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Multiple potential threats to Wikipedia's survival, accessibility, reach, overall quality and span of content and persistence have been identified.


Reasons for concernEdit

No matter how small the chances are that any other method than government censorship will be used against Wikipedia it's worth time and efforts to also take other methods into consideration and protect against these before any such occur.

Considering the rise of the information society/age, information warfare and the reach and depth of Wikipedia many − from governments to special interest groups and corporations − have an issue with Wikipedia opening up neutral knowledge and information that they'd like to suppress to the public. And hence we should make sure to protect all forms of potential threats and improve Wikipedia's resilience besides fighting current censorship of Wikipedia mainly by China.

However the availability of Wikipedia as a free, full download makes it near impossible to fully destroy the site.

Indirect threatsEdit

  1. Google and other web-services often directly display or otherwise present data that they fetch from Wikipedia which may lead to some users not visiting the Wikipedia page (where they might discover other information that goes beyond what they originally looked for but is of interest to them) which may or may not be considered an issue
    • Proposed countermeasures or solutions: Google and other sites could display a visible button "read the full Wikipedia page" or alike next to that data so that at least if one would be interested in some more info one could easily and quickly get to the appropriate article (as of right now Google seems to do this for the most part), other tools and services that for instance read snippets of Wikipedia articles could have commands built in to somehow open the Wikipedia page on their display or some linked device or 'tell me more' for reading the entire page (or its table of contents), Knowledge Engine (Wikimedia Foundation)
  2. (Maliciously altered) forks of Wikipedia
    • Proposed countermeasures or solutions:
  3. Competitor encyclopedias and services (see also: Quora)
    • Proposed countermeasures or solutions: identify them and see what they're making different and why people like to use them and discuss potential changes or extensions
  4. Changes to search engine algorithms (mainly PageRank) that disadvantage Wikipedia results (See also: search neutrality)
    • Proposed countermeasures or solutions:
  5. Increased usage of potential or current search engines that disadvantage Wikipedia results
    • Proposed countermeasures or solutions:
  6. Non-governmental / non-nation-wide censorship of Wikipedia (e.g. by companies)
    • Proposed countermeasures or solutions:
  7. Discreditation campaigns and deterioration of Wikipedia's public image
  8. Censorship within Wikipedia by ill-intentioned administrators or via direct or indirect government control
    • Proposed countermeasures or solutions:
  9. Incompetence of the WMF (e.g. causing overspending)
    • Proposed countermeasures or solutions:
  10. Policies becoming inflexible or not adapting to new realities
    • Proposed countermeasures or solutions:
  11. Targeted attacks against individual or groups of Wikipedia editors (such as harassment, hacking, social undermining, blackmailing and kompromat and account-takeovers)
  12. Targeted manipulation of Wikipedia editors and admins
    • Proposed countermeasures or solutions: more decentralization,
  13. Quality decline (e.g. by online marketing, paid editing, Internet trolls, widespread use of bad journalistic research in WP:RS, or hard-to-detect vandalism)
    • Proposed countermeasures or solutions:
  14. Spamming and Internet bots inserting malicious content (See also: Wikipedia:Spam & Wikipedia:Vandalism)
    • Proposed countermeasures or solutions:
  15. Laws and similar measures that damage Wikipedia and/or make it significantly harder to maintain it (See also: Wikipedia:EU copyright reform, Wikipedia:SOPA initiative)
    • Proposed countermeasures or solutions: lobbying, Wikipedia-blackout
  16. Debates getting undermined via non- or semi-substantial arguments and sheer number of voters (See also: WP:DEM)
    • Proposed countermeasures or solutions: linking voters to their arguments and linking these to counterarguments and having internal decision makers pay closer attention to such argumentation-chains, identifying canvassing & manipulators,

Direct threatsEdit

  1. Government censorship of Wikipedia (may come with demands of changes to Wikipedia / Wikipedia content) (See also: Help:Censorship)
    • Proposed countermeasures or solutions: political engagement, improving anonymous / censorship-resistant access-methods (such as creating a Tor .onion-site or an I2P eepsite and allowing VPN write access), meshnet, actively distributing Wikipedia, categorically declining any requests made via censorship-blackmailing
  2. DDoS attacks
  3. Targeted hacking attacks against Wikipedia's technical infrastructure
  4. Finances
  5. Willful physical destruction
  6. Natural disasters

Proposed contemporary conductEdit

Considering the current state of threats and countermeasures it is proposed that for an adequate response Wikipedia:

  1. Proactively distributes its database downloads (e.g. by raising awareness about them), including making them available as torrents
  2. Makes sure that its database downloads are complete and could potentially be used to reestablish the site without any missing data (such as metadata)
  3. Makes sure that a reestablishment of the site would also work out in practice and publishes information on how to do so if any such isn't yet available
  4. Monitors the search algorithms of major search engines − not just Google
  5. Continues its fight against current and potential censorship and researches new existing, effective ways for doing so
  6. Continues awareness campaigns about what Wikipedia is and responds to criticism from both internal and external sources
  7. Makes effective attempts to recruit more security developers to improve its cybersecurity

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit