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Letter to the community on Controversial Content

 

 

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tchen at wikimedia

Oct 9, 2011, 5:55 AM

Post #1 of 236 (2437 views)
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Letter to the community on Controversial Content

Dear Wikimedia community,

First, I want to thank the 24,000 editors who participated in the
Wikimedia Foundation's referendum on the proposed personal image hiding
feature. We are particularly grateful to the nearly seven thousand
people who took the time to write in detailed and thoughtful comments.
Thank you.

Although the Board did not commission the referendum (it was
commissioned by our Executive Director), we have read the results and
followed the discussions afterwards with great interest. We discussed
them at our Board meeting in San Francisco, in October. We are
listening, and we are hearing you.

The referendum results show that there is significant division inside
the Wikimedia community about the potential value and impact of an image
hiding feature.

The majority of editors who responded to the referendum are not opposed
to the feature. However, a significant minority is opposed. Some of
those people say there is no problem, and that anyone who is offended is
wrong and should be ignored. Some say that regardless of whether there
is a problem, it's not ours to solve: our job is to make knowledge
available to everyone, not to participate in screening or filtering it.
And some say that even if there is a problem, a category-based image
hiding feature is the wrong solution, because it would enable censorship
by third parties, and would also create significant new work for editors
in creating and maintaining categories. Some of you say these are
editorial issues, and the Wikimedia Foundation has no business being
involved with them.

I, and the other Board members, and Sue, are paying attention to what
you've told us.

We believe there is a problem. The purpose of the Wikimedia movement is
to make information freely available to people all around the world, and
when material on the projects causes grave offence, those offended don't
benefit from our work. We believe that exercising editorial judgment to
mitigate that offence is not censorship. We believe we need, and should
want, to treat readers with respect. Their opinions and preferences are
as legitimate as our own, and deliberately offending or provoking them
is not respectful, and is not okay.

We are not going to revisit the resolution from May, for the moment: we
let that resolution stand unchanged.

But, we are asking Sue and the staff to continue the conversation with
editors, and to find a solution that strikes the best balance between
serving our readers, empowering and supporting editors, and dedicating
an appropriate amount of effort to the problem. I believe that is
possible within the language of the resolution the Board already passed,
which leaves open most details of how implementation should be achieved.

We realize this is an important issue for the Wikimedia movement, and in
many ways it goes to the heart of who we are. I think church.of.emacs
expressed this fairly well on foundation-l, when he described this as a
conflict between two visions of our work: “a project of pure
enlightenment, which ignores the biased/prejudiced reader and accepts
the resulting limited distribution” versus “a project of praxis, which
seeks a balance between the goals of enlightenment and the reader's
interests, aiming at a high distribution.” I would quibble with some of
his choice of words, but I agree with the general gist of what he said.

I believe we can find an answer that is right for us. I ask you to work
with us, to do that.

Sincerely,
Ting Chen

--
Ting Chen
Member of the Board of Trustees
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
E-Mail: tchen [at] wikimedia


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thomas.dalton at gmail

Oct 9, 2011, 6:18 AM

Post #2 of 236 (2411 views)
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Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

On 9 October 2011 13:55, Ting Chen <tchen [at] wikimedia> wrote:
> The majority of editors who responded to the referendum are not opposed
> to the feature. However, a significant minority is opposed.

How do you know? The "referendum" didn't ask whether people were opposed or not.

> We are not going to revisit the resolution from May, for the moment: we
> let that resolution stand unchanged.
>
> But, we are asking Sue and the staff to continue the conversation with
> editors, and to find a solution that strikes the best balance between
> serving our readers, empowering and supporting editors, and dedicating
> an appropriate amount of effort to the problem. I believe that is
> possible within the language of the resolution the Board already passed,
> which leaves open most details of how implementation should be achieved.

You haven't commented on the votes that have taken place on the German
and French Wikipedias that show a very large majority opposed to the
feature on those projects (I believe the German one creates binding
policy on that project although the French one doesn't). Your original
resolution doesn't go into any details about whether the feature
should be forced upon individual projects that clearly don't want it.
What are you views, and the views of the board, on that issue?

