Re: [Wikimedia-l] Commons

2020-05-18 Thread George Herbert

We have two or three competing reasons to have commons like repositories:

1. Truly fully open content repository for Wikimedia projects and the world as 
a whole. (Commons now)

2. Truly fully open content repository in general of things which are worthy 
but not used in projects/articles now. (Some of Commons)

3. Commonly available repository for sufficiently free (fair use, other 
existing allowed cases like irreplaceable or so forth) use in at least one 
project so that other projects could also share the media efficiently if local 
content rules allow it. (Nowhere now, I’ve described as “uncommons” somewhat 
for its humor value as a name)

I have previously pointed out that ideally we’d have a way to unify those for 
easy other projects reference, but there were wailing and gnashing of teeth 
from developers and I list energy.

I also have pointed out that the “helpful” process of copying a non-fully-free 
image to Commons, local deletion due to overlap, then commons deletion removing 
*all* copies is pathological inter-project process behavior and we really 
needed to end that somehow.  Also ran into much wailing and gnashing of teeth 
from commons people not entirely wanting to be blamed and others out of 
patience trying to deal with commons people, and everyone loses interest.


Perhaps we would do better off to create an uncommons and change all the 
for-wider-use upload tools to deposit it there, point the internal image auto 
linking there, and have commons out on the side as not the direct Wiki project 
source but a specific curated open content source.  Everything in commons would 
be in uncommons and linked for articles etc, new fair use or irreplaceable 
content goes to uncommons only, and curators with open license intellectual 
property expertise could curate upselection of the approved bits to commons.

That should make everyone happy and be practical and implementable without 
horrible massive architecture changes.


-george


Sent from my iPhone

> On May 18, 2020, at 5:04 PM, Gnangarra  wrote:
> 
> it all comes back to "Who is our audience" and "How do we need/want to
> engage with them"
> 
> If you start on the mainpage, follow the about link, then follow to scope
> there is no clear just a vague anyone...
> 
> I think we need to be honest in the assessment of our true audience, thats
> basically the WMF projects therefore our purpose is "to make freely
> licensed media accessible across all movement projects"
> 
> Like the movement strategy process we need to dissect what we are trying to
> achieve and how we can get there, and then come up with a solution to
> address what we already have so its all consistent. At the moment we are
> developing differing concepts, tools, policies in isolation .
> 
>> On Mon, 18 May 2020 at 23:34, Alessandro Marchetti via Wikimedia-l <
>> wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org> wrote:
>> 
>> Yes, structured data are far from perfect. I am sorry about it because I
>> know their potential but they need to grow on a difficult soil and this
>> slows down. We expected that, unfortunately. You can't just use them
>> top-down, they need a bottom-up approach but we lack the right mentality of
>> engaged users to make it grow.
>> 
>> If you want to change and improve something right now with metadata, try
>> galleries before categories. They are quite useless at the moment, I see
>> some users are updating them but they are really poor. It was very frequent
>> to finf low resolution files still there, they are not standardized as
>> well. Since they have limited structural role, working on that should be
>> easier.
>> 
>>Il lunedì 18 maggio 2020, 17:20:31 CEST, Phil Nash via Wikimedia-l <
>> wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org> ha scritto:
>> 
>> The search has to be done before the category structure is addressed,
>> even if that needs to be done. How else would you compartmentalise, what 32
>> million images?
>> And structured data has to be fixed before either. The reason is that
>> structured data does not have unique names, and I don't think people relate
>> to the Q numbers as well as names of things they know already. It's
>> actually very much worse than that because these automated "Depicts"
>> suggestions do not appear to know about Commons categories such that they
>> suggest an obvious statement.
>> 
>> We all know it's maybe broken, but I don't see this as a fix, even if we
>> run two systems in parallel until the structured data is (a) mature (b)
>> sensible and (c) throughly reliable.
>> 
>> 
>> ---
>> New Outlook Express and Windows Live Mail replacement - get it here:
>> https://www.oeclassic.com/
>> 
>> - Original Message -
>> From: Gnangarra 
>> Reply-To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
>> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
>> Sent: 18/05/2020 15:53:35
>> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Commons
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> I think we could start to make the category structure obsolete  and 

[Wikimedia-l] Possibly bad template language for context

2020-05-15 Thread George Herbert
https://twitter.com/athertonkd/status/1261397776446812160?s=21

-george

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Universal forced HTTPS backdoor in Kazakhstan

2019-07-22 Thread George Herbert
Browser vendors could revoke the root that Kazakh authorities are using for
the scheme.

On Mon, Jul 22, 2019 at 5:35 AM Yuri Astrakhan 
wrote:

> I don't think browser vendors will block the ability to install a custom
> root certificate because some corp clients may use it for exactly the same
> reason -- creating an HTTPS proxy with fake certs in order to analyze
> internal traffic (in the name of monitoring/security).
>
> Browser vendors could make it more difficult to install, so that it would
> require the corp IT department to do some magic, or even release two
> versions of the browser - corp and general (with blocked uncertified root
> certs), but at the end of the day those could be worked around.
>
> The biggest deterrent in my opinion is to educating the users of the
> dangers such certs would do (i.e. all your passwords and bank info will be
> viewable by ISPs) - thus it would be social rather than purely technical
> solution.
>
> On Mon, Jul 22, 2019 at 1:33 PM Steinsplitter Wiki <
> steinsplit...@wikipedia.de> wrote:
>
> > That's shocking...
> >
> > >> I think this has serious implications for Wikipedia & Wikimedia, as
> not
> > >> only they would be easily able to see which articles people read, but
> > >> also steal login credentials, depseudonymize people and even hijack
> > >> admin accounts.
> >
> > Yes, they can de-crypt the traffic. Hopefully browser vendors will
> > disallow the root certificate.
> > IMHO there isn't much WP can do, expect showing a warning if somebody is
> > trying to login
> > from the country in question.
> >
> > --Steinsplitter
> >
> > 
> > Von: Wikimedia-l  im Auftrag
> von
> > Yury Bulka 
> > Gesendet: Sonntag, 21. Juli 2019 12:36
> > An: wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org 
> > Betreff: [Wikimedia-l] Universal forced HTTPS backdoor in Kazakhstan
> >
> > I'm sure many have heard about this:
> >
> >
> https://thehackernews.com/2019/07/kazakhstan-https-security-certificate.html
> >
> > Essentially, the government in Kazakhstan started forcing citizens into
> > installing a root TLS certificate on their devices that would allow the
> > government to intercept, decrypt and manipulate all HTTPS traffic.
> >
> > Without the centificate, it seems, citizens can't access HTTPS pages (at
> > least on some ISPs).
> >
> > I think this has serious implications for Wikipedia & Wikimedia, as not
> > only they would be easily able to see which articles people read, but
> > also steal login credentials, depseudonymize people and even hijack
> > admin accounts.
> >
> > Another danger is that if this effort by Kazakhstan will succeed, other
> > governments may start doing the same.
> >
> > I wonder if WMF has any position on this yet?
> >
> > Best,
> > Yury.
> >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fram en.wp office yearlock block

2019-06-15 Thread George Herbert
I think the legalities are distracting, but to be more on point and blunt:

Wikipedia is a volunteer organization.

Wikimedia Foundation is the professional support arm of in some ways the
world's largest collection of similar goal volunteer organizations.

Volunteer organizations happen because volunteers volunteer their time and
interest.  Things get done either because they think it's important, or
they're willing to contribute some fraction of their total effort to things
the community as a whole agrees need doing.

Whether there's any legality involved or not, doing something that
immediately alienates a large portion of the most dedicated most
experienced volunteer base of the English language Wikipedia is ... at best
misguided, at worst horrifically counterproductive for the goals and long
term survival of the Wikimedia Foundation.

I'm not going far out on a limb speculating that S did this because they
felt they could, felt they should, and felt it was not going to cause
widespread outrage and pushback.

Pushback is clear and shiningly evident now.  The reasoning why they should
has been challenged, based on the public statements, and is at the very
least challenged and in doubt.


The Foundation damaging volunteer interest in the projects this profoundly
is not a minor glitch.


-george

On Sat, Jun 15, 2019 at 3:35 PM Thomas Townsend 
wrote:

> On Sat, 15 Jun 2019 at 18:39, Dan Rosenthal  wrote:
> >
> > There is no "very basic principle of Human Rights and dignity" to be free
> > from the presumption of guilt by others.  You may be confusing Article 11
> > of the UHDR, but this applies explicitly only to "penal offenses."
> Unless
> > Fram is getting locked up in prison for his actions, let's drop the
> absurd
> > hyperbole that this is somehow a human rights violation.
>
>
> The Foundation has explicitly stated at
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/advocacy/ that
> "everyone has the right to seek and share knowledge." and at
>
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/2019/05/23/wikimedia-foundation-petitions-the-european-court-of-human-rights-to-lift-the-block-of-wikipedia-in-turkey/
> that the ability to contribute to Wikipedia is a matter for the
> European Court of Human Rights.
>
> So it seems that Dan is incorrect -- this *is* a human rights matter.
> All the more reason, then, to have it supervised by the competent
> professionals of the Foundation.
>
> The Turnip
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fram en.wp office yearlock block

2019-06-13 Thread George Herbert
Quoting seraphimblade onwiki:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Community_response_to_the_Wikimedia_Foundation%27s_ban_of_Fram#Editorial_independence_of_the_English_Wikipedia_community_and_response_to_Jan

“Very well, here's the feedback: Don't ever again take an action of this 
nature. Take office actions only where the community has agreed you may: United 
States legal requirements, child protection, or threats of harm to oneself or 
others. Otherwise, leave control entirely local, and refer any complaints to 
local English Wikipedia authorities, even if you grit your teeth while you do 
it.”

WMF T: This is an emerging consensus that not only was this clumsy, but was 
legitimately an overstep of the authority that the community granted T and 
the Foundation, and in fact damages your credibility in enforcing things like 
threats of violence or child protection issues or legal/law enforcement issues.

There were several claims that handing this issue to Arbcom was problematic 
because Fram had prior conflicts with Arbcom.  Arbcom deals with actual or 
potential conflicts and people they dislike every day.  That hasn’t stopped it 
in well over a decade.

I believe that you were convinced that was a legitimate reason not to let 
Arbcom and the community handle this.  But that’s not true.

The “but we had this complaint and couldn’t forward it without breaking 
confidence!” claim is also legitimate but misguided.  You might not be allowed 
to forward it, but you could tell the complainer to make their own report to 
Arbcom in private.  That someone complains to you doesn’t necessarily make it 
your problem to solve.  Sometimes you can and should direct them to someone 
else.  Forcing yourself to solve it is part of how you got into this mess.

It wasn’t clearly your job or authority.

The Wikipedia community created the Foundation, not the other way around.  The 
Foundation exists to support the community and projects.  When you go beyond 
support into trying to run it for us you fail.

When several key Administrators and a Bureaucrat overturned things, that showed 
that you’d lost the community authority to exercise your T role without 
oversight.

There are credible efforts to ban Office, or desysop it, though I hope those 
fail.

Foundation owns the servers; that’s different than owning the community and 
project.  Owning the servers gives you the capability to override the community 
but not the authority.

This can go in extremely unfortunate directions from here.  I hope it doesn’t.  
Foundation and particularly T staff need to slow down your responses and get 
a handle on your loss of authority.  I for one don’t want the job of dealing 
with death threats or pedophiles or subpoenas back on Admins and Arbcom, and 
would be happy to reestablish Foundation authority over such traditional T 
roles.  Help us trust you enough to give it back.

-george 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fram en.wp office yearlock block

2019-06-13 Thread George Herbert
Phillipe wrote in part:

I trust the people and the process. I wish I could find a way to share that
> trust in such a way that it would be adopted by more. Maybe you have to
> live it to develop it,  but these are talented staff making hard decisions.
> No doubt they will err some - but it’s not because they didn’t try
> everything they know to get it right.


When I sent my first email on all this, I tried to be as trusting and open
as possible.  But something troubled me greatly and I have still not seen
any hypotheticals or specifics to address it.

In the past, as I understood it, there was a null set of things that could
be done by someone that would justify Office taking action like this and
wouldn't result in a lifetime permanent ban.

Everything else, to my knowledge, was safe to handle somewhere between
privately in Arbcom and normally on-Wiki.

The combination of "Something Office needed to do" and "It's only for a
year" breaks my head and my heart.  There obviously has to be an
explanation here.  If that's not really an empty set of things that Office
could need to do in this manner and might not result in permanent bans,
then Office and the Foundation staff really really owe the community a
clear explanation of the criteria used to determine that.

I should not be sitting here days later wondering even what category of
problem this could be in that resulted in the action.

I don't need this answered today, but it does need to get answered.  The
difference between a court which sometimes has to act in secret and a Star
Chamber is that people can tell what the rules are for the court that
sometimes has to act in secret.  Either Office are acting like a court that
sometimes has to act in secret, or Office and En.Wikipedia do in fact have
a catastrophic problem.  We need to know the parameters.

-george


On Wed, Jun 12, 2019 at 5:02 PM Philippe Beaudette 
wrote:

> On Wed, Jun 12, 2019 at 4:20 PM Nathan  wrote:
>
> >   Philippe moved on, so the easy solution - put him in charge of
> > everything - isn't going to work.
>
>
>
> I laughed. Thank you for this. But remember, I was in front of Arbcomm for
> a not too dissimilar case, being accused of overreaching and an unhelpful
> response and tone (false, true and true, in that order). I learned from my
> mistakes. More importantly, I hope (and believe) that the WMF learned from
> my mistakes.
>
> The people on the T team are neither dumb nor disconnected. Quite the
> opposite. I hired and worked with a couple  of them and know them to be
> talented, thoughtful and deliberate. I know Katherine to be the same.
>
> On the basis of that “insider” knowledge - and that is truly all the
> insider knowledge that I have here - I trust that there is more here that I
> do not and can not know.
>
> I trust the people and the process. I wish I could find a way to share that
> trust in such a way that it would be adopted by more. Maybe you have to
> live it to develop it,  but these are talented staff making hard decisions.
> No doubt they will err some - but it’s not because they didn’t try
> everything they know to get it right.
>
> I wish we could put away the pitchforks - and also (on the wmf side) make
> ourselves available and open to listening and sharing whatever we can - if
> there is anything and try like hell to deescalate this thing.
>
>
> Or give me time to go buy more popcorn. One or the other.
>
> Philippe
>
>
>
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>
> --
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> phili...@beaudette.me
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] en.wp office yearlock block

2019-06-11 Thread George Herbert
I think that you are making a number of assertions about the community,
individuals, the Foundation, and the power and roles and responsibilities
that aren't warranted.



