BNews.kz correspondent reports.

"The public fund WikiBilim works in Kazakhstan about 2 years, a main objective - development of Kazakh language content in the Internet. We develop some projects for content development. One of the biggest and known is Wikipedia in the Kazakh language - development of the Kazakh language section in the Wikipedia global Encyclopedia. Now there over 200,000 articles are collected and the list daily replenishes," the coordinator of the fund Almaz Nurbakhytov said.

The Wikibilim project is realized under patronage of the head of Administration of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov.

According to the representative of the fund, the second project is an open library of Kazakhstan "Ikitap.kz where over four thousand works of the Kazakhstan and world authors are collected today.


Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:48 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Wales has replied. It sounds like the Kazakhstan visit is still on, including the meetings with politicians. From Wales's talk page:
Quote:
Jimmy, could you please communicate clearly when you became aware of Ting Chen's participation in the Kazakh press conference on June 16, 2011? Then, could you also specify when you become aware that the Samruk-Kazyna Foundation also participated in that press conference? Several people have been curious about the timing of the press conference and the subsequent award of the Wikipedian of the Year prize to a former Kazakh government official in August 2011. Lastly, could you confirm that the Wikipedian of the Year honor included a $5,000 contribution to Rauan Kenzhekhanuly, paid from your own personal resources? And, was that money actually received by Kenzhekhanuly? Thank you for considering and answering these questions. - 2001:558:1400:10:8008:3684:A1BD:682F (talk) 14:20, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Since when did the User talk:Jimbo Wales page become question time? Drop this ridiculousness.97.88.87.68 (talk) 18:38, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Maybe since Wales moved to England and has always described his role on Wikipedia as a parliamentarian monarch? It's not ridiculous. They are simple questions, and their answers would help to resolve some of the cognitive dissonance surrounding Wales' support of the Kazakh Wikipedia project. - 2001:558:1400:10:8008:3684:A1BD:682F (talk) 20:54, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

You are asking the wrong questions. The right question is this: "Knowing what you know now, would you still make the award of Wikipedian of the Year to Rauan?" And the answer is "Yes". Perhaps if you could give me some indication of what the hell it is you are driving at, I'd be more inclined to research your specific questions, but I do not understand the point. I don't remember when I became aware of Ting's participation - I'd have to dig that up. I can tell you that the press conference and Ting's visit had no bearing at all on my decision to award Rauan, who richly deserved it. So the timing of the press conference and my awareness of it, is entirely irrelevant. And no, the actual money has not been transferred yet, as the concept has always been that I'd do it ceremonially when I go to Kazakhstan, which I've not managed yet.

There is no need for cognitive dissonance here. I strongly support efforts to bring freedom of speech and a neutral high quality encyclopedia to Kazakhstan. I think that the Kazakh government has a very poor track record in this area. I think it unfortunate that Wikibilim (which is an independent organization not even remotely under my control) accepted funding from the Samruk-Kazyna Foundation, and yet I am glad that the funding came with absolutely no strings attached, and that Wikibilim has good policies in place to avoid editing Wikipedia in an official capacity. I'm glad they have taken the old official encyclopedia (which is most assuredly biased and flawed in deep ways) and gotten it under a free license in an open project so that it can be updated. What they do, 2 of their 25 employees, is hold seminars and training sessions to encourage more people to edit Wikipedia. The rest of their work has nothing to do with Wikipedia but has to do with bringing more information online in the Kazakh language.

I do not wish to be seen as naive or as claiming that everything is perfect in the Kazakh language Wikipedia. They have their problems and controversies as all languages do. When I do visit Kazakhstan, I'll meet with representatives of the government (as I have done in many countries including Russia, China, France, the US, the UK, etc.) and press them on issues of freedom of speech. I'll meet with the Wikipedians to hear their personal stories about editing Wikipedia.

I encourage people to talk to Rauan about whatever concerns you, as well. He speaks perfectly good English.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:22, 22 April 2013 (UTC)


Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:38 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
The man is either naive, or pretends to be. So he thinks the bad government will put the bad government's bad encyclopedia out there on Wikipedia, so that the good volunteers, organised by Rauan, whose organisation is funded by and under the patronage of the bad government, and who has spent practically his entire adult life working as a "propaganda flack" (as one press article memorably put it) for the bad government, can do what the bad government, one of the 20 most censorious in the world, would hate the most: write a neutral, uncensored encyclopedia. :finger: :scream:

How stupid does he think the government of Kazakhstan is? Would they underwrite and promote the effort if they thought there was any risk at all of that happening? Would they be so oppressively in control and present on the project, advertising their patronage and funding of the Kazakh Wikipedia at every opportunity, if there were any chance of the Kazakh Wikipedia developing independently of the government as a free cititzens' project?