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dgerard at gmail

Oct 9, 2011, 6:22 AM

Post #3 of 236 (2401 views)
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Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

On 9 October 2011 14:18, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton [at] gmail> wrote:
> On 9 October 2011 13:55, Ting Chen <tchen [at] wikimedia> wrote:

>> The majority of editors who responded to the referendum are not opposed
>> to the feature. However, a significant minority is opposed.

> How do you know? The "referendum" didn't ask whether people were opposed or not.


I fear this point will need restating every time someone claims the
"referendum" shows support.

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church.of.emacs.ml at googlemail

Oct 9, 2011, 6:43 AM

Post #4 of 236 (2407 views)
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Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

Hi Ting,

one simple question: Is the Wikimedia Foundation going to enable the
image filter on _all_ projects, disregarding consensus by local
communities of rejecting the image filter? (E.g. German Wikipedia)

We are currently in a very unpleasant situation of uncertainty. Tensions
in the community are extremely high (too high, if you ask me, but
Wikimedians are emotional people), speculations and rumors about what
WMF is going to do prevail.
A clear statement would help our discussion process.

Regards,
Tobias / User:Church of emacs
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betienne at bellaliant

Oct 9, 2011, 6:49 AM

Post #5 of 236 (2408 views)
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Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

I was thinking about that too. So what? --Ebe123


On 11-10-09 10:43 AM, "church.of.emacs.ml"
<church.of.emacs.ml [at] googlemail> wrote:

> Hi Ting,
>
> one simple question: Is the Wikimedia Foundation going to enable the
> image filter on _all_ projects, disregarding consensus by local
> communities of rejecting the image filter? (E.g. German Wikipedia)
>
> We are currently in a very unpleasant situation of uncertainty. Tensions
> in the community are extremely high (too high, if you ask me, but
> Wikimedians are emotional people), speculations and rumors about what
> WMF is going to do prevail.
> A clear statement would help our discussion process.
>
> Regards,
> Tobias / User:Church of emacs
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l [at] lists
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l



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wing.philopp at gmx

Oct 9, 2011, 7:12 AM

Post #6 of 236 (2397 views)
Permalink
Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

Hello Tobias,

the text of the May resolution to this question is "... and that the
feature be visible, clear and usable on all Wikimedia projects for both
logged-in and logged-out readers", and on the current board meeting we
decided to not ammend the original resolution.

Greetings
Ting

Am 09.10.2011 15:43, schrieb church.of.emacs.ml:
> Hi Ting,
>
> one simple question: Is the Wikimedia Foundation going to enable the
> image filter on _all_ projects, disregarding consensus by local
> communities of rejecting the image filter? (E.g. German Wikipedia)
>
> We are currently in a very unpleasant situation of uncertainty. Tensions
> in the community are extremely high (too high, if you ask me, but
> Wikimedians are emotional people), speculations and rumors about what
> WMF is going to do prevail.
> A clear statement would help our discussion process.
>
> Regards,
> Tobias / User:Church of emacs
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l [at] lists
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l


--
Ting

Ting's Blog: http://wingphilopp.blogspot.com/

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anneke.wolf at gmx

Oct 9, 2011, 7:35 AM

Post #7 of 236 (2408 views)
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Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gewalt

Anneke

Am 09.10.2011 um 16:12 schrieb Ting Chen:

> Hello Tobias,
>
> the text of the May resolution to this question is "... and that the
> feature be visible, clear and usable on all Wikimedia projects for
> both
> logged-in and logged-out readers", and on the current board meeting we
> decided to not ammend the original resolution.
>
> Greetings
> Ting
>
> Am 09.10.2011 15:43, schrieb church.of.emacs.ml:
>> Hi Ting,
>>
>> one simple question: Is the Wikimedia Foundation going to enable the
>> image filter on _all_ projects, disregarding consensus by local
>> communities of rejecting the image filter? (E.g. German Wikipedia)
>>
>> We are currently in a very unpleasant situation of uncertainty.
>> Tensions
>> in the community are extremely high (too high, if you ask me, but
>> Wikimedians are emotional people), speculations and rumors about what
>> WMF is going to do prevail.
>> A clear statement would help our discussion process.
>>
>> Regards,
>> Tobias / User:Church of emacs
>>
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> foundation-l mailing list
>> foundation-l [at] lists
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/
>> foundation-l
>
>
> --
> Ting
>
> Ting's Blog: http://wingphilopp.blogspot.com/
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l [at] lists
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l


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de10011 at gmail

Oct 9, 2011, 7:47 AM

Post #8 of 236 (2401 views)
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Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

On Sun, Oct 9, 2011 at 7:42 PM, Ting Chen <wing.philopp [at] gmx> wrote:

> Hello Tobias,
>
> the text of the May resolution to this question is "... and that the
> feature be visible, clear and usable on all Wikimedia projects for both
> logged-in and logged-out readers", and on the current board meeting we
> decided to not ammend the original resolution.
>
>
So nothing changed since before the reaction and referendums?