On Tue, Jun 11, 2019 at 2:15 AM Mister Thrapostibongles <
thrapostibong...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Frankly, I'm surprised by how surprised everyone is.  The Foundation has
> the responsibility to support the community, and the time, the expertise,
> the money and the people to do so.  Individual volunteers, however
> well-meaning, do not.  The Foundation has determined that in this
> particular case the community;s own processes were unable to provide the
> support that the community needed, and so the Foundation has acted to do
> so, as you would expect.
>
> Thrapostibongles
>
> On Tue, Jun 11, 2019 at 4:26 AM Techman224 
> wrote:
>
> > Forwarding to WIkimedia-l since WikiEN-l is relatively dead.
> >
> > Since this message, an Arbcom member (SilkTork) stated that they weren't
> > consulted, nor did this action was the result of Arbcom forwarding a
> > concern to the office. [1]
> >
> > The only non-response excuse from the WMF [2] was that "local communities
> > consistently struggle to uphold not just their own autonomous rules but
> the
> > Terms of Use, too.” even though there were no complaints on-wiki nor to
> > Arbcom privately.
> >
> > The on-wiki discussion is taking place at the Bureaucrats and the Arbcom
> > noticeboards.
> >
> >
> >
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Bureaucrats%27_noticeboard#User:Fram_banned_for_1_year_by_WMF_office
> > <
> >
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Bureaucrats'_noticeboard#User:Fram_banned_for_1_year_by_WMF_office
> > >
> >
> >
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Arbitration_Committee/Noticeboard#Request_for_ArbCom_to_comment_publicly_on_Fram's_ban
> >
> > [1]
> >
> https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia_talk:Arbitration_Committee/Noticeboard=prev=901300528
> > <
> >
> https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia_talk:Arbitration_Committee/Noticeboard=prev=901300528
> > >
> > [2]
> >
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Bureaucrats%27_noticeboard#Statement_from_the_WMF_Trust_&_Safety_Team
> >
> > Techman224
> >
> > > Begin forwarded message:
> > >
> > > From: George Herbert 
> > > Subject: [WikiEN-l] Fram en.wp office yearlock block
> > > Date: June 10, 2019 at 8:54:34 PM CDT
> > > To: English Wikipedia 
> > > Reply-To: English Wikipedia 
> > >
> > > In case you're not following on-wiki - Office S blocked English
> > Wikipedia
> > > user / administrator Fram for a year and desysopped, for unspecified
> > > reasons in the Office purview.  There was a brief statement here from
> > > Office regarding it which gave no details other than that normal policy
> > and
> > > procedures for Office actions were followed, which under normal
> > > circumstances preclude public comments.
> > >
> > >
> >
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Bureaucrats%27_noticeboard#User:Fram_banned_for_1_year_by_WMF_office
> > >
> > > Several people on Arbcom and board have commented they're making
> private
> > > inquiries under normal reporting and communication channels, due to the
> > > oddity and essentially uniqueness of the action.
> > >
> > > There was an initial surge of dismay which has mellowed IMHO into "Ok,
> > > responsible people following up".
> > >
> > > I understand the sensitivity of some of the topics under Office
> actions,
> > > having done OTRS and other various had-to-stay-private stuff myself at
> > > times in the past.  A high profile investigation target is most unusual
> > but
> > > not unheard of.
> > >
> > > I did send email to Fram earlier today asking if they had any public
> > > comment, no reply as yet.
> > >
> > >
> > > --
> > > -george william herbert
> > > george.herb...@gmail.com
> > > ___
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Subject lines for WMF fundraising emails

2018-11-13 Thread George Herbert
I believe that the subject line was a moral and leadership failure.
Effective or not, I would respectfully suggest that you stop using it
immediately and begin further discussions with the community about the
organization's goals and purpose.

On Tue, Nov 13, 2018 at 5:13 PM Joseph Seddon  wrote:

> Hey Pine,
>
> I appreciate and understand your feedback about this subject line.
>
> For some time we have been trying to find an alternative subject line to
> -/This is a little awkward/-. That line works and works very well but we
> have found it very difficult to effectively translate and adapt into other
> languages, and despite our best efforts have struggled to find an
> alternative.
>
> We first tested -/Deleting Wikipedia?/- as a subject line a couple of weeks
> ago and it was the only winning variant in hundreds of tests. We retested
> in case it was a statistical fluke and continued to see it perform well.
> The effectiveness of this subject line for the most part does not come from
> its apparent clickbaiting. The change in the number of people opening the
> emails was relatively small and unsubscribes remained extremely low. The
> big driver in terms of its success was from a significant increase in those
> people who opened AND read our email appeal. We posed a question and donors
> were motivated to donate when presented with the idea of imagining a world
> without Wikipedia.
>
> Our motivation behind this sort of subject line is the fact that in three
> countries today it is already as if Wikipedia does not exist. The risk that
> this could happen in more countries is greater now that it ever has been.
> Censorship, impediments to free speech and over regulation of copyright are
> threats that Wikipedia, Wikimedia and its communities face every single day
> and it is with that context that we want to lead.
>
> Any email that included this subject line came with at least some context
> to flesh out the idea, i.e., “If Wikipedia were deleted, it would be a
> great loss to the world,”, but going forward it is our full intention to
> make even clearer that we intend for the donor to imagine a world without
> Wikipedia and the threats it faces every day, not threaten that it is going
> away.
>
> Our plan is to continue to testing on this theme, exploring censorship and
> copyright restrictions as well as our increasing role as the backbone of
> knowledge on the internet, and help donors see that knowledge can and is
> threatened all the time. We are definitely and eagerly open to any
> feedback, suggestions and ideas you might have.
>
> Best,
> Seddon
>
> On Tue, Nov 13, 2018 at 11:04 PM Pine W  wrote:
>
> > There is a report from a user on Jimbo's talk page on ENWP regarding
> > receiving fundraising a fundraising email with the subject line "[NAME] -
> > Deleting Wikipedia?"
> >
> > In previous years I've disagreed with some of WMF's fundraising choices,
> > and it would be unfortunate if in the era of "fake news" becoming
> > mainstream WMF chooses to continue to be a part of the problem. If this
> is
> > happening then I request that WMF put a stop to it. Regardless of how
> > effective it is to send misleading fundraising appeals and that WMF has
> > received minimal repercussions for doing so over the years, it's wrong
> and
> > it should stop.
> >
> > Pine
> > ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
> > ___
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> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > 
>
>
>
> --
> Seddon
>
> *Community and Audience Engagement Associate*
> *Advancement (Fundraising), Wikimedia Foundation*
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-george william herbert
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RFC on wikimedia-l posting limits

2017-08-23 Thread George Herbert
The 15 limit is busted regularly by normal active posters.  I disagree with 
that one.

George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Aug 22, 2017, at 9:03 PM, John Mark Vandenberg  wrote:
> 
> Hi list members,
> 
> The list admins (hereafter 'we', being Austin, Asaf, Shani and I, your
> humble narrator) regularly receive complaints about the frequent
> posters on this list, as well as about the unpleasant atmosphere some
> posters (some of them frequent) create.
> 
> It is natural that frequent posters will say specific things that more
> frequently annoy other list members, but often the complaints are due
> to the volume of messages rather than the content of the messages.
> 
> We are floating some suggestions aimed specifically at reducing the
> volume, hopefully motivating frequent posters to self-moderate more,
> but these proposed limits are actually intending to increasing the
> quality of the discourse without heavy subjective moderation.
> 
> The first proposal impacts all posters to this list, and the last
> three proposals are aimed at providing a more clear framework within
> which criticism and whistle-blowing are permitted, but that critics
> are prevented from drowning out other discussions. The bandwidth that
> will be given to critics should be established in advance, reducing
> need to use subjective moderation of the content when a limit to the
> volume will often achieve the same result.
> --
> 
> Proposal #1: Monthly 'soft quota' reduced from 30 to 15
> 
> The existing soft quota of 30 posts per person has practically never
> been exceeded in the past year, and yet many list subscribers still
> clearly feel that a few individuals overwhelm the list. This suggests
> the current quota is too high.
> 
> A review of the stats at
> https://stats.wikimedia.org/mail-lists/wikimedia-l.html show very few
> people go over 15 in a month, and quite often the reason for people
> exceeding 15 per month is because they are replying to other list
> members who have already exceeded 15 per month, and sometimes they are
> repeatedly directly or indirectly asking the person to stop repeating
> themselves to allow some space for other list members also have their
> opinion heard.
> --
> 
> Proposal #2: Posts by globally banned people not permitted
> 
> As WMF-banned people are already banned from mailing lists, this
> proposal is to apply the same ‘global’ approach to any people who have
> been globally banned by the community according to the
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Global_bans policy.
> 
> This proposal does not prevent proxying, or canvassing, or “meat
> puppetry” as defined by English Wikipedia policy.  The list admins
> would prefer that globally banned people communicate their grievances
> via established members of our community who can guide them, rather
> than the list admins initially guiding these globally banned people on
> how to revise their posts so they are suitable for this audience, and
> then required to block them when they do not follow advice.  The role
> of list moderators is clearer and simpler if we are only patrolling
> the boundaries and not repeatedly personally engaged with helping
> globally banned users.
> --
> 
> Proposal #3: Identity of an account locked / blocked / banned by two
> Wikimedia communities limited to five (5) posts per month
> 
> This proposal is intended to strike a balance between openness and
> quality of discourse.
> 
> Banned people occasionally use the wikimedia-l mailing list as a
> substitute of the meta Request for comment system, and banned people
> also occasionally provide constructive criticisms and thought
> provoking views.  This proposal hopes to allow that to continue.
> 
> However people who have been banned on a few projects also use this
> list as their “last stand”, having already exhausted the community
> patience on the wikis.  Sometimes the last stand is brief, but
> occasionally a banned person is able to maintain sufficient decorum
> that they are not moderated or banned from the list, and mailing list
> readers need to suffer month after month of the banned person
> dominating the mailing lists with time that they would previously have
> spent editing on the wikis.
> --
> 
> Proposal #4: Undisclosed alternative identities limited to five (5)
> posts per month
> 
> Posting using fake identities allows people to shield their real life
> *and* their Wikimedia editing 'account' from the repercussions of
> their actions. This provision to allow fake identities on wikimedia-l
> is necessary for whistle-blowing, and this mailing list has been used
> for that purpose at important junctures in the history of the
> Wikimedia movement.
> 
> However it is more frequently abused, especially by some ‘critics’ who
> have used incessant hyperbole and snark and baiting to generally cause
> stress to many readers. Sometimes this is also accompanied with many
> list posts on various unrelated threads as the ‘critic’ 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Source-o-meter

2016-04-22 Thread George Herbert
Thanks, Tilman, I missed that...

George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Apr 22, 2016, at 2:14 PM, Tilman Bayer <tba...@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> 
> See also the review of that preprint we ran in the Wikimedia Research
> Newsletter: 
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Newsletter/2016/February#Test_of_300k_citations:_how_verifiable_is_.22verifiable.22_in_practice.3F
> 
> and the community discussion it generated:
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-03-02/Recent_research#Test_of_300k_citations:_how_verifiable_is_.22verifiable.22_in_practice.3F
> 
> On Fri, Apr 22, 2016 at 11:31 AM, George Herbert
> <george.herb...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> 
>> Just saw this in The Atlantic.  A suggestion Wikipedia implement a source 
>> verifiability meter for each article.
>> 
>> http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/04/wikipedia-open-access/479364/
>> 
>> George William Herbert
>> Sent from my iPhone
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> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> Tilman Bayer
> Senior Analyst
> Wikimedia Foundation
> IRC (Freenode): HaeB
> 
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[Wikimedia-l] Source-o-meter

2016-04-22 Thread George Herbert

Just saw this in The Atlantic.  A suggestion Wikipedia implement a source 
verifiability meter for each article.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/04/wikipedia-open-access/479364/

George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The Case for Federation: Should Parts of WMF Be Spun Off?

2016-03-21 Thread George Herbert




> On Mar 19, 2016, at 8:23 PM, Gnangarra  wrote:
> 
> in breaking up (spinning parts off) the WMF we run the risk of creating
> silos of information, knowledge and disconnecting one speciality from
> another preventing cross pollination of ideas and innovation. It also
> breaks the collaborative core of the projects which has created what we
> enjoy and at the heart of our volunteer driven successes.

I am not uncritically for an organizational breakup.  Nor am I against one.

Part of the argument above seems self-contradictory, though - we have already 
demonstrated that diverse groups across the Foundation, chapters, volunteer 
groups, etc etc come together effectively.  The Movement is characterized in 
part by that.  That would seem to indicate that a reorganization that split 
part of it up would still be able to work and team up effectively.

Regardless of whether a split is a good idea or happens, grabbing the info on 
who does what for whom, and why, will help us make it better.

George William Herbert
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The Case for Federation: Should Parts of WMF Be Spun Off?

2016-03-19 Thread George Herbert



> On Mar 19, 2016, at 7:41 AM, rupert THURNER  wrote:
> 
> at the end it all boils down to
> money. spending all money available and wanting more money never has
> been a problem. if there is dissent it was always about who has the
> say what the money is spent on, and where it is spent. i am convinced
> if we get the responsibilities right, the dissent will stop, and the
> output will be better.
> 
> sizing organizations and distributing responsibilities on a global
> scale seems to be a very difficult task, close to the soviet empire's
> task to plan its next 5 years. one could argue to resolve it via
> setting a financial targets, just as multinational companies do. two
> simple long term key performance indicators might already do the trick
> for the wikimedia movement: first "maximum 50% of the money is spent
> on persons whose life depend financially on the movement", which is
> employees, or long term contracting persons, organizations,
> foundations, enterprises. and second, "50% of the money stays in the
> country where it is donated." the rest will auto-organize, and
> auto-change. finding intelligent spending for the rest of the 50%
> should not be a too difficult task, there is sufficient universities
> and students around the world who would be happy to compete for this
> money. the success, means and outcome will change over time, in areas
> and ways nobody can predict today. the 50% are a made up number, a
> little bit influenced by public spending of 40% - 50% in many
> industrialized countries nowadays. it seems people accept such a
> ratio.

I...  This line of thinking worries me.

In Programming / IT / information companies, there are a number of well known 
examples of organizations with legendary ineffectiveness measured on a per 
dollar or per employee basis.

Logic of "we will just control or manage the money flow" is focusing on the 
wrong end entirely.  We need organizations that are effective, and secondarily 
(for a host of reasons) which people enjoy working in.  Neither of those is a 
result of any accounting focused reform or management approach.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The Case for Federation: Should Parts of WMF Be Spun Off?

2016-03-19 Thread George Herbert
I think these are interesting discussions.  My first feedback -

Let's get as granular as possible about describing activities undertaken now.  
Leave out the "by who" and org structure for the moment.

For example, I can even see five tech organization activities.  Internal IT, 
website ops, back end dev, UI dev, and tools.

For every activity we need to understand who the customer(s) are.  Is that "the 
reader", "free information concept globally", "the editor", "the foundation 
organization(s)", "researchers", "the board", "large benefactors/donors", 
"global movement", etc.  This is not complete, please add to it.

Customer focus is where we understand all the roles and customers, and align 
organizationally so that orgs or sub orgs have as good a focus on a smaller 
customer set and roles set as possible.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Mar 17, 2016, at 11:56 PM, Erik Moeller  wrote:
> 
> 2016-03-17 22:54 GMT-07:00 Pine W :
>> I agree that these options should be explored. I'm wondering what the best
>> way would be to facilitate this conversation.
>> 
>> Perhaps, Erik, would you be willing to set up a page on Meta for discussion?
> 
> Hi Pine,
> 
> Thanks for the comments! I wanted to start here to get a sense if
> people are supportive of the idea(s) in general. In my experience a
> listserv is good for kicking things around a bit before getting too
> emotionally invested. ;-) And this list has a good cross-set of folks
> with different backgrounds including WMF and affiliates. If there's a
> general sense that this is worth exploring further, then I'd be more
> than happy to help organize pages on Meta, e.g. to think about
> specific spin-offs like the MediaWiki Foundation (if there isn't
> already an extant proposal for it).
> 
>> On the WMF side, I'm wondering how this would fit into their annual
>> planning. Their plan is supposed to be published on April 1. This
>> discussion will need resources from WMF's end in the form of staff time,
>> including Katherine's, as well as Board time. The required investment in
>> the short term will be modest, but cumulatively through the year it may be
>> significant, particularly if the discussions get momentum. So I'm wondering
>> how, at this point, it would be possible to take these discussions into
>> account in the WMF AP.
> 
> Unless WMF plans to dramatically expand in the next fiscal (which I
> doubt), I think this discussion can and needs to happen on its own
> timeline. I expect that if WMF suggests to depart a bit from what's
> written into a one-year plan, with good reasons, the institutions of
> the movement will have the flexibility to accommodate that.
> 
> I also understand WMF folks are very busy with the plan right now, and
> I don't think there's special urgency to this conversation, which is
> one with lots of long term implications. I do hope folks have a chance
> to weigh in, but if that happens over the course of few weeks/months
> in different venues, I personally think that's fine.
> 
>> This series of operations, while complicated, may yield a more resilient
>> movement in the end, possibly with more combined funding, more
>> accountability and transparency, and more credibility.
> 
> Yes, I hope so. :) But let's take it slowly and poke at this from
> different angles to see if it makes sense.
> 
> Warmly,
> 
> Erik
> 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wmfall] Wikimedia Foundation executive transition update

2016-03-10 Thread George Herbert




> On Mar 10, 2016, at 6:59 PM, Katherine Maher  wrote:
> 
> Thank you, Patricio.
> 
> I want to thank the Board for this opportunity, and for their confidence in
> the Foundation. I also want to thank community members and staff for
> continuing to be such committed advocates for our future -- your passion
> and belief in our movement and purpose have been tremendous things to
> behold.
> 

Best of luck.  Big challenge, good opportunity to reset and move productively 
forwards from here.

George William Herbert
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: A conversation?

