Greg, I really don't want to reply to the specifics of this conversation -- 
Brion and Erik and others are much more deeply involved, and therefore better 
situated to respond.

But I will say this: I know some people have speculated, or asked, if the 
Wikimedia Foundation is deliberately holding up implementation of FlaggedRevs 
in English Wikipedia, because the staff doesn't want it, or thinks it's a bad 
idea. For the record: we are not.

I personally am worried that an aggressive deployment of FlaggedRevs may act as 
a barrier to new participants. The statistics for new editors on the German 
Wikipedia seem to suggest that their implementation has in fact caused a 
decline in new editors.  I find that worrying.  But I realize that 1) there may 
be other factors at play on the German Wikipedia, affecting participation, that 
are unrelated to FlaggedRevs, 2) the implementation of FlaggedRevs for English 
is quite different from the implementation on the German Wikipedia, and 3) the 
English community has made a decision, which it has every right to do.  To be 
super-clear: the staff of the Wikimedia Foundation is not deliberately holding 
up rollout of FlaggedRevs on the English Wikipedia because of concerns about 
whether it's a good idea.

WRT to your point about relative priorities: the Wikimedia Foundation has 
gotten funding from the Stanton Foundation and the Ford Foundation,  that's 
specifically earmarked for usability work. That is good: usability is a 
critical priority. We can't reallocate that funding to other technical work: 
it's restricted to the purpose for which it was given.

I hear your frustration about the slowness of implementation and I sympathize. 
But I don't want you to believe FlaggedRevs is being deliberately held up: it 

-----Original Message-----
From: Gregory Maxwell <>

Date: Mon, 28 Sep 2009 16:59:44 
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List<>
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Status of flagged protection (flagged revisions)
        for English Wikipedia.

On Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 4:10 PM, Erik Moeller <> wrote:
>>> and we're also concerned about the potential negative impact on
>>> participation.
>> Please help me understand the implications of this statement.
> It simply means that
> a) we want to make sure that for the production roll-out, the user
> interface is not insane and appropriate to the specific en.wp
> configuration that's been proposed;

Aren't our volunteers qualified to contribute to this?

> b) we'll want to track participation metrics after the roll-out to see
> what the impact of this technology is.

I'm not sure what after the fact analysis has to do with the
deployment schedule.

> Accusations of "obstructionism" don't help; I understand where these
> come from, but it's a massive case of assume bad faith. Please stop
> it.

"Bad faith" — I don't think those words means what you think they mean.

I don't think anyone at the WMF is acting in bad faith.  Surely if you
intended to harm Wiki(p|m)edia you could come up with something better
than this.

My leading hypothesis were either that the staff was incredibly
overloaded with new initiatives like usability and strategywiki that
there simply hasn't been time to even make a simple configuration
change; ghat WMF's priorities have become so warped due to petitioning
by niche interests that it can't complete a simple request for its
largest project, or that the WMF staff has decided that it knows
better than hundreds of contributors and that it needed to act
paternalistic and protect the community against its own decision by
ignoring it.  I am not the only person to harbor these concerns, for
example see

All off of these can be supported by the facts in front of me; None of
them reflect very positively on Wikimedia's staff, but neither require
even an ounce of bad faith.

If "assume good faith" has become a code-word for "pretend everything
is done perfectly; ignore problems; provide no criticism" then it's an
aspect of our culture that needs to be eliminated.

I felt the latter hypothesis was supported by your statement that
"we're also concerned about the potential negative impact on
participation".   Even with your clarification I can't help but
understand that when I ask 'Why is FOO being delayed'  and you respond
(in part) 'Because we are concerned that it will harm things'  that
you aren't saying that you're intending to obstruct the deployment...

Extracting the purest (strawman?) form of statement: "It has not been
done yet, in part, because we think what the community decided may
harm participation. However, we aren't working with the community to
ameliorate this harm" is pretty much the definition of obstruction.

This is precisely the thing I was talking about when I said that I'm
concerned that Wikimedia is treating the contributors as 'users'
rather than partners:  If there are concerns about negative
side-effects of an initiative with a partner, you talk them out and
find solutions,  you don't drag your feet on implementing and hope the
demand goes away— though some organizations find that to be an
acceptable approach to handling needy customers.

If Wikimedia were more communicative about limitations and timelines
and more responsive to requests there wouldn't be as much need or room
to speculate.

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