I really don't see the point of making statement in complete or
partial ambiguity from the board. If I read the last email correctly, the
board acknowledged some of the things that were said but nothing will change
from the original resolution?

Regards
Theo
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thomas.dalton at gmail

Oct 9, 2011, 7:56 AM

Post #9 of 236 (2416 views)
Permalink
Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

On 9 October 2011 15:12, Ting Chen <wing.philopp [at] gmx> wrote:
> the text of the May resolution to this question is "... and that the
> feature be visible, clear and usable on all Wikimedia projects for both
> logged-in and logged-out readers", and on the current board meeting we
> decided to not ammend the original resolution.

So you do intend to force this on projects that don't want it? Do you
really think that's going to work? If the WMF picks a fight with the
community on something the community feel very strongly about (which
this certainly seems to be), the WMF will lose horribly and the
fall-out for the whole movement will be very bad indeed.

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julius.redzinski at hotmail

Oct 9, 2011, 8:00 AM

Post #10 of 236 (2401 views)
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Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

That can just mean an italian solution. The Board is ignorant against the community needs and wishes, while the Foundation was just some month ago, so caring about the editors and to keep them happy and contributing to the projects. If the filter should get forced on a project that voted against it, then there can be just a strike the solution. Even Bunga Bunga Silvio is not as igorant as our Foundation and Board.

Ting and the others, leave the Board. You are not anymore taking care of the interests of Wikipedia, but of expanding palns that never were discussed with those who mainly write the Wikipedia.

Julius Redzinski (de:Julius1990)

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church.of.emacs.ml at googlemail

Oct 9, 2011, 8:31 AM

Post #11 of 236 (2405 views)
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Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

On 10/09/2011 04:56 PM, Thomas Dalton wrote:
> If the WMF picks a fight with the community on something the
> community feel very strongly about (which this certainly seems to
> be), the WMF will lose horribly and the fall-out for the whole
> movement will be very bad indeed.

+1.

(And I say that, not being opposed to the image filter itself)

-- Tobias
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thomas.dalton at gmail

Oct 9, 2011, 8:50 AM

Post #12 of 236 (2410 views)
Permalink
Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

On 9 October 2011 16:31, church.of.emacs.ml
<church.of.emacs.ml [at] googlemail> wrote:
> On 10/09/2011 04:56 PM, Thomas Dalton wrote:
>> If the WMF picks a fight with the community on something the
>> community feel very strongly about (which this certainly seems to
>> be), the WMF will lose horribly and the fall-out for the whole
>> movement will be very bad indeed.
>
> +1.
>
> (And I say that, not being opposed to the image filter itself)

Indeed. I'm not in against the filter. In fact, I'm very much in
favour of it. I am, however, very much against civil war.

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z at mzmcbride

Oct 9, 2011, 9:10 AM

Post #13 of 236 (2410 views)
Permalink
Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

David Gerard wrote:
> On 9 October 2011 14:18, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton [at] gmail> wrote:
>> On 9 October 2011 13:55, Ting Chen <tchen [at] wikimedia> wrote:
>>> The majority of editors who responded to the referendum are not opposed
>>> to the feature. However, a significant minority is opposed.
>>
>> How do you know? The "referendum" didn't ask whether people were opposed or
>> not.
>
> I fear this point will need restating every time someone claims the
> "referendum" shows support.

I wonder what the image filter referendum results would have had to look
like in order to get anything other than a rambling "we march forward,
unabated!" letter from the Board.

MZMcBride



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valdelli at gmail

Oct 9, 2011, 9:14 AM

Post #14 of 236 (2407 views)
Permalink
Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

On 09.10.2011 17:00, Julius Redzinski wrote:
> That can just mean an italian solution. The Board is ignorant against the community needs and wishes, while the Foundation was just some month ago, so caring about the editors and to keep them happy and contributing to the projects. If the filter should get forced on a project that voted against it, then there can be just a strike the solution. Even Bunga Bunga Silvio is not as igorant as our Foundation and Board.
>
> Ting and the others, leave the Board. You are not anymore taking care of the interests of Wikipedia, but of expanding palns that never were discussed with those who mainly write the Wikipedia.
>
> Julius Redzinski (de:Julius1990)
>

It's interesting to see that mr.Bunga Bunga Silvio has the same behavior
as you have to solve conflicts.


Ilario

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nawrich at gmail

Oct 9, 2011, 9:18 AM

Post #15 of 236 (2407 views)
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Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

I could probably look this up and find out, but can anyone tell me
when the next Board election will be?

Nathan

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sgardner at wikimedia

Oct 9, 2011, 9:19 AM

Post #16 of 236 (2416 views)
Permalink
Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

On 9 October 2011 08:50, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton [at] gmail> wrote:
> On 9 October 2011 16:31, church.of.emacs.ml
> <church.of.emacs.ml [at] googlemail> wrote:
>> On 10/09/2011 04:56 PM, Thomas Dalton wrote:
>>> If the WMF picks a fight with the community on something the
>>> community feel very strongly about (which this certainly seems to
>>> be), the WMF will lose horribly and the fall-out for the whole
>>> movement will be very bad indeed.
>>
>> +1.
>>
>> (And I say that, not being opposed to the image filter itself)
>
> Indeed. I'm not in against the filter. In fact, I'm very much in
> favour of it. I am, however, very much against civil war.

Nobody wants civil war.

Please read Ting's note carefully. The Board is asking me to work with
the community to develop a solution that meets the original
requirements as laid out in its resolution. It is asking me to do
something. But it is not asking me to do the specific thing that has
been discussed over the past several months, and which the Germans
voted against.

The Board is hoping there is a solution that will 1) enable readers to
easily hide images they don't want to see, as laid out in the Board's
resolution [1], while 2) being generally acceptable to editors. Maybe
this will not be possible, but it's the goal. The Board definitely
does not want a war with the community, and it does not want people to
fork or leave the projects. The goal is a solution that's acceptable
for everyone.

Thanks,
Sue

[1] http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Controversial_content
--

Sue Gardner
Executive Director
Wikimedia Foundation

415 839 6885 office
415 816 9967 cell

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge.  Help us make it a reality!

http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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thomas.dalton at gmail

Oct 9, 2011, 9:31 AM

Post #17 of 236 (2400 views)
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Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

On 9 October 2011 17:19, Sue Gardner <sgardner [at] wikimedia> wrote:
> Nobody wants civil war.

I'm sure they don't actively want one, but it seems the board do
consider one an acceptable cost.

> Please read Ting's note carefully. The Board is asking me to work with
> the community to develop a solution that meets the original
> requirements as laid out in its resolution. It is asking me to do
> something. But it is not asking me to do the specific thing that has
> been discussed over the past several months, and which the Germans
> voted against.
>
> The Board is hoping there is a solution that will 1) enable readers to
> easily hide images they don't want to see, as laid out in the Board's
> resolution [1], while 2) being generally acceptable to editors. Maybe
> this will not be possible, but it's the goal. The Board definitely
> does not want a war with the community, and it does not want people to
> fork or leave the projects. The goal is a solution that's acceptable
> for everyone.

But what happens in the event that such a goal cannot be achieved?
Ting has made it very clear that they intend some kind of image filter
to be implemented on all projects, regardless of community wishes. I
hope the community will come around and accept some kind of filter,
but if they don't then the WMF needs to accept that it has failed, do
so gracefully, and not try to start a war that in cannot possibly win
and will cause a great deal of damage.

I think that if the WMF made it clear that they will not implement any
kind of image filter on a project if there is overwhelming opposition
to it, the relevant communities would be much more willing to engage
in constructive dialogue.

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risker.wp at gmail

Oct 9, 2011, 9:40 AM

Post #18 of 236 (2418 views)
Permalink
Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

On 9 October 2011 12:18, Nathan <nawrich [at] gmail> wrote:

> I could probably look this up and find out, but can anyone tell me
> when the next Board election will be?
>
> Nathan
>
>

Two board members are selected by chaptersl however, the board has certain
rights to refuse the selected candidates. Chapter-selected candidates will
be appointed in 2012.