2016-03-10 Thread George Herbert



> On Mar 10, 2016, at 2:01 AM, jimmy wales  wrote:
> 
> 
> 
> Indeed George I agree with everything you have said about the internal 
> effects of lack of transparency and openness.  Assuming I and other board 
> members who continue to press for full openness about the James situation  
> are eventually successful this will all become more clear.

This situation - the lack of full openness and an OK for everyone to publicly 
discuss what they saw and believed happening - is incredibly damaging to the 
Foundation and movement by now.

The tension expressed with Board needs to keep some things confidential is 
real.  But...

I would go so far as to state that it appears to me. that Board members' 
fiduciary duty to the Foundation now argues for open disclosure, and is clearly 
and straightforwardly at odds with the Boards' current secrecy.

I understand that opinions and dynamics within the board are important, but 
your individual responsibilities are now becoming directly relevant.  I urge 
the board to resolve your internal obstacles to the openness swiftly.  If you 
cannot do so, your fiduciary duty must guide you.


George William Herbert
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: A conversation?

2016-03-10 Thread George Herbert




> On Mar 10, 2016, at 1:25 AM, Jimmy Wales  wrote:
> ...
> Those ideas never got traction
> and never made it to the board level. ...

I don't think you are lying or being deceptive, but it seems apparent in the 
various half-explanations that it did, to James, who either got mangled 
explanations and assumed worse or heard worse from someone incorrectly.  Thence 
to mistrust.

Assuming nobody is evil or insane, we have clear evidence and now open 
admissions of communications breakdowns at several levels and confused, 
contradictory explanations about who thought what secrecy was required and why.

It seems like those fed upon each other into misunderstandings and mistrust.

Have you not considered that lack of transparency and openness would have the 
same internal effect as external?
 

George William Herbert
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] My posts going to spam

2016-02-29 Thread George Herbert

Just to confirm, all Jimmy's email in these threads were in my Gmail spam 
folder when I looked.

If you're using Gmail, go look at the spam folder and bring his messages back 
in...


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 29, 2016, at 5:37 AM, Jimmy Wales  wrote:
> 
> I'm switching to this email address for posting, because apparently
> there is some kind of weird problem between yahoo and google such that
> gmail users see all or most of my messages in their SPAM folder.
> 
> If you've asked me something and think that I didn't respond, I
> recommend looking there.
> 
> 
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[Wikimedia-l] NY Times on Google team dynamics/success research

2016-02-27 Thread George Herbert

Relevant to the discussion on Foundation issues...  The NY Times reports on 
Google's research into what made some teams succeed and some fail.

Short answer: Team norms to respect the individual members, for everyone to get 
a chance to talk and contribute and be heard.

 
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/magazine/what-google-learned-from-its-quest-to-build-the-perfect-team.html?smid=tw-nytimes=cur&_r=0=https://t.co/m4sRhDftJz

George William Herbert
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What kind of ED would you like to see?

2016-02-26 Thread George Herbert
On the Vision thing -

There is a leadership vision, and an organizational/movement vision.

The leader should articulate theirs.  The organizational one needs to come from 
everyone but would likely be articulated by the ED after that process.

George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 26, 2016, at 4:58 PM, Greg Grossmeier  wrote:
> 
> 
>> Greg, agree 100%, but that's not how I understood the question and the
>> results of the staff survey. It seemed the staff expected the vision from
>> the ED/Management.
> 
> I think you're misinterpreting.
> 
> The agree/disagree statement was:
> "Senior leadership at Wikimedia have communicated a vision that
> motivates me"  (7% agree)
> 
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-01-06/News_and_notes#WMF_staff_morale
> 
> See also, this quote in glassdoor, quoted in the Signpost as well:
> "The Executive Director unveils a new strategy every three months or
> so."
> 
> So, it's not that people wanted the vision solely from the
> ED/Management, it's that they wanted a not constantly changing one.
> 
> This is getting off topic, however.
> 
> The point is, a vision does not need to come from one person, which you
> agree with. A good vision comes from many people working together
> collaboratively. Then sticking with it to see it through. Consistency is
> needed in an ED.
> 
> Greg
> 
> -- 
> | Greg GrossmeierGPG: B2FA 27B1 F7EB D327 6B8E |
> | identi.ca: @gregA18D 1138 8E47 FAC8 1C7D |
> 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread George Herbert

It would be a good thing if the Board and current or expected interim ED 
loosened up confidentiality on the employees.

It helps internal morale and external confidence in reforms.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 26, 2016, at 7:30 PM, Oliver Keyes  wrote:
> 
>> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 8:57 PM, Pine W  wrote:
>> I admit to being surprised by the depth of the division between the ED and
>> staff that we are hearing about. Thanks to the Signpost and internal leaks
>> we in the community knew about the low marks in the staff survey, but I
>> guess I didn't appreciate that the situation involved more than widespread
>> professional disagreement and had reached such emotional depth for at least
>> some staff.
>> 
>> I would like to ask Brion, who seems to be acting as the de facto VP of HR,
>> if he could ask people if they are willing to have their *anonymized*
>> comments and notes be published. I think that these would be helpful to
>> inform the discussions about the future.
> 
> No, he's not. Don't get me wrong, Brion's help is TREMENDOUSLY
> valuable and appreciated. But please recognise that you only see
> things from the outside. Your understanding of what is going on,
> absent internal discussions, is likely to be somewhat distorted. Brion
> is one of the more preeminent volunteers for emotional support but he
> is not acting without HR also acting.
> 
>> 
>> I fully understand that people may feel comfortable venting and connecting
>> about this situation in private. I am trying to respect that private space
>> while also encouraging a flow of information that I hope will be beneficial
>> for WMF in the rebuilding phase.
> 
> The WMF's rebuilding is ultimately WMF-centric.
> 
> There are elements with movement-wide components; reform of the board
> of trustees, which is also supported by a lot of staff, is a good
> example. But much of it is internal, private, and only fully
> understood with an NDA. It's why so many people have been able to
> gut-punch employees over the last few months: because there are a lot
> of things where, even anonymised, we cannot say anything.
> 
> Given that I would prefer not to risk compromising the healing with
> publicly-shared transcripts, even anonymised ones. This is not to say
> that public feedback and review and transparency isn't welcome and
> needed: it is. Merely that this should not come from the commentary of
> individual meetings.
> 
>> 
>> Brion, thank you very much for taking on this role as staff facilitator.
>> 
>> If a professional facilitator would help as well, I'd say to go for it.
> 
> We already have one, and have for months.
> 
>> 
>> Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

2016-02-26 Thread George Herbert



> On Feb 26, 2016, at 6:17 PM, Risker  wrote:
> 
> No, I think we've actually done a very superficial identification of the
> problems.  Some of them are so obvious that they are overwhelming the less
> obvious but equally serious issues.
> 
> Honestly, "we need a new board" is probably not an issue. 40% of the board
> has been seated for less than a year, and another seat is empty and
> awaiting someone who probably won't have been a WMF board member before.
> Two more seats are currently being contested.  It is entirely conceivable
> that by the time we get to Wikimania we will only have two people with more
> than 14 months' experience on the board.  No, "new board" isn't an issue,
> despite how many people keep saying it is; transfer of information at the
> hand-off last Wikimania probably was an issue, and new board member
> orientation definitely was (and is).  The issues with the appointment of
> one of the "board selected" members recently was at least partly because,
> as I understand it, there has never been a written process for how to vet
> potential board members for most of the things we all assumed board members
> were screened for. WHile I'll be the first to admit I rolled my eyes too,
> I'm hard-pressed to openly condemn a bunch of people who'd never done a
> task before for not getting it perfectly right.  (Note that even the WMF
> staffer assigned to assist in the vetting, Boryana Dineva, had been an
> employee for only a few days when handed the assignment, knowing almost
> nothing about the community, the organization, the board, or even what to
> look for when vetting a potential board member.)
> 
> So, "let's restructure the board" is a wish-list item. The structure of the
> board wasn't a root cause.  The processes of the board, including the
> orientation process, and the lack of documentation or clarity of the
> process, were much closer to root causes here.
> 
> That's just one example.
> 
> Risker/Anne

I have not been on the WMF board, and it (collectively, the members) is being 
fairly opaque about its activities and processes.

That said, it is not clear to me that it was doing what the board of trustees 
of an organization is required to do (legally, morally, organizationally), and 
I am not at all comfortable having to say that.

At the beginning of the week, my TLDR message ended with challenging the board 
to consider if they were up for the job.

It is evident that at least at times it needs to really be a board and not just 
a group of advisors.  It needs to challenge and find out not just be told.  It 
has a fiduciary duty to keep the organization on sound footing.  That means 
something.

That means standing up to each other, to broken process, to management, even to 
the movement.  It's the Board.

I don't know that anyone isn't able to do that, but everyone should be asking.  
And if anyone can't or won't they're not doing the job.

I am not comfortable asking that, but it needs to be asked.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread George Herbert


> On Feb 24, 2016, at 7:01 PM, Anthony Cole  wrote:
> 
> George, the WMF, particularly under the Sue/Erik regime - but as best as I
> can tell from its very beginning - has had a propensity to privilege its
> view of what's best over the community's view. Superprotect. Visual editor.
> When the community has pushed back at WMF behaviour that suits the WMF,
> that the WMF thinks helps them in their mission, the WMF has historically
> just gone ahead and ignored what the community sees as being in the
> encyclopaedia's best interest. This bunch of tech geeks and silicon valley
> entrepreneurs holds the whip hand in this relationship. It really should be
> the other way round. Denny's model; Sarah's model. I don't really care. But
> this tail-wagging-dog thing is just not right.

There are several ways to look at this.  One includes the view that the 
Foundation and Board exist to protect and encourage the Movement, not just the 
loudest editor communities.  And that there are wider issues for the Movement, 
including things for users, things keeping users from editing, and things 
pushing people out of active editing that the Board and Foundation rightly 
should be paying a lot of attention to.

There are both valid issues the editor community has objected to, and things 
the editor community (enwiki at least) is grossly dysfunctional about that the 
Board and Foundation must still focus on.  Both separation for perspective and 
feedback and relationship care are needed.


George William Herbert
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread George Herbert

In an organization where the purpose and Bylaws explicitly (Article II) call 
for it to be supporting the movement, the Board should be balancing that aspect 
anyways.

Yes, the Board cares for the Foundation, but the Foundation cares for the 
Movement, and if it stops doing that it's off chartered purpose and the Board 
needs to intervene.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 24, 2016, at 5:47 PM, SarahSV  wrote:
> 
> On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 6:23 PM, Denny Vrandecic 
> wrote:
> 
>> To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that will
>> be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
>> 
>> - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation - not
>> to the movement.
>> 
>> ​Hi Denny,
> 
> Blue Avocado, the non-profit magazine, offers a somewhat different view.
> They have published a board-member "contract" to give non-profit directors
> an idea of what's expected of them. It includes:
> 
> ​
> 
> ​"... ​
> I will interpret our constituencies' needs and values to the organization,
> speak out for their interests, and on their behalf, hold the organization
> accountable.
> ​" [1]
> 
> Sarah
> 
> [1] http://www.blueavocado.org/content/board-member-contract
> ​
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Anybody alive?

2016-02-24 Thread George Herbert
I am nöt at WMF HQ but häve line öf sight to töp of building ånd nö UFÖ there 
nöw nösiree.

George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 24, 2016, at 10:55 AM, George Herbert <george.herb...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> 
> There åre nö pröblems in Sän Fränciscö.
> 
> We äre åll fine.
> 
> George William Herbert
> Sent from my iPhone
> 
>> On Feb 24, 2016, at 10:47 AM, Richard Symonds 
>> <richard.symo...@wikimedia.org.uk> wrote:
>> 
>> I'm not actually here, I'm a sockpuppet using my wife's laptop.
>> 
>> Richard Symonds
>> Wikimedia UK
>> 0207 065 0992
>> 
>> Wikimedia UK is a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England and
>> Wales, Registered No. 6741827. Registered Charity No.1144513. Registered
>> Office 4th Floor, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT.
>> United Kingdom. Wikimedia UK is the UK chapter of a global Wikimedia
>> movement. The Wikimedia projects are run by the Wikimedia Foundation (who
>> operate Wikipedia, amongst other projects).
>> 
>> *Wikimedia UK is an independent non-profit charity with no legal control
>> over Wikipedia nor responsibility for its contents.*
>> 
>> On 24 February 2016 at 18:20, Thehelpfulone <thehelpfulonew...@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> 
>>>> On 24 February 2016 at 18:18, Milos Rancic <mill...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> I think we should find first at least one of the list admins, so we
>>>> could find the names of the persons we are searching. Austin?
>>>> TheHelpfulOne? Richard (from Australia)?
>>> 
>>> *waves*, it's actually closer to ~1500, so a few more to find.
>>> 
>>> --
>>> Thehelpfulone
>>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Thehelpfulone
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Anybody alive?

2016-02-24 Thread George Herbert

There åre nö pröblems in Sän Fränciscö.

We äre åll fine.

George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 24, 2016, at 10:47 AM, Richard Symonds 
>  wrote:
> 
> I'm not actually here, I'm a sockpuppet using my wife's laptop.
> 
> Richard Symonds
> Wikimedia UK
> 0207 065 0992
> 
> Wikimedia UK is a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England and
> Wales, Registered No. 6741827. Registered Charity No.1144513. Registered
> Office 4th Floor, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT.
> United Kingdom. Wikimedia UK is the UK chapter of a global Wikimedia
> movement. The Wikimedia projects are run by the Wikimedia Foundation (who
> operate Wikipedia, amongst other projects).
> 
> *Wikimedia UK is an independent non-profit charity with no legal control
> over Wikipedia nor responsibility for its contents.*
> 
> On 24 February 2016 at 18:20, Thehelpfulone 
> wrote:
> 
>>> On 24 February 2016 at 18:18, Milos Rancic  wrote:
>>> 
>>> I think we should find first at least one of the list admins, so we
>>> could find the names of the persons we are searching. Austin?
>>> TheHelpfulOne? Richard (from Australia)?
>> 
>> *waves*, it's actually closer to ~1500, so a few more to find.
>> 
>> --
>> Thehelpfulone
>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Thehelpfulone
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] One Last Ride

2016-02-23 Thread George Herbert
Good luck.

George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 23, 2016, at 4:01 PM, Oliver Keyes  wrote:
> 
> I genuinely misread this as describing my wit as "strange and
> wonderful and awful".
> 
> ...actually you know what that still totally works ;p
> 
>> On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 6:55 PM, Brion Vibber  wrote:
>> Oliver, thanks for all your work -- and for helping to keep many of us sane
>> with your wit through times strange and wonderful and awful alike.
>> 
>> Take care of yourself and do good things!
>> 
>> -- brion
>>> On Feb 23, 2016 3:36 PM, "Oliver Keyes"  wrote:
>>> 
>>> Dear all,
>>> 
>>> I am leaving the Wikimedia Foundation to take up a job as a Senior
>>> Data Scientist at an information security company. My last day will be
>>> on 18 March.
>>> 
>>> After 12 months of continual stress, losses and workplace fear, I no
>>> longer wish to work for the Wikimedia Foundation.
>>> 
>>> While I appreciate that the Board of Trustees may take steps to
>>> rectify the situation, I have no confidence in their ability to
>>> effectively do so given their failure to solve for the problem until
>>> it became a publicity issue as well as a staff complaint.
>>> 
>>> I wish the movement and community the best of luck in building a
>>> fairer, more transparent and more representative governing structure.
>>> 
>>> All the best,
>>> Oliver Keyes
>>> Of these last 5 years, Wikimedia Foundation
>>> 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia-l Digest, Vol 143, Issue 141

2016-02-22 Thread George Herbert
Ido -

That was misattributed to Pine.  That's a quote from my 2am Pacific time mail 
on this thread.  The overly long one without a TLDR section at the top.

An approximate TLDR of the mail is that Lila's public statement articulates a 
vision and execution in progress of an intentionally destructive (to rebuild in 
another form) organizational shift, not an overly unusual change mechanism for 
tech organizations.  The term of art is "breaking a few eggs".

My core argument was that a change was possibly or probably needed, and it is 
not clearly wrong to have done that here, but that doing so in the Wikimedia 
Foundation without communicating clearly what was being done and why is 
probably the worst possible organization to do it in.  If the Board asked Lila 
to do that (not the change, but the destructive change without communications) 
it would have been a horrible error in the wider movement, a grave breach of 
trust. 