I wonder whether Jimbo's mates Blair, Campbell etc. gave the Kazakhs a good briefing on how best to approach Wales, and how best to butter him up ...
Quote:
And no, the actual money has not been transferred yet, as the concept has always been that I'd do it ceremonially when I go to Kazakhstan, which I've not managed yet.

This is lovely. So two years later, Rauan still does not have the money, which was advertised by Wikimedia as a prize meant to enable Rauan to attend Wikimania 2012 in Washington. Well, it seems he did not need Jimmy's money to make it to Washington, having either had enough of his own, or perhaps had his journey paid for by his government "patron".

And Jimbo still wants to have a photo-op ceremony, which I am sure will be attended by various Kazakh dignitaries ... because that is the sort of thing that happens when citizen encyclopedists working under an oppressive regime defy censorship: the government's ministers turn up in their uniforms to clap. Way to go, Jimbo!


Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:03 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
He is such a tool. He absolutely cannot answer the questions as they were asked (other than the one about the money -- which is exactly as I expected... he welched on the funds), because the answers will embarrass him. He awarded his prize to a autocratic shill, not having done any research on what he was doing, nor having any idea that the WMF and Samruk-Kazyna were joined at the hip bone named Ting Chen.

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Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:04 am WWW
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
thekohser wrote:
He is such a tool. He absolutely cannot answer the questions as they were asked (other than the one about the money -- which is exactly as I expected... he welched on the funds), because the answers will embarrass him. He awarded his prize to a autocratic shill, not having done any research on what he was doing, nor having any idea that the WMF and Samruk-Kazyna were joined at the hip bone named Ting Chen.

So, does he come through with the funds on his ever postponed trip to Kazakhstan or does he leave himself akimbo on the horns of his latest dilemma?


Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:43 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
Here is another take on the announcement that kicked off this thread. I missed this one at the time:

Bnews.kz, 19 December 2012: Wikipedia founder to hold a public lecture in Kazakhstan in 2013
Quote:
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales will hold a public lecture in Kazakhstan in 2013,the Head of the Public Fund «WikiBilim» Rauan Kenzhekhanuly said during a press conference in Astana.

"We hoped that this year the founder of Wikipedia would visit Kazakhstan, but, unfortunately, due to the very busy schedule he had to postpone the event. We hope to organize this event next year. We would like him to hold several public lectures on the modern Internet, content, talk about developing the other parts of Wikipedia. Because the modern Internet is such a large area, where, ​​in fact, the languages are competing, there is no borders and the only tool of a large network segmentation is the language," the Head of "WikiBilim" said.

He noted that the visit of Wales to Kazakhstan is planned several times.

"Unfortunately, the meetings were postponed twice: once we asked to delay, then he asked about it. But I think that we are organizing a visit for next year," Kenzhekhanuly added.
I wonder whether such a visit to Kazakhstan might be lucrative for Wales. Wales earns his living as a public speaker, doesn't he?
Seth Finkelstein wrote:
[Interviewer] Do you draw down a salary from Wikipedia?

[Jimmy Wales] No. I don't get any salary. In fact, I don't even get reimbursed for my expenses. It's my charity work. I'm pretty insistent about that.

That salary statement is true as far as it goes. One can see that he indeed doesn't get any salary. However, the Jimmy Wales Speaker's Fee is now at: "FEE CATEGORY: Above 75.0k" [update 1/2010 - now 50.k - 75.0k]

Somehow, that doesn't feel like "charity work" to me. I actually wouldn't mind so much if he said something like "No, I don't take any money out of the Wikimedia Foundation, since it's a nonprofit, which could pay chump-change anyway. Instead, I fleece executives who have far more money than sense, and are crazy enough to pay me tens of thousands of dollars to spout buzzwords and blather. What do you think, that I'm some sort of silly *altruist*?" (of course, more elegantly phrased). There would still be a problem of it being built on exploitation. But it's the "charity work" part which strikes me as wrong. Nothing which results in one gig paying more than the entire salary of the person in charge of keeping the site running, can fairly be described as "charity work".


Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:43 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia founder to visit Kazakhstan in 2013
thekohser wrote:
... WMF and Samruk-Kazyna were joined at the hip bone named Ting Chen.
... who, incidentally, is now offering to continue as Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director when Sue Gardner's position becomes vacant, as the Examiner reports. :evilgrin:

Mind you, Ting strikes me as a guileless person.


Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:44 pm
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