The WMF-wide community holds an election in odd-numbered years to nominate
three candidates. Again, the board has certain rights to refuse the
candidates with the most votes.

The remainder of the board members are selected for their expertise, with
the exception of the "Founder" seat which is approved on a regular basis.

The primary responsibility of Board members is to the Foundation, not to the
community or the chapters or to any other external agent.

This is all available for review in the Bylaws.[1]


Risker/Anne

[1] http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Bylaws#Section_3._Selection.
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sgardner at wikimedia

Oct 9, 2011, 9:46 AM

Post #19 of 236 (2416 views)
Permalink
Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

On 9 October 2011 09:31, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton [at] gmail> wrote:
> On 9 October 2011 17:19, Sue Gardner <sgardner [at] wikimedia> wrote:
>> Nobody wants civil war.
>
> I'm sure they don't actively want one, but it seems the board do
> consider one an acceptable cost.

It may seem that way, but it's not actually true. The Board's
conversation yesterday was thoughtful and serious: the Board members
take very seriously the concerns expressed by editors, and they don't
want to alienate them. We discussed Achim Raschka for example
specifically: he's a 70K-edit editor on the German Wikipedia with I
think 100+ good and featured articles. The last thing the Board wants
is for people like Achim to leave the projects.


>> Please read Ting's note carefully. The Board is asking me to work with
>> the community to develop a solution that meets the original
>> requirements as laid out in its resolution. It is asking me to do
>> something. But it is not asking me to do the specific thing that has
>> been discussed over the past several months, and which the Germans
>> voted against.
>>
>> The Board is hoping there is a solution that will 1) enable readers to
>> easily hide images they don't want to see, as laid out in the Board's
>> resolution [1], while 2) being generally acceptable to editors. Maybe
>> this will not be possible, but it's the goal. The Board definitely
>> does not want a war with the community, and it does not want people to
>> fork or leave the projects. The goal is a solution that's acceptable
>> for everyone.
>
> But what happens in the event that such a goal cannot be achieved?
> Ting has made it very clear that they intend some kind of image filter
> to be implemented on all projects, regardless of community wishes. I
> hope the community will come around and accept some kind of filter,
> but if they don't then the WMF needs to accept that it has failed, do
> so gracefully, and not try to start a war that in cannot possibly win
> and will cause a great deal of damage.
>
> I think that if the WMF made it clear that they will not implement any
> kind of image filter on a project if there is overwhelming opposition
> to it, the relevant communities would be much more willing to engage
> in constructive dialogue.

Yes, I hear you. The Board didn't specifically discuss yesterday what
to do if there is no acceptable solution. So I don't think they can
make a statement like this: it hasn't been discussed. I hear what
you're saying here, but my hope is that even in the absence of such a
statement, people will be willing to join with the Wikimedia
Foundation to engage seriously on the topic and figure out a solution
that works.

I need to run -- I've got a meeting in the office with Ting, JB and
Kat. But thank you, Thomas, for your comments here -- I think they're
constructive. I would love for people on this list to help others
understand what's happening here. The Wikimedia Foundation does not
want a war: it is hoping for a solution here that is acceptable for
everyone. If the folks here can help editors understand that, that
would be a service to everyone, I think.

Thanks,
Sue





--
Sue Gardner
Executive Director
Wikimedia Foundation

415 839 6885 office
415 816 9967 cell

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge.  Help us make it a reality!

http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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nemowiki at gmail

Oct 9, 2011, 9:48 AM

Post #20 of 236 (2401 views)
Permalink
Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

Risker, 09/10/2011 18:40:
> Two board members are selected by chaptersl however, the board has certain
> rights to refuse the selected candidates. Chapter-selected candidates will
> be appointed in 2012.
>
> The WMF-wide community holds an election in odd-numbered years to nominate
> three candidates. Again, the board has certain rights to refuse the
> candidates with the most votes.
>
> The remainder of the board members are selected for their expertise, with
> the exception of the "Founder" seat which is approved on a regular basis.
>
> The primary responsibility of Board members is to the Foundation, not to the
> community or the chapters or to any other external agent.