If they did not intend that or did not understand what was happening it's a 
very serious communications or governance issue.

That does not mean "fire the board" but it may mean we need a board change to 
gain the experience, skills, and perspective to avoid doing that again.

Board and ex board hints so far are that they did not mean to do that, so it 
appears to be the latter case.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

On Feb 22, 2016, at 2:18 PM, ido ivri  wrote:

>> 
>> I can only speak for myself here, but I'm really not tied to my position :)
>> If there is a clear signal from the wider community that I should step
>> down, I will.
> 
> There aren't such signals, and FWIW I think there shouldn't be: while quite
> a few people (myself included) expressed disappointment with the BoT as a
> governing body, you are the only member to have frequently and openly
> shared thoughts and information with the community. FWIW, I do hope you
> stick around - there are turbulent times ahead.
> 
> I do suggest, however, that for us to emerge better from all this, an
> honest, independent and *transparent* inspection of the BoT should take
> place. Such an inspection needs to offer suggestions to improve Board
> formation and size, communication, transparency, and, well, accountability
> towards the Foundation *and* the community. Dariusz, I hope you stay
> onboard (...) and push for something like that.
> 
> One side note, directed at Pine:
> It's irresponsible (and *deeply* disrespectful) for anyone on this list to
> be calling for resignations publicly - either those of Trustees, WMF
> Executives or anyone else. Yes, many of us agree that change needs to
> happen but let's not lose sight of how a good change process needs to
> occur: with civility and humility, with transparency and honesty and while
> preserving the good values[1] that already exist in our Movement and in the
> Foundation.
> 
> Ido
> 
> [1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Values
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership

2016-02-22 Thread George Herbert

I don't want to suggest the Board resign en masse today or anything like that; 
that would be overly catastrophic and dramatic, make recovering harder, hurt 
the people involved all around worse, etc.

I think we are getting more about what happened from Board perspectives.  That 
is very much appreciated.

The fixes will require why and how it happened.
 
If the answers to those indicate that the board's job description and skills 
needs changed, or other issues then you need to fix those either with training 
and growth or with new members.

You (we all) need to understand what the board's requirements and capabilities 
need to be.  Don't randomly change membership without knowing what is needed 
and whether new Trustees help solve that.

If you individually don't see yourself able to match those needs after they are 
articulated, I hope the Board members do the right thing for the movement and 
replace themselves with people who do. 

Thank you.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 22, 2016, at 11:31 AM, Dariusz Jemielniak  wrote:
> 
>> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 2:08 PM, Pine W  wrote:
>> 
>> I also hope that the current Board members will thoughtfully consider
>> whether it's in the best interests of the Wikimedia Foundation and the
>> larger Wikimedia movement for them to continue as Board members.
> 
> 
> I can only speak for myself here, but I'm really not tied to my position :)
> If there is a clear signal from the wider community that I should step
> down, I will. I'm not sure how this should work (obviously, there should be
> some practical balance between a valid concern of a community at large, and
> just a couple of people seeking disruption - which I'm not saying is the
> case here, just thinking about not creating a precedence), but all in all,
> the voice of the community should be heard, and especially in the case of
> community-elected seats - treated with utmost respect.
> 
> I believe that the community (including our staff) is the source of our
> competitive advantage. Not tech (great as it may be), not content (great as
> it is, but free to take). If this very community decides that I have failed
> in my role, or even that I have not, but there is a common perception that
> my continued tenure will not advance the movement, that's the way to go.
> 
> I don't think it would be wise to have a total simultaneous Board step-down
> though - at least a situation of zero continuity is dangerous.
> 
> dj
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread George Herbert
Thank you as well, Kat.

George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 22, 2016, at 10:11 AM, Kat Walsh <k...@mindspillage.org> wrote:
> 
> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 2:03 AM, George Herbert
> <george.herb...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> One phrase I see used quite often is "sometimes we need to break a few 
>> eggs."  For those who are not native american english speakers, this is 
>> referring to the need to move beyond shifting things around into breaking 
>> things apart, letting people go who may not fit in the new plan, stopping 
>> things outright, etc.  The eggs - people, projects, structures, policies, 
>> assumptions - need to partly go away - be broken - in order to reform.
>> 
>> Lila's vision here clearly calls the change campaign out as having 
>> explicitly intended to break eggs.
>> 
>> It further suggests strongly that this was the Board of Trustees' intention 
>> in hiring her, and that they agreed with breaking those eggs.
> 
> I left the board during the search process, but remained on the search
> committee. So while I cannot know what the board was thinking after
> her tenure began, I can say that the search committee was not looking
> for a "turnaround CEO"--at least to my understanding we were looking
> for someone who would be able to execute better on some of the areas
> (particularly engineering) where we wanted to make more improvements
> but hadn't.
> 
> (Which would naturally involve some change--but sweeping reforms were
> not envisioned; part of why Sue stepped down when she did was that she
> felt the organization was basically stable and could be smoothly
> handed off. It is certainly possible for someone to come in and decide
> that was a wrong assessment, but it wasn't what the committee had been
> looking for.)
> 
> -Kat
> 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread George Herbert
Thank you, Phoebe.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 22, 2016, at 10:06 AM, phoebe ayers <phoebe.w...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 5:03 AM, George Herbert
> <george.herb...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> Lila's vision here clearly calls the change campaign out as having 
>> explicitly intended to break eggs.
>> 
>> It further suggests strongly that this was the Board of Trustees' intention 
>> in hiring her, and that they agreed with breaking those eggs.
> 
> Since you bring it up, and ask for the perspective of past trustees --
> as one of the people who helped hired Lila, I did so because I found
> much of how she thought about technology, contribution and open
> knowledge compelling -- some of which is stated in her mail above --
> and I hoped that she'd have the right combination of openness and
> boldness to help lead us. I also thought she had the right foundation
> of skills and values to do the work in our weird, complex environment.
> 
> The Board's initial task for her, as it might have been for any new
> ED, was to learn the organization, continue with the usual running of
> the organization, and to work with us and Wikimedia as a whole to
> develop a strategy for the future. We expected and supported her
> focusing on technology, given what a big piece of the organization
> this is and her own background; and we supported explorations into the
> organization's culture and how it could improve.
> 
> I've heard a few conspiracy theories about how the board must have
> intended to clean house with Lila's hire. From my perspective, that
> was not the case. We hoped of course that Lila would help the
> organization improve -- but I am thinking of improvements like
> speeding up development and reducing drama around software rollouts,
> goals that I don't think would either come as a surprise to anyone or
> are particularly controversial.
> 
> That does not mean I was surprised that some staff left, especially in
> the first few months after she was hired. People do leave in a
> leadership transition, for many reasons. And I also was not surprised
> by the possibility that Lila might create a  different style of
> working environment at the Foundation, which would lead others to
> leave later. I am surprised and saddened however by this current
> crisis (and the last few months leading up to it). According to many
> people, things seem to have gone quite badly in terms of
> communication, giving guidance and developing organizational consensus
> around strategy. Those problems are general problems of execution and
> management, and that is deeply unfortunate.
> 
> best,
> Phoebe
> 
> -- 
> * I use this address for lists; send personal messages to phoebe.ayers
>  gmail.com *
> 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread George Herbert

I have been letting Lila's mail stew in my brain for a little while, and I am 
going to respond now having had time to think it over.

I apologize in advance for the length.  There are three main sections to my 
analysis and argument, and then some concluding points and implications.


First - the good.  I believe most here should agree that the Wikipedia 
movement, communities, projects all have had and have today major challenges.  
An immense good is done by what we have all communally built, but there are 
things wrong we haven't fixed.

Lila's ED statement lays out a subset of the total problems, effectively 
briefly explains her reasoning on why they are problematic, and forms a vision 
statement for engaging with fixing them.  It's a vision statement and a call to 
action, and contains the kind of leadership we need.

One can quibble about the set of problems to focus on or priorities, long and 
short term goals.  I am sure people will.  But the Foundation needs a 
leadership vision like this.  It can evolve over time, but we should think in 
these terms.


Second - I want to focus now on this section to explain what I see as having 
gone wrong.

Quoting Lila:

> In practice this means I demanded that we set standards for staff
> communication with our community to be professional and respectful. It
> meant transitioning people, shutting down pet projects, promoting some but
> not others, demanding goals and results to get funding. This level of
> change is necessary to set up our organization to address the challenges of
> the next decade.
> 
> 
> All of this means stepping away from our comfort zones to create capacity
> for building programs and technologies that will support us in the future.
> It is a demanding and difficult task to perform an organizational change at
> this scale and speed.


For context:

I am an IT industry technical consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area with 
well over 20 years experience and 18 of those consulting.  I have literally 
seen the insides of 100 organizations big and small.

Many of those organizations were broken or failing, and needed serious reform 
to succeed.  I've seen and participated in a number of restructurings, 
including helping plan some.  These things are sometimes necessary.

One phrase I see used quite often is "sometimes we need to break a few eggs."  
For those who are not native american english speakers, this is referring to 
the need to move beyond shifting things around into breaking things apart, 
letting people go who may not fit in the new plan, stopping things outright, 
etc.  The eggs - people, projects, structures, policies, assumptions - need to 
partly go away - be broken - in order to reform.

Lila's vision here clearly calls the change campaign out as having explicitly 
intended to break eggs.

It further suggests strongly that this was the Board of Trustees' intention in 
hiring her, and that they agreed with breaking those eggs.

These types of reforms are at times necessary.  I do not know from the outside 
whether they were necessary for successful at the WMF, but for now I agree this 
may well have been necessary and proper.  Some of those affected may disagree; 
I don't seek to diminish that discussion but for now am putting it aside.

We come now to what I think went wrong with this change that I agree may have 
needed to happen.

Broken eggs type major organizational changes are launched with varying degrees 
of planning and vision and coordination beforehand.  I have seen such launched, 
in process, or the aftereffects across the range of initial planning and 
communications from none at all at one extreme to clearly envisioned, planned, 
communicated, and executed at the other.

Lila here and now communicated a clear vision for what was intended and why, 
and the intention to "break eggs" to do it.  I had not previously seen anything 
like this, or even a good suggestion of this.  Nobody I know of in the 
community seems to have seen or guessed at it.  From the comments we are 
seeing, a lot of current and ex Foundation staff do not seem to have seen it.  
Nobody has yet admitted they had seen it, after Lila's post.

I don't know how well it was understood before/during by more senior staff / 
leadership staff, the Board, or laid out this clearly and coherently in Lila's 
head.

There are undoubtedly a range of answers to those questions depending on who 
you ask and what time period we ask about.

I will bound the extremes of credible answers with "clearly articulated and 
communicated at high levels, including commitment to change by breaking eggs", 
or at the other extreme "this was not clearly envisioned or articulated or 
communicated at high levels beforehand."

I want to emphasize this: Either the senior leadership launched a major broken 
eggs extent reform without communicating what was happening to major community 
and staff stakeholders on purpose, or by accident, or somewhere in between with 
mixed 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF trustee Arnnon Geshuri and part in anticompetitive agreements in Google

2016-01-20 Thread George Herbert
There was a finding of civil, not criminal, liability in the case.  Against the 
companies as a whole not individuals.

Generally such never becomes individual liability or criminality.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Jan 20, 2016, at 6:12 PM, Ricordisamoa  
> wrote:
> 
> Has Arnnon been actually convicted of a felony? Where is presumption of 
> innocence?
> The firing was part of a larger system he seems unlikely to have set up on 
> his own volition.
> Look at his face 
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arnnon_Geshuri_-_January_2016_by_Myleen_Hollero.jpg
> 
> Il 08/01/2016 17:43, Kevin Gorman ha scritto:
>> I'm going to publicly second (or third, or fifth,) the idea that given
>> Arnnon's role in an incident involving illegal anti-poaching agreements he
>> should either be removed from the board with haste, or the board should
>> publish an incredibly good reason as to why he should remain on it.  Keep
>> in mind that Arnnon wasn't a bystander to this scandal, he actively fired a
>> recruiter who failed to follow the terms of an illegal anti-poaching
>> agreement in less than one hour of being informed about it in the first
>> place.  I like to think of Wikimedia as a relatively humane movement, and
>> there are very few situations where I'm comfortable with someone who is
>> that comfortable with the idea of firing an employee (who had presumably
>> been there for some time) within sixty minutes of learning the employee
>> didn't follow an illegal agreement having the degree of influence over the
>> movement that members of the Board of Trustees have.
>> 
>> The Wikimedia movement is not a movement whose direction should be set by
>> someone with that degree of callousness - and the fact that he happily
>> participated in the sort of anti-competitive agreement he did, which he
>> must have known was illegal and which exposed his former employers to not
>> insignificant liability, brings forth significant doubt as to whether or
>> not he can reasonably be trusted to carry out his fiduciary duties as a
>> trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation.
>> 
>> 
>> Kevin Gorman
>> 
>>> On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 5:27 AM, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:
>>> 
>>> My apologies. I just noticed the resolutions were in fact added on January
>>> 6, 2016.[1]
>>> 
>>> They are dated December 9, 2015. Both appointments were unanimous.
>>> 
>>> [1]
>>> 
>>> https://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=Resolutions=104423=104354
>>> 
 On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 1:22 PM, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:
 
 The resolutions and voting records for these recent appointments have not
 yet been posted tohttps://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolutions
 
 Could the page please be brought up to date?
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread George Herbert

Could we stop catastrophizing the situation to the extent of open discussion of 
project forks, boycotts, etc?

Even if the board of trustees does turn out to have made a horrible mistake, 
there are many steps to remedy that short of ending the world.

So far the best description I can think of is that we have a bunch of people 
who were there struggling to describe the situation without breaching duty to 
the organization or resorting to attacks, the information release results of 
which so far are unsatisfying to concerned external parties such as most of us.

It's responsible to reiterate that we (the community) do need real answers to 
some of these questions, and that existing answers were unsatisfactory.  
Further work is needed.  Delays are not confidence building, but obviously 
these are complicated issues to untangle.  I for one would appreciate the board 
being more explicit.

This ultimately comes down to trust in people and the Board.  Without 
information trust ebbs.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Jan 2, 2016, at 12:37 AM, "Peter Southwood"  
> wrote:
> 
> Just as you say.
> No threat to WMF if they don’t care about retaining the editing community.
> If all else fails thy could just sell advertising
> Cheers,
> Peter
> 
> -Original Message-
> From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:wikimedia-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org] On Behalf 
> Of Tim Landscheidt
> Sent: Saturday, 02 January 2016 8:16 AM
> To: wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board
> 
> "Peter Southwood"  wrote:
> 
>> I agree.
>> The situation may well be metastable, in that the WMF may get away 
>> with alienating the crowd for a long time, until it reaches a tipping 
>> point, when the reaction becomes catastrophic and non-reversible. At 
>> which point there will be a large number of people who will say they 
>> told them so, but it may well be too late to reassemble the debris. 
>> Something will survive , but maybe not Wikipedia as we know it. How 
>> far we are from the tipping point is anybody's guess. At present the 
>> vast majority of the crowd are probably totally unaware of the 
>> problems, but I personally would not bet the survival of Wikipedia 
>> against them staying and continuing to produce for free if there was a 
>> major walkout by the volunteers who currently keep the show on the 
>> road. Will the level of donations remain viable if the general public 
>> witnesses a meltdown? Would you bet on it?
>> […]
> 
> That is irrelevant for threatening WMF.  If at some point in time WMF would 
> no longer raise enough funds, its staff would just have to pick new jobs 
> somewhere else (just like all other employees do in a similar situation).  
> Working at WMF probably has some amenities, but noone bases their decisions 
> on fears that as an effect their contract might be termi- nated in ten or 
> twenty years.  Even less so do trustees plan that they can replace their 
> summer holiday with a trip to Wikimania till eternity.
> 
> And it's also irrelevant for writing an online encyclopedia.
> You don't need the current level of funding as only a frac- tion actually 
> goes to expenditures necessary for /that/, and if you have viewers, you will 
> have (more than sufficient) donations.
> 
> So while a reaction may be "catastrophic and non-re- versible", if the 
> possible effect is a minor nuisance at worst, then it cannot be a motivating 
> factor.
> 
> Tim
> 
> 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2015-12-31 Thread George Herbert
TLDR version:

We are not yet convinced James was not removed for doing what he was elected to 
do.

I have good faith in everyone involved, and the capacity and intent to withhold 
judgement for a while, but the explanations so far have not helped.  This is 
not transparent enough.  As everyone who's been around for a while knows, lack 
of transparency will cause strife worse than any good faith disagreement.

George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 31, 2015, at 5:25 PM, Kevin Gorman  wrote:
> 
> Patricio -
> 
> I understand that the final decision likely wasn't predecided going in to
> the meeting, however, communications responses should have been prepared
> for all likely outcomes, including a prepared statement to disseminate
> immediately following the removal from the board of Jame Heilman.  Even if
> he hadn't announced it himself, it should have been anticipated that people
> would realize the removal had occurred - I'm aware of relatively few
> WMF-related matters, even at a BoT level, that don't eventually leaked if
> they aren't promptly announced.  When you see a candidate who just lost his
> election giving a concession speech, he didn't write it after he heard the
> election results - he likely had it 99% finalized days or weeks before he
> lost the election (and this is true even of candidates who really, truly
> expected to win their election.  I was an unpaid WMF comms intern some
> years ago, and even then we regularly drafted statements in advance of it
> being clear they were needed.  Since WMF comms has only become more
> professionalized since my time there, I'm positive that this is still
> standard practice for major issues for WMF comms. It might be a good idea
> to speak with Katherine or someone else in WMF comms to guide the board in
> best practices in communication on issues like this in the future.
> 
> Additionally, I'd like to correct you on another point: Florida trustees
> don't have an absolute duty of confidentiality.  I suspected this given the
> training I was given before being put on the board of a decently large body
> incorporated in California, but just confirmed it with a Florida lawyer.
> WMF Trustees have fidicuiary duties to the WMF; in practice, the two main
> details this encompasses are (a) a duty of loyalty (an obligation to put
> the interests of WMF above the interests of themselves and (b) a duty of
> care (an obligation to carry out their trustee-related duties in a way that
> an ordinary and prudent person would carry out the management of their own
> affairs - or if you're a lawyer etc, a an obligation to carry out your
> trustee-related duties in a way that a lawyer of average skill and prudence
> would.)  Many other duties derive from these two, but don't override them.
> Frequently, a duty of confidentiality is involved - for instance,
> disclosing material that would hurt WMF in an ongoing lawsuit against WMF
> would be a violation of your obligation to maintain confidentiality - but
> that obligation only exists (barring an outside contract with another
> organization) as a derivative of your duties of loyalty and your duties of
> care.  If you believe that prompt disclosure of the details of whatever
> happen w/r/t James is in the interests of WMF (examples of why it might be
> in the interests of WMF: failing to promptly disclose as many details as
> reasonably possible could significantly damage comunity trust in WMF, or
> generate significant bad press for WMF,) then you most likely don't only
> not have a duty of confidentiality that stops you from closing, you may
> actually have a positive duty to disclose depending on how significant you
> believe that consequences of failing to disclose would be.
> 
> I don't have sekrit knowledge about why James was removed, but knowing him,
> and reading your last email, I'm going to venture a guess that James may
> have wanted WMF board meetings to be more transparent, or he may have
> wanted to seek the counsel of community members not on the board about
> issues in front of the board.  In fact, he may have felt that failing to
> seek outside advice on some issues or failing to make WMF board meetings in
> general would have represented a violation of his fidicuiary duties of
> loyalty and care.  I really hope that the Board comes out with a more
> complete statement in the immediate future, because speculation about is
> going on during a high tension situation like this is never a good thing.
> Dariusz would never have opposed his removal if it was 'for cause' if that
> cause was something like James violating his fidicuiary duties in the sense
> of leaking sensitive details to the press, leaking info to people suing
> WMF, engaging in outright theft, etc. I have a feeling that James' removal
> did relate to him desiring increased transparency, and that does make me
> distinctly nervous,
> 
> Andreas: by my reading of that, it would mean that even if he were a
> 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2015-12-29 Thread George Herbert
We need an attorney, but...

It looks like Bylaws IV sect 7 *could* override 617.0808 (1) via 617.0808 (2) 
which says that a IRS 501 (c) organization's bylaws can provide procedures 
(presumably different than 617.0808 (1) ), but says that you may include 
617.0808 (1), and WMF does, explicitly.

So... On first impression, the Bylaws self-contradict by including 617.0808 (1) 
explicitly after having provided a non-617.0808 (1) compliant mechanism.

"Any Trustee may be removed, with or without cause, by a majority vote of the 
Trustees then in office...", without regard for 617.0808 (1) (a) 2. Which 
requires that directors elected by the members be removed by majority vote of 
the members.

So... On first impression, the Bylaws have a glitch and the Board action may 
therefore arguably be illegal and potentially void.  There may be applicable 
case law on standards for de-glitchifying contradictions like this, or it might 
be case specific and requiring litigation.

That is not to say there was no possible good reason or justification, the real 
crux of the matter.  On the matter of community concern over trust I am as 
ill-informed right now as everyone else not on the Board.

I am not an attorney.

I do think the Foundation legal staff need to review and some fix to this needs 
to be made to the Bylaws for the future, either overriding 617.0808 (1) (a) 2. 
explicitly or by making community vote explicitly the recall mechanism for 
trustees elected by the community.

George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 29, 2015, at 5:19 AM, Todd Allen  wrote:
> 
> It's more complex if they've acted illegally, certainly. Under the law
> they're citing, it looks like they have. Since community directors are
> elected by a "class" (editors meeting the eligibility requirements), the
> law states removal would be possible only by that class, one would presume
> by referendum in this case.
> 
> I think we need to know if the Board considered this requirement.
> On Dec 29, 2015 5:33 AM, "Gerard Meijssen" 
> wrote:
> 
>> Hoi,
>>  it is a great shitstorm Do remember that a community chosen
>> representative voted the other community chosen representative out. It is
>> not a case of he must be good, the others are bad. It is more complicated.
>> Thanks,
>>  GerardM
>> 
>>> On 29 December 2015 at 13:19, Gnangarra  wrote:
>>> 
>>> there are bigger questions than why like;
>>> 
>>>   - how can this take place
>>>   - how can the community ensure its representatives independence in the
>>>   future,
>>>   - what effect will this have on other elected representatives on the
>>>   board
>>> 
>>> The Florida statute(
>>> https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/617.0808 ) referred
>>> to earlier says that If a director is elected by a class, chapter, or
>> other
>>> organizational unit, or by region or other geographic grouping, the
>>> director may be removed only by the members of that class, chapter, unit,
>>> or grouping.  Do they even have ability to remove the person in the first
>>> place given the action of the board why are they also determining the
>> next
>>> steps in the replacing our representative.
>>> 
>>> Gn.
>>> 
 On 29 December 2015 at 19:53, Thomas Goldammer  wrote:
 
 2015-12-29 10:15 GMT+01:00 Isarra Yos :
 
 
> It says a lot, but just what that is depends entirely on the context.
>>> And
> for community members who voted for him, that context could mean we
 should
> also no longer have confidence in him elsewhere in the projects, or
>> in
 the
> board, or have no bearing on either thing whatsoever. Not knowing
>> just
> means there's no indication what to trust.
 
 
 I'd rather lose the trust and confidence in those 8 Board members than
>> in
 him without knowing what was the cause for his disbarment. ;)
 
 Maybe the Board by-laws have to be changed, too. Throwing out a
 community-elected member like this, without providing a reason, is no
>> way
 to deal with the community who elected this member. It should be
>>> mandatory
 that the Board provides reasons together with the announcement to avoid
 exactly this kind of discussions and speculations, not a day (or more)
 later.
 
 And as for no-cause disbarments for community-elected members in a
 community-driven environment - uhm... I don't need to delve into that,
 everyone can see the problem. The Board should just not be allowed to
 disbar community-elected members without a cause, as that undermines
>> the
 authority of the community over those seats on the Board.
 
 Th.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2015-12-29 Thread George Herbert
Bylaws IV Sect 3. (C) says that they're elected by the community then approved 
by the board subject to other requirements.

Starting (first sentence) with "Three Trustees will be selected from candidates 
approved through community voting." would seem to make them subject to 617.0808 
(1) (a) 2. (Removal by members vote) even if there's an additional step in 
approval joining the board.

I am not an attorney.

George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 29, 2015, at 5:27 AM, Michael Peel  wrote:
> 
> From what I understand, the community elections don't directly elect/appoint 
> WMF board members, but essentially provide a recommendation that the WMF 
> board then approves. Have a look at the text of:
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:James_Heilman_appointment_2015
>  
> 
> and the phrasing at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_elections_2015#Process 
> 
> specifically, "The candidates with the highest percentage of support will be 
> recommended to the Board of Trustees for appointment."
> 
> So the "class" here would be the WMF board, not the community.
> 
> But, of course, IANAL.
> 
> BTW, it's more "community selected" than "community representative". There's 
> an important distinction there.
> 
> Thanks,
> Mike
> 
>> On 29 Dec 2015, at 13:19, Todd Allen  wrote:
>> 
>> It's more complex if they've acted illegally, certainly. Under the law
>> they're citing, it looks like they have. Since community directors are
>> elected by a "class" (editors meeting the eligibility requirements), the
>> law states removal would be possible only by that class, one would presume
>> by referendum in this case.
>> 
>> I think we need to know if the Board considered this requirement.
>> On Dec 29, 2015 5:33 AM, "Gerard Meijssen" 
>> wrote:
>> 
>>> Hoi,
>>>  it is a great shitstorm Do remember that a community chosen
>>> representative voted the other community chosen representative out. It is
>>> not a case of he must be good, the others are bad. It is more complicated.
>>> Thanks,
>>> GerardM
>>> 
 On 29 December 2015 at 13:19, Gnangarra  wrote:
 
 there are bigger questions than why like;
 
  - how can this take place
  - how can the community ensure its representatives independence in the
  future,
  - what effect will this have on other elected representatives on the
  board
 
 The Florida statute(
 https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/617.0808 ) referred
 to earlier says that If a director is elected by a class, chapter, or
>>> other
 organizational unit, or by region or other geographic grouping, the
 director may be removed only by the members of that class, chapter, unit,
 or grouping.  Do they even have ability to remove the person in the first
 place given the action of the board why are they also determining the
>>> next
 steps in the replacing our representative.
 
 Gn.
 
> On 29 December 2015 at 19:53, Thomas Goldammer  wrote:
> 
> 2015-12-29 10:15 GMT+01:00 Isarra Yos :
> 
> 
>> It says a lot, but just what that is depends entirely on the context.
 And
>> for community members who voted for him, that context could mean we
> should
>> also no longer have confidence in him elsewhere in the projects, or
>>> in
> the
>> board, or have no bearing on either thing whatsoever. Not knowing
>>> just
>> means there's no indication what to trust.
> 
> 
> I'd rather lose the trust and confidence in those 8 Board members than
>>> in
> him without knowing what was the cause for his disbarment. ;)
> 
> Maybe the Board by-laws have to be changed, too. Throwing out a
> community-elected member like this, without providing a reason, is no
>>> way
> to deal with the community who elected this member. It should be
 mandatory
> that the Board provides reasons together with the announcement to avoid
> exactly this kind of discussions and speculations, not a day (or more)
> later.
> 
> And as for no-cause disbarments for community-elected members in a
> community-driven environment - uhm... I don't need to delve into that,
> everyone can see the problem. The Board should just not be allowed to
> disbar community-elected members without a cause, as that undermines
>>> the
> authority of the community over those seats on the Board.
> 
> Th.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Commons / OTRS is broken

2015-02-04 Thread George Herbert
Aubrey -

It's not a tools problem, it's a time and number of people problem.

It necessarily draws upon the smaller pool of more stable, mature responsible 
levelheaded good judgement Wikipedians, who are in short supply on-Wiki now 
much less available for lots of extra off-Wiki, poorly understood or 
(community) acknowledged work.

Speaking of which, tomorrow I'm going to reapply to reactivate my OTRS, as 
there's a need and I have bandwidth again...


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

 On Feb 4, 2015, at 2:46 AM, Andrea Zanni zanni.andre...@gmail.com wrote:
 
 Thanks Ryan for the clarification.
 My question is: what could we ask, as a community, to the WMF, o to
 chapters?
 Is there some tool/task/workflow that could receive help from Wikimedia?
 Maybe a new software, or some trusted agents in key position, or something
 else.
 What could speed up the volunteers work?
 
 Aubrey
 
 
 On Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 11:38 AM, Rjd0060 rjd0060.w...@gmail.com wrote:
 
 James,
 
 
 I realize your tickets were already resolved but I thought I'd take a
 moment to clarify the issues that cause the delays in response.
 
 
 The Wikimedia Volunteer Response Team (OTRS) relies on the generous work
 of hundreds of volunteers from all over the world to handle hundreds of
 thousands of e-mails each year.
 
 The scope of these tickets range from vandalism reports or technical issues
 to problems with biographies of living people and other generic edit
 requests, and dozens of other categories.  A large percentage of the
 overall tickets received are permissions tickets -- e-mails used to
 verify the release of content on Wikimedia sites, typically from third
 parties.
 
 Like every project that Wikimedians work on, there are various things that
 the volunteers are tasked to handle. The agents who take on this role do so
 in addition to their existing editing activities, often at the cost of
 their own free time. Due to the trust and patience required to handle these
 public-facing aspects of Wikimedia, the pool of available volunteers tends
 to be smaller than in other areas of the projects. Unfortunately, backlogs
 can occasionally crop up and take a bit of time to deal with, especially in
 the more complicated e-mails (like BLPs), that can take up to an hour to
 process. It happens on every large Wikimedia project -- where some backlogs
 never get cleared (just look at the English Wikipedia’s articles with
 unsourced statements! [1])-- so it is something I believe almost all of us
 can relate to in one way or another.
 
 We had very good queue levels for much of 2014, but began noticing an
 increase in permissions and general information tickets (specifically in
 the English language) around the end of the year. Unfortunately, the end of
 the year typically shows higher than usual response times, likely because
 of volunteer free time. While OTRS agents are very dedicated, answering
 tickets can be stressful at times, so it’s not typically the type of thing
 you’ll want to during holiday vacations. Pair those longer response times
 with an increase in tickets because of our hard-working Wikimedians adding
 content and submitting more permissions tickets in their holiday free time,
 and it creates a bit of a backlog. :-)
 
 Just as in other areas of our projects, backlogs are inevitable, especially
 in the more mundane and tougher areas. However, our dedicated pool of
 volunteers works diligently to clear these backlogs when they come up.
 While, again, it’s a tough job that’s not for everyone, we always welcome
 new applicants. Actually, we're continuously adding new agents. In 2014 we
 added 62 new community queue accounts[2] to handle general information and
 permissions inquiries. Additionally, our agent retention is better - we
 lost about half as many agents in 2014 as we did in 2013. But finally, if
 you really want to help with the backlogs, we’re always looking for great
 new team members.  Feel free to throw up an application on
 [[m:OTRS/Volunteering]] if you think you’d make a good agent and we’ll be
 happy to review it.
 
 Basically, OTRS is tough job that runs into backlogs just like any other
 part of Wikimedia. However, we’re continuously working to add more agents
 and clear those backlogs as soon as they start.
 
 I hope this helps clarify the current issues.
 
 Ryan // User:Rjd0060
 
 (OTRS admin)
 
 [1]
 
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:All_articles_with_unsourced_statements
 
 [2] Community queue accounts are OTRS accounts with access to queues that
 answer general information inquiries about our projects, permissions and/or
 photosubmissions tickets. Other types of accounts do not have answer these
 tickets, but instead have access to a smaller subset of queues, such as
 those related to the Foundation (e.g., donations), chapters, or advanced
 rights on the projects (e.g., oversight, stewards). See
 https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/OTRS/Access_policy#Community_queues for
 more 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] The tragedy of Commons

2014-06-17 Thread George Herbert
On Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 8:58 AM, Pete Forsyth petefors...@gmail.com wrote:


 Can you clarify -- who do you intend by we? If your answer is English
 Wikipedia, I think we already have a somewhat workable solution to this
 complex problem: fair use is permitted in certain cases.[2] Of course, you
 probably mean something broader. But the solution English Wikipedia has
 chosen is available, by virtue of a WMF resolution,[3] to every Wikimedia
 project. So if fair use is the issue, why not simply propose permitting it
 at specific local projects?