I find this response a bit odd. ;-) It almost seems to assume that the
community (or Nathan?) is likely wanting to elect someone the WMF
couldn't accept, or that "responsibility to the community" is a bad
thing, while we used to say only that there's no imperative mandate and
that chapters-elected trustees are not chapters representatives, etc.

Nemo

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kim at bruning

Oct 9, 2011, 9:49 AM

Post #21 of 236 (2405 views)
Permalink
Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

On Sun, Oct 09, 2011 at 06:32:31PM +0100, Thomas Dalton wrote:
>
> I don't think the community really can avoid it, since it isn't a
> coherent body. An individual member of the community can't really
> achieve anything. The WMF has a hierarchy and structured decision
> making mechanisms, so it can take deliberate action. The community
> can't.

Actually, the community is quite capable of generating coherent action, thank
you. If you don't know how, there's folks around who can teach you. If you can't
find any, I'll show you how. :-)

sincerely,
Kim Bruning

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risker.wp at gmail

Oct 9, 2011, 9:58 AM

Post #22 of 236 (2406 views)
Permalink
Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

On 9 October 2011 12:48, Federico Leva (Nemo) <nemowiki [at] gmail> wrote:

> Risker, 09/10/2011 18:40:
> > Two board members are selected by chaptersl however, the board has
> certain
> > rights to refuse the selected candidates. Chapter-selected candidates
> will
> > be appointed in 2012.
> >
> > The WMF-wide community holds an election in odd-numbered years to
> nominate
> > three candidates. Again, the board has certain rights to refuse the
> > candidates with the most votes.
> >
> > The remainder of the board members are selected for their expertise, with
> > the exception of the "Founder" seat which is approved on a regular basis.
> >
> > The primary responsibility of Board members is to the Foundation, not to
> the
> > community or the chapters or to any other external agent.
>
> I find this response a bit odd. ;-) It almost seems to assume that the
> community (or Nathan?) is likely wanting to elect someone the WMF
> couldn't accept, or that "responsibility to the community" is a bad
> thing, while we used to say only that there's no imperative mandate and
> that chapters-elected trustees are not chapters representatives, etc.
>
>
I'm not sure what you find odd about it, but it is factual.

The key point is that board members must work on behalf of the Foundation,
and must not act as representatives of a particular constituency, and those
constituencies cannot direct board members elected/nominated by them to act
in certain ways.

I agree that it is not entirely relevant to this discussion: the board's
statement on controversial content was issued in May, and all three
community-nominated board members who signed off on that statement were
re-elected subsequent to that.

Risker/Anne
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nawrich at gmail

Oct 9, 2011, 10:05 AM

Post #23 of 236 (2419 views)
Permalink
Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

On Sun, Oct 9, 2011 at 12:40 PM, Risker <risker.wp [at] gmail> wrote:
>
>
> Two board members are selected by chaptersl however, the board has certain
> rights to refuse the selected candidates.  Chapter-selected candidates will
> be appointed in 2012.
>
> The WMF-wide community holds an election in odd-numbered years to nominate
> three candidates. Again, the board has certain rights to refuse the
> candidates with the most votes.
>
> The remainder of the board members are selected for their expertise, with
> the exception of the "Founder" seat which is approved on a regular basis.
>
> The primary responsibility of Board members is to the Foundation, not to the
> community or the chapters or to any other external agent.
>
> This is all available for review in the Bylaws.[1]
>
>
> Risker/Anne
>


Thanks!

To your last point; that's of course true for any corporation. Yet, it
seems clear and obvious in this case that the Board can't serve the
Foundation without also serving the Wikimedia community. If the Board
loses the support of the community, not only will that have election
repercussions (despite the ability of the Board to determine its own
membership), it will also be strongly detrimental to the interests of
the corporation.

I'm sure the Board understands that you can't please the readers at
the expense of the editors, particularly when we're at a point in
project development where editors are not so easy to replace. Just
like editorial decisions happen in the real world and have real world
consequences, so also will Board decisions have consequences.

Now all this is not to say that the Board has already lost the
confidence of the community, or that any specific members should be
turned out or anything like that. But it's worth remembering, for
folks on both sides of this issue, that there are methods of
addressing any truly schismatic decisions on the part of the Board in
the hopefully very unlikely case that any are taken.

Nathan

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kim at bruning

Oct 9, 2011, 10:08 AM

Post #24 of 236 (2422 views)
Permalink
Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

On Sun, Oct 09, 2011 at 06:51:24PM +0100, Thomas Dalton wrote:
> I didn't say it can't take coherent action. Writing an encyclopaedia
> is a coherent action, after all. I said it can't take deliberate
> action. By deliberate action, I mean deciding to do something and then
> doing it.

That's right.

> The way we work is that some people say they want to do
> something and then the community decides whether to let them or not.

That's not entirely right.

> That works for a lot of things, but not for what Lodewijk is talking
> about. We can't decide to discuss this with the WMF and reach a
> compromise and then do so.

That's neither here nor there. There's a way to make that work. (A little more
complex than fits into this margin, but it's essentially what I'm up to all the
time, or when I'm up to things at any rate. :-)

sincerely,
Kim Bruning


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lodewijk at effeietsanders

Oct 9, 2011, 10:16 AM

Post #25 of 236 (2406 views)
Permalink
Re: Letter to the community on Controversial Content [In reply to]

Discussing 'what if' scenarios in public rarely does any good if those same
people have full power to avoid that scenario in the first place. Both the
community and the board can avoid the sitation that we don't reach
agreement. Therefore, discussing 'what if we don't, what will you do' will
most likely not improve the arguments, discussion or outcome for anyone, but
only makes that very scenario more likely to happen. Let's cross that river
when we get there.

The same goes for the very theoretical 'the board might not accept a board
member nomination'. No such situation happened ever in the history of the
foundation, quite the contrary - they have sometimes appointed people who
ended on the nomination list lower than required *as well* (for example
Oscar). I don't see any reason why that should happen any time soon, so
perhaps discussing that would be a theoretical exersize - very interesting
but hardly productive to this specific discussion.

What would be very constructive for me is getting more hard data which we
can use to have the discussion we need to have. Getting more data about how
our readers think about the topic for example. On whether the difference in
opinion is mainly geographical, related to education/background or to hair
color - whether the community (as has been suggested by some) consists of a
biased group of authors or that this is actually quite representative for
their regions. No conclusions can be drawn automatically from that, but it
would help us in getting to the core of the discussion, and also in figuring
out if there would be a system (filter or not) that both would help resolve
the issues people see, and not obstruct others.

The civil war scenario sounds horrible, but when I read some discussions, it
seems some people are all too eager to steer into that direction, hoping
that 'the others' will steer away first. Perhaps we should just slow down a
bit and map the situation a bit better.

Best regards,

Lodewijk

No dia 9 de Outubro de 2011 19:05, Nathan <nawrich [at] gmail> escreveu:

> On Sun, Oct 9, 2011 at 12:40 PM, Risker <risker.wp [at] gmail> wrote:
> >
> >
> > Two board members are selected by chaptersl however, the board has
> certain
> > rights to refuse the selected candidates. Chapter-selected candidates
> will
> > be appointed in 2012.
> >
> > The WMF-wide community holds an election in odd-numbered years to
> nominate
> > three candidates. Again, the board has certain rights to refuse the
> > candidates with the most votes.
> >
> > The remainder of the board members are selected for their expertise, with
> > the exception of the "Founder" seat which is approved on a regular basis.
> >
> > The primary responsibility of Board members is to the Foundation, not to
> the
> > community or the chapters or to any other external agent.
> >
> > This is all available for review in the Bylaws.[1]
> >
> >
> > Risker/Anne
> >
>
>
> Thanks!
>
> To your last point; that's of course true for any corporation. Yet, it
> seems clear and obvious in this case that the Board can't serve the
> Foundation without also serving the Wikimedia community. If the Board
> loses the support of the community, not only will that have election
> repercussions (despite the ability of the Board to determine its own
> membership), it will also be strongly detrimental to the interests of
> the corporation.
>
> I'm sure the Board understands that you can't please the readers at
> the expense of the editors, particularly when we're at a point in
> project development where editors are not so easy to replace. Just
> like editorial decisions happen in the real world and have real world
> consequences, so also will Board decisions have consequences.
>
> Now all this is not to say that the Board has already lost the
> confidence of the community, or that any specific members should be
> turned out or anything like that. But it's worth remembering, for
> folks on both sides of this issue, that there are methods of
> addressing any truly schismatic decisions on the part of the Board in
> the hopefully very unlikely case that any are taken.
>
> Nathan
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l [at] lists
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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