The whole point of Commons is to serve as a central repository of shared
images for Projects to use together.  The same image on en.wikipedia and
ru.wikipedia and es.wikipedia and the dictionaries and books and travel
and...

The failure of Commons is that it's defaulting to a fuzzily defined highest
common denominator on licensing.

What we need here is another shared image repo which is defaulting to the
*lowest* common denominator on licensing.  I.e., somewhere I can stick an
image which is fair usable on en.wikipedia and make it available to all the
other projects, even if it would fail Commons retention criteria.

It is in the combination of the only common repository and highest
common denominator that Commons fails.  I have no problem with Commons
remaining as-is if we have an alternate lowest-common-denominator image
repo that will automatically be searched for images as Commons is now.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The tragedy of Commons

2014-06-17 Thread George Herbert
On Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 10:13 AM, Todd Allen toddmal...@gmail.com wrote:

 If we don't maintain the focus on free media, we may as well direct people
 to a web image search, all of which is use at your own risk anyway, just
 like our proposed new repository. Being free content is the Commons value
 add over Google Images or the like. Keeping a nonfree image repository
 adds... what?


 It allows free reuse of images which fall under the fair use criteria
between separate Projects, without directly copying them N times between
the projects, which is an obvious and self evident waste of time and disk
space.

If fair use is allowed at all, and it is, then we should support
inter-project reuse on a reasonable basis.  What Commons has become with
its copyright Stazi is no longer acceptable as a component of a project
whose educational goal has always and must remain an equally balanced part
of its total portfolio.

This is not a call to disband Commons; the project and world benefit from
that existing as is.  But we need an alternative to support the educational
mission, reasonable inter-project reuse, and end the endless deletion wars.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The tragedy of Commons

2014-06-17 Thread George Herbert
Pete -

An apologia for Commons, and the obvious implication that use on projects
will have to (if people actually care to enforce local standards) require
checking license status for every Project use, do not in any way lessen the
need for Uncommons.


On Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 11:26 AM, Pete Forsyth petefors...@gmail.com
wrote:

 On Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 11:12 AM, George Herbert george.herb...@gmail.com
 
 wrote:

  On Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 8:58 AM, Pete Forsyth petefors...@gmail.com
  wrote:
 
  
   Can you clarify -- who do you intend by we? If your answer is
 English
   Wikipedia, I think we already have a somewhat workable solution to
 this
   complex problem: fair use is permitted in certain cases.[2] Of course,
  you
   probably mean something broader. But the solution English Wikipedia has
   chosen is available, by virtue of a WMF resolution,[3] to every
 Wikimedia
   project. So if fair use is the issue, why not simply propose permitting
  it
   at specific local projects?
 
 
  The whole point of Commons is to serve as a central repository of shared
  images for Projects to use together.


 I think if we're going to talk about the *whole* point of Commons, we
 should look back at the original proposal for its establishment, which
 clearly identified it as a place for *freely licensed* works:
 http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2004-March/014885.html


  The same image on en.wikipedia and
  ru.wikipedia and es.wikipedia and the dictionaries and books and travel
  and...
 

 But en.wikipedia and ru.wikipedia and es.wikipedia have different standards
 about whether a non-free file can be used. So, does a shared repository for
 non-free files really make sense, considering that most projects prohibit
 them outright, and those few that do permit them only permit them under
 very narrow and unique circumstances?

 
  The failure of Commons
 

 The failure of Commons? You consider the most extensive project created in
 the Wikimedia movement a failure? On what grounds?

 I have no problem with Commons
  remaining as-is if we have an alternate lowest-common-denominator image
  repo that will automatically be searched for images as Commons is now.


 Fair use law in the U.S. is pretty tightly tied to the way something is
 used; so the very act of publishing something *outside* of a use context
 would, by its very nature, strain at the limits of the fair use provision.
 And English Wikipedia's standards are actually much tighter than those of
 the U.S. law in that regard.

 -Pete
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The tragedy of Commons

2014-06-17 Thread George Herbert
On Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM, Nathan nawr...@gmail.com wrote:

 I don't think the concept of the project is the problem. I'm skeptical that
 an Uncommons project built around fair use could be workable, considering
 that the validity of a fair use claim is context-specific and no cross-wiki
 project (like Commons) is going to have an easy time managing that
 requirement.


We don't have to.  As a basic inclusion rule, someone justified an image on
a fair-use project, and someone else wants to share it.  If its use gets
deleted on both those wikis (and anywhere else that started using it) due
to not complying with fair use, and it stays out of use, we identify a
cleanup procedure.  But as long as a basically credible it's fair use over
here exists for 1 or more projects, it's a candidate for Uncommons.

Uncommons should *never* see an image deleted out from under an article
using it, for example.  If someone feels it's not compliant with X wiki's
local fair use criteria, they go to X wiki, argue the case, get it removed
from the article(s).  Uncommons would consider deletion if all the projects
which tried to use it rejected it on fair use grounds.

Caveat that a copyright violation in the US, where the servers are, may
still need to be removed even if fair-use in (for example) Argentina and
Botswana apply, which is unfortunate, but we have a process for people to
report copyvios of their images to the Foundation, and allowing OTRS to do
their thing as usual would cover that.



 The problem is the behavior of a certain core set of Commons admins; time
 and time and time again we have it reported here, we see it on Commons.
 While not lawyers, they attempt to be extraordinarily demanding when it
 comes to legal accuracy. Far more than the actual WMF lawyers have
 required, incidentally.

 It's not surprising that the locus of the dispute often revolves around
 community members who have been banned on other projects but reached
 positions of authority on Commons. Perhaps Commons social structures
 haven't evolved enough to deal with people who are both productive and
 deeply disruptive, and who are not uncivil but contribute to a toxic
 environment.



I understand, and applaud those who still want to attempt to reform that.
 The curation of the free content is affected along with the spillover into
fair use content.

That said, it's time to move on, for a large bulk of the content hosting
role.  The fight now engaged on Commons is not the fight that content
creators and curators on projects need or want to be engaged in.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The tragedy of Commons

2014-06-17 Thread George Herbert
And yet we have a global, and in many cases (and specifically, en.wp) local
Fair Use policy, which is quite actively and productively used, and has
been since around day one of the first Wikipedia.

Uncommons is not a change in policy.  It is ultimately a technical matter;
a software and project solution to disagreement as to whether Commons'
project reflects the totality of the Projects' desires and needs for shared
content or not.

The MP4 thing is not the sole and total consensus.  The totality of
consensus has been and remains that Fair Use - not unlimited, but within
reason and focused on educational value - is here to stay.  Unless you
intend to try to roll that back on en.wikipedia and the Foundation policy,
then objecting to a technical solution to make that content more
practically reusable is simple obstructionism towards the educational
mission.

It is time to rebalance in favor of fairly and equitably supporting the
educational mission.



On Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 12:25 PM, Pete Forsyth petefors...@gmail.com
wrote:

 On Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM, Nathan nawr...@gmail.com wrote:

  The problem is the behavior of a certain core set of Commons admins;
 

 George, SJ, and Nathan:

 In addition to Erik Moeller's initial proposal that Commons be used as a
 repository for *free* media files (linked previously), there has been a
 very recent referendum that speaks very directly to the Wikimedia
 community's commitment to holding the line on the principles of free
 licenses, even in the face of negative practical consequences. That
 referendum was the recent proposal to use the MP4 format. When concluded,
 more than 300 people had voted against compromising on this principle,
 while fewer then 150 voted in favor.[1] Of course there are some
 considerations that are specific to that case, but it is useful to consider
 now, because the central topic is essentially the same in both cases:

 Should we sacrifice free content principles, if that sacrifice will enable
 us to distribute more educational content?

 The answer was a resounding no.

 The people you, Nathan, are accusing of behaving badly, are the ones who
 are doing the hard, day-do-day work of enforcing the expressed consensus of
 the Wikimedia community, which values a commitment to free licenses.

 -Pete
 [[User:Peteforsyth]]

 [1]
 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Requests_for_comment/MP4_Video
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The tragedy of Commons

2014-06-17 Thread George Herbert
On Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 12:51 PM, Nathan nawr...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 3:29 PM, George Herbert george.herb...@gmail.com
 wrote:

  On Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM, Nathan nawr...@gmail.com wrote:
 
   I don't think the concept of the project is the problem. I'm skeptical
  that
   an Uncommons project built around fair use could be workable,
  considering
   that the validity of a fair use claim is context-specific and no
  cross-wiki
   project (like Commons) is going to have an easy time managing that
   requirement.
  
 
  We don't have to.  As a basic inclusion rule, someone justified an image
 on
  a fair-use project, and someone else wants to share it.  If its use gets
  deleted on both those wikis (and anywhere else that started using it) due
  to not complying with fair use, and it stays out of use, we identify a
  cleanup procedure.  But as long as a basically credible it's fair use
 over
  here exists for 1 or more projects, it's a candidate for Uncommons.
 
  Uncommons should *never* see an image deleted out from under an article
  using it, for example.  If someone feels it's not compliant with X wiki's
  local fair use criteria, they go to X wiki, argue the case, get it
 removed
  from the article(s).  Uncommons would consider deletion if all the
 projects
  which tried to use it rejected it on fair use grounds.
 
  Caveat that a copyright violation in the US, where the servers are, may
  still need to be removed even if fair-use in (for example) Argentina and
  Botswana apply, which is unfortunate, but we have a process for people to
  report copyvios of their images to the Foundation, and allowing OTRS to
 do
  their thing as usual would cover that.
 
 

 So you want to split the role of image repository into two projects - one
 that is freely reusable for all possible reusers, and one that is useful in
 the first instance for all WMF projects and secondarily for anyone else
 using it in an educational context.

 Ok, I get that. But there are some unanswered questions:

 1) Why would our Uncommons be superior to Flickr or any other repository
 of images that can be used under fair use doctrine? Is it that we are
 categorizing them? That we might be able to select the best file for a
 particular usage, and replicate that out in context across projects?



Well, let's start with control and quality control.

If I put an illustration on Flickr, and you say Oh, cool, great for
Wikipedia article on Foo and image linked it, I could take it down or
change it.  Minor modifications are one thing; me taking my Flickr and
changing it from Nyan Cat to a pair of human female breasts, the day that
the Wikipedia article on Foo was featured article of the day, is a big deal.

Another issue is copyright enforcement.  On WMF projects, we have the
consistent reporting and investigation mechanism under DMCA using OTRS or
Legal (depending on how upset the complaintant is), with contextual
understanding of WMF project usage, ability to see who and what articles
depend on an image, etc.  We have and take due responsibility with
sensitivity to Context.  For Flickr, they have no responsibility to us or
our articles; they care only about their direct user and themselves.  They
may use much less stringent criteria for establishing that a copyright
problem exists than OTRS does, for example.

I don't see Uncommons as a selection mechanism.  I see it as a logical
sharing mechanism for things that editors who are doing cross-wiki content
pollination projects can use easily and painlessly.  They're selecting what
content from (mostly) larger wikis they want on smaller ones (and sometimes
the other way around).  This is just the one stop shopping location to put
the common version in once you determine you'd like to use this image in
five articles across five languages.



 2) How would Uncommons not fall prey to same set of issues that have beset
 Commons for years? Copyright status would still need to be investigated to
 some degree, FUR would need to be policed at least a little, etc. etc.You'd
 attract the same people, probably, with the same biases and prejudices and
 problems.


Again - Uncommons is about usage.  Usage of an Uncommons image on
en.wikipedia needs to comply with english FUR policy.  Use on the Malaysian
wiki needs to comply with their standards, etc.  Uncommons cares that the
image is used somewhere.  If it stops being used everywhere due to FUR
issue then perhaps it should not be in Uncommons, but we should not be too
hasty with that as perhaps other Wikis have less stringent local legal
requirements and FUR policies and will come to use it later on.

So; remove if a valid copyright complaint comes in (OTRS / Legal), remove
if it really truly is not being used anywhere anymore, otherwise the
use/don't use is up to individual wikis and their policies.

We could centralize the fair use templates / justifications at Uncommons so
people could see directly what the justifications

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Metrics - accuracy of Wikipedia articles

2014-05-08 Thread George Herbert
I would like to make a couple of contradictory points...

One, WMF and the editing communities should seek more, better *external*
reviews with some preference ...  What we ourselves find and decide about
our content is less valuable than unbiased external reviews.  That doesn't
mean external reviews will automatically be better quality, but external
viewpoints are inherently valuable.

WMF sponsored but not influenced external studies may be an acceptable
balance point, but that should be carefully thought about.

Two, internal studies are also valuable, but should be done carefully.  I
have not yet had a chance to follow up the internal study links upthread.
 The advantage here is that if we can establish criteria that are
reasonably robust and externally-reviewed-and-supported, then having
internal reviewers rank versus those criteria is likely to get a lot more
quantity of review results.





On Thu, May 8, 2014 at 10:13 AM, edward edw...@logicmuseum.com wrote:

 On 08/05/2014 17:58, geni wrote:
 So while it is unlikely that a published journal article would be a
 complete hoax

 This is because they have a robust review process, which Wikipedia
 doesn't. Enough said.


  Please robustly define glaring.

 Glaring means obvious, in plain view, manifest etc. I gave some examples
 here http://wikipediocracy.com/2014/02/23/islands-of-sanity/

 One example:It can be speculated that one of the first people in Europe
 who consulted the map was William Vorilong, noted philosopher from England,
 who was shown the map while travelling with japanese visitor Yoshimitsu
 Kage.  William was French, not English. And he never visited Japan.


 Please also understand if I don't accept you as an impartial source on
 the matter rendering your subjective judgements of limited value.

 They are not subjective judgments, see above. 'Glaring' /= 'subjective'.
  Why don't you accept me as an impartial source? Because I have written
 articles critical of Wikipedia? Oh right.

 Some of these problems can be fixed. But fixing problems means recognising
 there is a problem, no?

 Edward



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Please welcome Lila Tretikov, the Wikimedia Foundation's new ED

2014-05-01 Thread George Herbert
Ah, bravo.  Welcome, Lila!  There is much work to be done!


On Thu, May 1, 2014 at 11:17 AM, Jan-Bart de Vreede jdevre...@wikimedia.org
 wrote:

 Hi All

 FYI

 Jan-Bart

 Begin forwarded message:

  From: Jan-Bart de Vreede jdevre...@wikimedia.org
  Subject: Please welcome Lila Tretikov, the Wikimedia Foundation's new ED
  Date: 1 May 2014 20:15:04 GMT+2
  To: wikimediaannounc...@lists.wikimedia.org
 
  Dear fellow community members,
 
  On behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees I am delighted
 to announce that the new Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation
 will be Lila Tretikov. Lila is a widely respected Bay Area technology
 leader, most recently with SugarCRM.
 
  As many of you know, about a year ago Sue Gardner announced she planned
 to step down as our ED. As we launched the search for her successor, we
 spent some time working through the most critical requirements for the
 role. We decided the new ED should be someone with a product/engineering
 background, ideally in an open-source or other online community context. We
 wanted someone experienced with organisations that were growing, who'd
 managed staff and budgets comparable to ours, and who had experience
 creating continuous delivery of technology improvements in an agile
 context. We wanted a person who is oriented towards collaboration,
 transparency and openness, with some experience with complex stakeholder
 environments, and with an international orientation. We knew we needed
 someone with courage and strong personal integrity, who wouldn't be
 intimidated by attempts to censor the projects.
 
  Lila is precisely what we set out to find.
 
  Lila was born in the Soviet Union and moved to the United States alone,
 as a teenager. She's been working for technology companies, primarily in
 open source, in the Bay Area for the past 15 years. In 1999 she started her
 career at Sun Microsystems. Shortly afterwards she founded GrokDigital, a
 technology and design company. She spent three years as senior director of
 development at Telespree, a company that provides cloud-based wireless data
 services for mobile carriers. For the past eight years, she was at
 SugarCRM, where she held positions of increasing responsibility as the
 organization grew, including being in charge of internal IT, marketing,
 customer support and professional services, engineering, and product
 development. She has a stellar reputation as a leader who is highly
 skilled, collaborative, open, passionate and curious.
 
  We think Lila will be a terrific fit for the ED role. The Transition
 Team (Phoebe, Alice, Kat, Sue, Erik, Geoff, Gayle and I) voted unanimously
 to recommend her to the Board, and the Board voted unanimously to accept
 the recommendation. She strikes all of us as smart, brave and
 unpretentious, and we believe she has the skills the WMF needs.
 
  Lila is going to spend the next few weeks in learning-and-listening
 mode, and will take over the ED position from Sue at the end of the month.
 Her first priority will be to immerse herself in deepening her
 understanding of the Wikimedia projects.
 
  I want to close this announcement by saying a heartfelt and deeply
 appreciative thanks to Sue, who has been the Executive Director of the
 Wikimedia Foundation for the past seven years. When the Board and I hired
 Sue in 2007, we were just a chaotic little non-profit in small-town
 Florida, with a tiny staff and not much money. Over the past seven years,
 Sue's leadership has built the Foundation into an effective, well-funded
 and well-managed organisation, with integrity and a clear sense of purpose,
 and her steady and committed presence throughout the search process was
 integral in helping us come to this excellent result. We will be forever
 grateful for her leadership and vision, and I hope we can continue to rely
 on her support in the months and years ahead.
 
  In June Sue will move into a new role as a special advisor to me and
 Lila. She'll also take a well-earned holiday, and maybe even a bit of a
 wiki-break, before beginning to think about what she's going to do next.
 Many of us will get a chance to see her in London, at Wikimania, in August.
 
  The Wikimedia Foundation is delighted to have reached such a successful
 outcome to the search. My thanks to Lisa Grossman of m/Oppenheim for
 helping us with it, and I ask you to please join me in extending a warm
 welcome to Lila Tretikov, our new ED.
 
  Jan-Bart de Vreede
  Chair
  Wikimedia Board of Trustees
 

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Statement for the police about the fundraising?

2014-02-07 Thread George Herbert
Most importantly for all this, the SERVERS are not hosted in Finland
(unless something snuck in there behind my back).

Under US and EU laws, I would think there's no Finnish jurisdiction over
where the servers are located.

If the Finnish Police are asserting authority over any website written in
their language, there's a problem.

If they think they're hosted in Finland, then there's just a quick
educational explanation pointing to the WMF server locations documentation.

In any case, pass this to le...@wikimedia.org




On Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 5:54 PM, Kevin Gorman kgor...@gmail.com wrote:

 I would dispute the suggestion the Finnish Wikipedia is specific to
 Finland; I read it regularly and have never been to Finland.  There are at
 a bare minimum something like 300,000 fluent Finnish speakers who don't
 live in Finland (and I don't think that's counting the portion of Swedes
 who speak Finnish,) so although the fundraising banner probably primarily
 attracted donations from people in Finland, it likely attracted plenty of
 donations from other countries as well.

 Best,
 Kevin Gorman


 On Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 5:38 PM, Charles Gregory wmau.li...@chuq.net
 wrote:

  In Australia, we (Wikimedia Australia) had to get fundraising approval
  before the 2010 fundraiser (when the chapters accepted and processed the
  payments and then passed a share back to the Wikimedia Foundation).  This
  was made more complicated due to the fundraising laws being a state issue
  rather than national and so we had to seek approval from each state, some
  with different requirements than others (for example, some needed a
 member
  in that state willing to act as a contact person).
 
  When this arrangement ended and Wikimedia Foundation took on the
  fundraising themselves, this was no longer a requirement due to the WMF
 not
  being an Australian organisation.  (Although we advised WMF to seek their
  own legal advice to confirm this)
 
  Your situation appears to be different for several reasons:
  1) Your situation involves a group of users, not a chapter (the donation
 is
  to a non-Finnish organisation)
  2) The donation information is in a language specific to your country -
 and
  so by targetting Finnish speakers, they were targetting Finland
 residents -
  whereas the same language is spoken in Australia and the United States.
 
  With #1 - given the number of smaller websites with a Donate via Paypal
  button in the corner, I don't think this should be an issue.
 
  The only thing that would shift this in the Finnish police's favour is
 #2 -
  suggesting that Finns were involved in the fundraising - and as others
 have
  said, this could quite easily be a person (or people) who the Finnish
  government has no jurisdiction over (a national of another country who
 has
  learned Finnish, for example).  Unless the Finnish Government has some
 sort
  of strange ownership or legal connection to the Finnish language...
 
  (Dislcaimer: IANAL of course)
 
  (BTW - I was amused that even Google translate failed to translate Nemo's
  link the first time around!)
 
  Regards,
 
  Charles Gregory
  (User:Chuq)
 
 
 
  On Sat, Feb 8, 2014 at 8:33 AM, Leinonen Teemu teemu.leino...@aalto.fi
  wrote:
 
   Hi,
  
   I just got a message that the Finnish Police have asked the
 fi.wikipedia,
   by sending an email to the wikifi-ad...@list.wikimedia.org, to give a
   written statement about their possible violation of the laws that
  regulate
   fundraising in Finland. There is a little news about this already
 online
  in
   English. Here:
  
  
  
 
 http://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/02/07/finnish_police_probe_wikipedia_donation_requests
  
   I chat about this with a lawyer friend and he was afraid that the
 police
   msy go after the volunteers that have participated in the fundraising,
  e.g.
   by translating the fundraising messages.
  
   Is there any equivalent cases from other countries?
  
   In Finland one needs a pre-given permission to do fundraising.
  
   - Teemu
  
   --
   Teemu Leinonen
   http://teemuleinonen.fi
   +358 50 351 6796
   Media Lab
   http://mlab.uiah.fi
   Aalto University
   School of Arts, Design and Architecture
   --
  
  
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Dells are backdored

2013-12-29 Thread George Herbert
On Sun, Dec 29, 2013 at 4:55 AM, James Salsman jsals...@gmail.com wrote:

 Can we please stop paying the Microsoft and NSA taxes and start buying
 datacenter equipment which costs a lot less? Cubieboard/Cubietrucks for
 instance?

 Ref.:

 http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/catalog-reveals-nsa-has-back-doors-for-numerous-devices-a-940994.html



Cubie are not credible enterprise-grade hardware; having made the
suggestion indicates you don't understand what large server farm design and
operations are all about.

One can see signs of a movement towards enterprise-grade lower power CPU
systems such as Atom, ARM, and Via chip mini-servers.  It's not there yet.
 Both hardware and OS issues with the ARMs, and hardware with the others.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Copyright infringement - The real elephant in the room

2013-11-13 Thread George Herbert
On Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 3:48 AM, Fæ fae...@gmail.com wrote:

 ...
 PS with regard to OTRS verification, we could do with better standards
 for verification,


We are not attempting to perform a complete and unassailable verification;
imagining that we can is folly.

The point is, we need someone who credibly is the author or rightsholder,
and with whom we have an audit trail of their claims and identity (email
address we corresponded with, etc).

When it comes down to it, we have no idea if an email is associated with
the given person, that the alleged sender of a certified letter really is
that person, or that the John Doe that came in to the office and showed
valid government issued ID with a claim of copyright violation is the same
John Doe who wrote the original material.  There's no way for us to confirm
in any reasonable manner.

If there is an attempt at identity theft that is discovered, that audit
trail is available to investigators with proper legal authorization etc.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] New access to non-public information policy, re-ID requirements and data retention

2013-10-26 Thread George Herbert
Ok.  As long as it wasn't missed, in all the other topics.

Thanks, I will be patient.


On Fri, Oct 25, 2013 at 11:10 PM, Philippe Beaudette 
pbeaude...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 Hi George -

 I can tell you that I was in the room as this was being discussed
 today. I'm fairly sure that Michelle is going to be following up on
 this question shortly. It wasn't being ignored - we are just in that
 territory where lawyers like to be certain that when they answer
 clarifying queries like yours, they aren't accidentally muddying the
 waters further. More soon.

 pb

 —
 Philippe Beaudette
 Director, Community Advocacy
 Wikimedia Foundation, Inc



  On Oct 25, 2013, at 9:19 PM, George Herbert george.herb...@gmail.com
 wrote:
 
  Again I ask:
 
  Can the WMF either publicly or privately provide enough detailed
 assurance
  as to the digital medium storage plan for these IDs?
 
  This is or should be a no-go for requiring IDs (or at least allowing them
  to be transferred that way).
 
  I would be happy to contribute a free independent security audit to a
 plan,
  if there is a detailed plan to audit.  And do so under confidentiality
  agreement if you need that, as long as you let me share a non-exploitable
  summary with the community...
 
 
 
 
  On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 4:21 PM, George Herbert 
 george.herb...@gmail.comwrote:
 
  Going back to the 2011 discussions on otrs lists, a flag was raised that
  challenged whether the WMF had sufficiently secure servers to host
 copies
  of ID documents that might be electronically submitted, including
  sufficient firewalling and/or airgapping, internal access controls, etc.
 
  My impression was that once that was raised as a detailed concern, the
  push died off rapidly, but I may be misremembering.
 
  Let me now ask - Can the WMF either publicly or privately (I live in the
  SF Bay Area and can come over and talk) provide enough detailed
 assurance
  as to the digital medium storage plan for these IDs?
 
  This is enough data for someone to do an identity theft with.  The
  physical handling is relatively easy to ensure is proper (locked
 cabinet or
  the like requires a physical office intrusion).  The electronic...
 
 
 
  On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 4:15 PM, Rschen7754 rschen7754.w...@gmail.com
 wrote:
 
  Speaking for myself, I have no problems with the overall idea, and I
  doubt that a lot of the others who have signed the petition do either.
 
  The problem is in the details of how it is implemented, and that
  appropriate safeguards are not written into place to protect the
 privacy
  and legal rights of those who (re)identify. I know some European users
 have
  raised concerns about how the overall policy does not work for them
 and/or
  would cause them to break the law. I don't believe that they should
 have to
  stand alone.
 
  Thanks,
 
  Rschen7754
  rschen7754.w...@gmail.com
 
 
 
  On Oct 23, 2013, at 4:07 PM, Marc A. Pelletier m...@uberbox.org
 wrote:
 
  On 10/23/2013 07:01 PM, Newyorkbrad wrote:
  (I myself can
  think of one and only one, but am curious if there are others.)
 
  I can also think of exactly one off the cuff (and it is almost
 certainly
  the same); but I can think of a couple of scenarios where the
 dissuasive
  effect alone might have made a difference.
 
  But my understanding is that this is prompted by a more serious focus
 on
  accountability than over any particular incident.
 
  -- Marc
 
 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] New access to non-public information policy, re-ID requirements and data retention

2013-10-25 Thread George Herbert
Again I ask:

Can the WMF either publicly or privately provide enough detailed assurance
as to the digital medium storage plan for these IDs?

This is or should be a no-go for requiring IDs (or at least allowing them
to be transferred that way).

I would be happy to contribute a free independent security audit to a plan,
if there is a detailed plan to audit.  And do so under confidentiality
agreement if you need that, as long as you let me share a non-exploitable
summary with the community...




On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 4:21 PM, George Herbert george.herb...@gmail.comwrote:

 Going back to the 2011 discussions on otrs lists, a flag was raised that
 challenged whether the WMF had sufficiently secure servers to host copies
 of ID documents that might be electronically submitted, including
 sufficient firewalling and/or airgapping, internal access controls, etc.

 My impression was that once that was raised as a detailed concern, the
 push died off rapidly, but I may be misremembering.

 Let me now ask - Can the WMF either publicly or privately (I live in the
 SF Bay Area and can come over and talk) provide enough detailed assurance
 as to the digital medium storage plan for these IDs?

 This is enough data for someone to do an identity theft with.  The
 physical handling is relatively easy to ensure is proper (locked cabinet or
 the like requires a physical office intrusion).  The electronic...



 On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 4:15 PM, Rschen7754 rschen7754.w...@gmail.comwrote:

 Speaking for myself, I have no problems with the overall idea, and I
 doubt that a lot of the others who have signed the petition do either.

 The problem is in the details of how it is implemented, and that
 appropriate safeguards are not written into place to protect the privacy
 and legal rights of those who (re)identify. I know some European users have
 raised concerns about how the overall policy does not work for them and/or
 would cause them to break the law. I don't believe that they should have to
 stand alone.

 Thanks,

 Rschen7754
 rschen7754.w...@gmail.com



 On Oct 23, 2013, at 4:07 PM, Marc A. Pelletier m...@uberbox.org wrote:

  On 10/23/2013 07:01 PM, Newyorkbrad wrote:
  (I myself can
  think of one and only one, but am curious if there are others.)
 
  I can also think of exactly one off the cuff (and it is almost certainly
  the same); but I can think of a couple of scenarios where the dissuasive
  effect alone might have made a difference.
 
  But my understanding is that this is prompted by a more serious focus on
  accountability than over any particular incident.
 
  -- Marc
 
 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] New access to non-public information policy, re-ID requirements and data retention

2013-10-23 Thread George Herbert
Fluff-

When crazies go crazy
 about Wikipedia, they go *very *crazy, and breaking a padlock in an office
 isn't that outlandish for some of them.


It will not happen without staff being fully aware, and an intruder knowing
which cabinet to break into without significant effort is extremely
unlikely, would require either cooperation of an insider and/or office
visits while acting considerably saner (at least; if not much more than
that).

Even if the risk is nonzero, the risk to me that it will happen secretly
(as opposed to, X broke in but the SFPD arrested them with a handful of
docs including your ID photocopies) is very low.

I am much more worried about accidental unrecognized leaks of digital data.
 MUCH.




On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 4:27 PM, Katherine Casey 
fluffernutter.w...@gmail.com wrote:

 As far as  The physical handling is relatively easy to ensure is proper,
 well... Considering that some of our less sane problematic users have, if
 I'm remembering correctly, shown up at the WMF office itself and would have
 loved to get their hands on the real-life documents of our
 advanced-privilege users, I'm not all that confident that *any *storage on
 the WMF premises, short of a vault, is adequate. When crazies go crazy
 about Wikipedia, they go *very *crazy, and breaking a padlock in an office
 isn't that outlandish for some of them.

 -Fluff


 On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 7:21 PM, George Herbert george.herb...@gmail.com
 wrote:

  Going back to the 2011 discussions on otrs lists, a flag was raised that
  challenged whether the WMF had sufficiently secure servers to host copies
  of ID documents that might be electronically submitted, including
  sufficient firewalling and/or airgapping, internal access controls, etc.
 
  My impression was that once that was raised as a detailed concern, the
 push
  died off rapidly, but I may be misremembering.
 
  Let me now ask - Can the WMF either publicly or privately (I live in the
 SF
  Bay Area and can come over and talk) provide enough detailed assurance as
  to the digital medium storage plan for these IDs?
 
  This is enough data for someone to do an identity theft with.  The
 physical
  handling is relatively easy to ensure is proper (locked cabinet or the
 like
  requires a physical office intrusion).  The electronic...
 
 
 
  On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 4:15 PM, Rschen7754 rschen7754.w...@gmail.com
  wrote:
 
   Speaking for myself, I have no problems with the overall idea, and I
  doubt
   that a lot of the others who have signed the petition do either.
  
   The problem is in the details of how it is implemented, and that
   appropriate safeguards are not written into place to protect the
 privacy
   and legal rights of those who (re)identify. I know some European users
  have
   raised concerns about how the overall policy does not work for them
  and/or
   would cause them to break the law. I don't believe that they should
 have
  to
   stand alone.
  
   Thanks,
  
   Rschen7754
   rschen7754.w...@gmail.com
  
  
  
   On Oct 23, 2013, at 4:07 PM, Marc A. Pelletier m...@uberbox.org
 wrote:
  
On 10/23/2013 07:01 PM, Newyorkbrad wrote:
(I myself can
think of one and only one, but am curious if there are others.)
   
I can also think of exactly one off the cuff (and it is almost
  certainly
the same); but I can think of a couple of scenarios where the
  dissuasive
effect alone might have made a difference.
   
But my understanding is that this is prompted by a more serious focus
  on
accountability than over any particular incident.
   
-- Marc
   
   
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia and the politics of encryption

2013-09-05 Thread George Herbert
Theo:

 They even have a Key
 recovery service and it's been going on for a long while apparently, to
 the point that the NSA has been steering the release of encryption
 standards and tools. I suppose that should make the politics of
 encryption a bit less relevant?



No; with Perfect Forward Security it is still entirely relevant, and PFS
has been discussed in the game plan for WMF (I don't recall the status of
the long term security roadmap, but it's been widely discussed on technical
lists here).

It's also entirely relevant with or without PFS for any
less-than-NSA-capable agency or third party attempting to watch WMF project
users.  UK and China may be somewhere up there in capability, for example,
but most countries won't be.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_forward_secrecy




On Thu, Sep 5, 2013 at 4:55 PM, Theo10011 de10...@gmail.com wrote:

 So, does this have any bearing on the discussion? -

 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/06/us/nsa-foils-much-internet-encryption.html

 Or are we just partial to the US surveillance over PRC.

 The article does mention SSL, VPNs and 4G security. They even have a Key
 recovery service and it's been going on for a long while apparently, to
 the point that the NSA has been steering the release of encryption
 standards and tools. I suppose that should make the politics of
 encryption a bit less relevant?

 -Theo


 On Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 10:09 PM, Erik Moeller e...@wikimedia.org wrote:

  On Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 7:46 AM, Brion Vibber bvib...@wikimedia.org
  wrote:
 
   I would love to see Wikipedia content made available in China on
 Chinese
   infrastructure operated by a Chinese organization, with total ability
 to
   determine their own security and censorship policies.
  
   But that's what Baidu did and we hate them! you say?
  
   We could work *with* such an organization to coordinate, share content,
   etc, without compromising basic web security for our sites or giving up
  our
   liberal content policies on Wikipedia proper.
 
  I don't buy the argument. Last time I checked, Hudong (now just
  Baike) and Baidu Baike were the main wiki-like encyclopedias
  operating out of and serving mainland China. Both use non-free
  licensing terms, and both are subject to local censorship policies and
  practices. That may include turning over contributors if they post
  content that's deemed to be problematic by local authorities.
 
  At least on the surface, the projects are successful, with millions of
  articles and lots of traffic. I have no idea what the quality of the
  content is, but looking at an article like DNA, I'm guessing it
  provides useful value to its readers:
 
  http://www.baike.com/wiki/DNAprd=button_doc_jinru
 
  Where they are failing to do so, they can improve, if necessary by
  copying Wikipedia content. But the one thing that they _cannot_
  provide, and that a neutral encyclopedia _must_ provide, is precisely
  information of the kind that the Chinese government would censor.
  Neutral information about people, politics and history, irrespective
  of whether that information afflicts a comfortable bureaucrat
  somewhere.
 
  I would posit a different argument. The problem of providing basic
  information about any subject _is_ being solved for by local
  information providers. China isn't some backwater waiting for us to
  educate them about physics and disease control. The problem of
  providing a neutral, uncensored encyclopedia in the Chinese language,
  on the other hand, isn't being solved for by anyone but us. The answer
  is not to water down our security or partner with local information
  providers that allow censorship and are willing to turn over user
  data. It's to find ways to get that information to people, including
  the bits they'd rather have people not see.
 
  Erik
 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] is wikipedia zero illegal because it violates net neutrality?

2013-08-27 Thread George Herbert
Andreas:

 The most obvious benefits of the arrangement to the Wikimedia Foundation
 are increased page views, an enhanced Alexa ranking, enhanced worldwide
 brand name recognition, and an even more dominant role in the global
 information market place.


Is this not our organizaitonal goal being fulfilled?




On Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 6:31 AM, Andreas Kolbe jayen...@gmail.com wrote:

 I guess the benefit to the Wikipedia Zero providers is that making
 Wikipedia available for free to their subscribers is a competitive
 advantage for them. That seems obvious enough, and it is acknowledged in
 the Wikimedia Foundation FAQ,
 http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mobile_partnerships:

 ---o0o---

 *Q: Will these operators be putting Wikipedia in their advertising?*

 A: Many of them will put out various communication materials (ranging from
 leaflets to billboards) about the program in order to promote it and
 encourage usage. Anytime the Wikipedia logo is used, the Wikimedia
 Foundation will have to give approval to ensure that the use is in line
 with the mission.

 ---o0o---


 The 2009 deal with Orange (which I believe ran for three years) did involve
 advertising being placed on Wikipedia content, with part of the advertising
 revenue paid to the Wikimedia Foundation:


 http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/Orange_and_Wikimedia_announce_partnership_April_2009QA

 I haven't seen any figures released on how much Orange paid the Foundation
 as part of the advertising deal.

 At any rate, the new deal with Orange no longer includes that financial
 arrangement, according to the Mobile partnerships FAQ. See
 http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mobile_partnerships:

 ---o0o---

 *Q: Is there money involved?*

 A: No. There is no money involved with this partnership. Orange is not
 paying Wikimedia Foundation, and Wikimedia Foundation is not paying Orange.

 ---o0o---


 I don't know whether Zero providers are allowed to place ads on the
 content, and if so, whether that gets them additional revenue.

 The most obvious benefits of the arrangement to the Wikimedia Foundation
 are increased page views, an enhanced Alexa ranking, enhanced worldwide
 brand name recognition, and an even more dominant role in the global
 information market place.

 Andreas


 On Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 6:52 PM, George William Herbert 
 george.herb...@gmail.com wrote:

 
 
 
 
  On Aug 26, 2013, at 10:42 AM, JP Béland lebo.bel...@gmail.com wrote:
 
   2013/8/26, Martijn Hoekstra martijnhoeks...@gmail.com:
   On Aug 26, 2013 6:30 PM, JP Béland lebo.bel...@gmail.com wrote:
  
   And if it is illegal or borderline according to, say,
   netherlands, swiss, or german law, is it appropriate to do it in
   countries where the law is less developed? 
  
   As said Kevin, it is impossible to respect the law of all countries
 in
   every country (Wikipedia already fails at that in its current state
 by
   the way, with or without Wikipedia Zero). So no we cannot just
   abstain from any
   activity which might be perceived as illegal somewhere. After that,
   are you suggesting we should apply the laws of some developed
   countries to all countries and just ignore the others, this is way
   more morally wrong in my opinion.
  
   That being said, the law on net neutrality you cited applies to ISP,
   which Wikipedia Zero or the WMF isn't, so it doesn't apply to it.
  
   But of course, we as a community and the WMF should still keep high
   ethical and moral standards.
  
   JP Beland
   aka Amqui
  
   I do think there is some merit in the net neutrality argument, at
 least
   sufficiently so to be open to discussion on whether or not offering
   Wikipedia Zero is a good thing. It comes down to the question if we
  believe
   that having a walled garden variety of internet consisting only of
   Wikipedia for free, and with that undermining the market position for
 a
   paid, open internet is a net positive. I'm inclined to say it is, but
  the
   opposite position, though counter-intuitive, is pretty defensible.
  
   -Martijn
  
   Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
   the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment.
   (http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Vision)
  
   I agree with you that it is good to discuss about it. The real
   question we have to ask is what between Wikipedia Zero giving free
   access to Wikipedia or avoiding that for net neutrality and not
   undermining the market position for a paid open internet is getting us
   closer to our vision.
  
   JP Béland
   aka Amqui
 
 
  I believe a nonstandard interpretation of net neutrality is being used
  here.
 
  It's intended - as originally posed - to prevent a service provider from
  advantaging their own bundled services and disadvantage independent
  services via tariff structure.
 
  What competitors for Wikipedia exist?
 
  And to the extent there are such, are we associated with this provider in
  some way that causes us to be 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] is wikipedia zero illegal because it violates net neutrality?

2013-08-27 Thread George Herbert
This is a huge question and problem, however:

Andreas:

 The question is whether monopolisation of information is desirable. I
 prefer pluralism. Monopolies sooner or later end up not being in the
 public's best interest.



If you view Wikipedia / WMF projects getting very slightly preferred net
access as the primary barrier to WMF / Wikipedia not edging towards an open
information monopoly, I object.

The primary barrier is that nobody has proposed a more functional, feasible
model and launched a project to implement that better model.

No matter what happens with network access, that does not change the
unrelated entry barrier, which is at the conceptual level.

Us not taking advantage of network opportunities does not change that, it
just degrades our ability to deliver to our existing mission.

If you feel that the WMF should do its job worse, to enable alternatives to
flourish, I disagree.



On Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 4:52 PM, Andreas Kolbe jayen...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 10:13 PM, George Herbert
 george.herb...@gmail.comwrote:

  It was not rhetorical, but you missed the point.
 
  Net neutrality is an issue because service providers (can / may / often
 do)
  become a local monopoly of sorts.  Monopilies are not necessarily bad
 (how
  many water and natural gas line providers can you choose from?  how many
  road networks?) but are generally felt to be bad if they enable the
  monopolist to leverage themselves into other markets.
 


 Of course there is a desire to leverage the Foundation into other markets.
 Wikivoyage is one example, Wikidata is another. The latter in particular is
 envisaged to play a central role as a global information hub.

 The other day, Jimmy Wales said, We are a start-up in stealth mode.[1]



  With regards to network neutrality, the problem is if the provider uses
  their network monopoly to encourage the customers to use their (or their
  preferred, with some sort of mutual advantage) search engine, email
  service, etc., or discourage use of an alternative streaming media
 service,
  and issues of the like.
 


 How is this not happening when one service is free and the others are not?
 Wikipedia is well known (and quite highly regarded, rightly so) for
 providing up-to-the-minute coverage of breaking news. When something like
 the Japan earthquake happens, or someone like Michael Jackson dies, many
 people check Wikipedia to see the latest update. That means they do not go
 to, say, CNN. Wikipedia may *cite* CNN, but it inevitably takes away some
 of CNN's page views.

 Again, IIRC, Jimbo proudly said at Wikimania that Wikipedia gets more page
 views than the world's top-20 or so newspapers together. And he suggested
 that he might like to set up a semi-crowdsourced journalism project to
 compete against traditional news outlets.



  Again: with Wikipedia, we do not have particular mutually beneficial
  relationships which this would be encouraging, and the service provider
  isn't really in a position to damage a Wikipedia competitor by doing
 this,
  as far as I can see.
 


 See above.



  One can argue that even a free (to use, contribute, participate),
  functionally monopolized, public service organization could benefit
 somehow
  and the ISP could benefit somehow, and that the strict terms of the
  particular law in question might come into play.
 
  However, from a moral stance, the underlying goal of network neutrality
  seems unharmed by this, in any realistic or reasonable manner.  Your
  interpretation seems excessively legalistic rather than factually or
  morally based; while it may be that we should avoid even trivial
 legalistic
  issues, we do not as a project make special efforts to comply with 180+
  countries laws (other than copyright issues, and free definitions for
  Commons, that I can see).
 


 The question is whether monopolisation of information is desirable. I
 prefer pluralism. Monopolies sooner or later end up not being in the
 public's best interest.


 If you can explain a manner in which the underlying monopoly / advantage
  issue IS a problem here, please point it out.  If there is one that I do
  not see then that forms a valid reason to reconsider.
 


 Here is one that makes me uneasy: Wikimedia projects are particularly
 vulnerable to manipulation – look at how long Qworty was allowed to do what
 he did,[2] look at the plastic surgery (and likely sockpuppeting) case
 presently at AN/I,[3] the Arnie Draiman story,[4] the Klee Irwin[5] or
 Monsanto[6] articles, or indeed any of a good number of arbitration cases
 commenting on neutrality, BLP violations etc.

 In light of that vulnerability, the idea of making crowdsourced Wikimedia
 projects stewards of the world's information, to the detriment of
 professionally published and edited news and reference sources, seems to
 have some obvious drawbacks. And the higher the stakes are, the more
 concerted efforts at manipulation will be. In Wikimedia's case

Re: [Wikimedia-l] is wikipedia zero illegal because it violates net neutrality?

2013-08-26 Thread George Herbert
It was not rhetorical, but you missed the point.

Net neutrality is an issue because service providers (can / may / often do)
become a local monopoly of sorts.  Monopilies are not necessarily bad (how
many water and natural gas line providers can you choose from?  how many
road networks?) but are generally felt to be bad if they enable the
monopolist to leverage themselves into other markets.

With regards to network neutrality, the problem is if the provider uses
their network monopoly to encourage the customers to use their (or their
preferred, with some sort of mutual advantage) search engine, email
service, etc., or discourage use of an alternative streaming media service,
and issues of the like.

Again: with Wikipedia, we do not have particular mutually beneficial
relationships which this would be encouraging, and the service provider
isn't really in a position to damage a Wikipedia competitor by doing this,
as far as I can see.

One can argue that even a free (to use, contribute, participate),
functionally monopolized, public service organization could benefit somehow
and the ISP could benefit somehow, and that the strict terms of the
particular law in question might come into play.

However, from a moral stance, the underlying goal of network neutrality
seems unharmed by this, in any realistic or reasonable manner.  Your
interpretation seems excessively legalistic rather than factually or
morally based; while it may be that we should avoid even trivial legalistic
issues, we do not as a project make special efforts to comply with 180+
countries laws (other than copyright issues, and free definitions for
Commons, that I can see).

If you can explain a manner in which the underlying monopoly / advantage
issue IS a problem here, please point it out.  If there is one that I do
not see then that forms a valid reason to reconsider.



On Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 11:04 AM, Martijn Hoekstra 
martijnhoeks...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Aug 26, 2013 7:53 PM, George William Herbert 
 george.herb...@gmail.com
 wrote:
 
 
 
 
 
  On Aug 26, 2013, at 10:42 AM, JP Béland lebo.bel...@gmail.com wrote:
 
   2013/8/26, Martijn Hoekstra martijnhoeks...@gmail.com:
   On Aug 26, 2013 6:30 PM, JP Béland lebo.bel...@gmail.com wrote:
  
   And if it is illegal or borderline according to, say,
   netherlands, swiss, or german law, is it appropriate to do it in
   countries where the law is less developed? 
  
   As said Kevin, it is impossible to respect the law of all countries
 in
   every country (Wikipedia already fails at that in its current state
 by
   the way, with or without Wikipedia Zero). So no we cannot just
   abstain from any
   activity which might be perceived as illegal somewhere. After that,
   are you suggesting we should apply the laws of some developed
   countries to all countries and just ignore the others, this is way
   more morally wrong in my opinion.
  
   That being said, the law on net neutrality you cited applies to ISP,
   which Wikipedia Zero or the WMF isn't, so it doesn't apply to it.
  
   But of course, we as a community and the WMF should still keep high
   ethical and moral standards.
  
   JP Beland
   aka Amqui
  
   I do think there is some merit in the net neutrality argument, at
 least
   sufficiently so to be open to discussion on whether or not offering
   Wikipedia Zero is a good thing. It comes down to the question if we
 believe
   that having a walled garden variety of internet consisting only of
   Wikipedia for free, and with that undermining the market position for
 a
   paid, open internet is a net positive. I'm inclined to say it is, but
 the
   opposite position, though counter-intuitive, is pretty defensible.
  
   -Martijn
  
   Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
   the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment.
   (http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Vision)
  
   I agree with you that it is good to discuss about it. The real
   question we have to ask is what between Wikipedia Zero giving free
   access to Wikipedia or avoiding that for net neutrality and not
   undermining the market position for a paid open internet is getting us
   closer to our vision.
  
   JP Béland
   aka Amqui
 
 
  I believe a nonstandard interpretation of net neutrality is being used
 here.
 
  It's intended - as originally posed - to prevent a service provider from
 advantaging their own bundled services and disadvantage independent
 services via tariff structure.
 
  What competitors for Wikipedia exist?
 
  And to the extent there are such, are we associated with this provider in
 some way that causes us to be their service in some preferred way to their
 or our benefit?  What benefit do we get?

 We get a wider readership, at least in the short term. Why else would we be
 doing this? Or was the question rhetorical, as the answer was rather
 obvious to me. If it was, I don't understand the point you were trying to
 make with it.

 
 
  Sent from Kangphone
  

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Disinformation regarding perfect forward secrecy for HTTPS

2013-08-02 Thread George Herbert



On Aug 1, 2013, at 10:07 PM, Ryan Lane rl...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 Also,
 our resources are delivered from a number of urls (upload, bits, text)
 making it easier to identify resources. Even with padding you can take the
 relative size of resources being delivered, and the order of those sizes
 and get a pretty good idea of the article being viewed. If there's enough
 data you may be able to identify multiple articles and see if the
 subsequent article is a link from the previous article, making guesses more
 accurate. It only takes a single accurate guess for an edit to identify an
 editor and see their entire edit history.
 
 Proper support of pipelining in browsers or multiplexing in protocols like
 SPDY would help this situation. There's probably a number of things we can
 do to improve the situation without pipelining or newer protocols, and
 we'll likely put some effort into this front. I think this takes priority
 over PFS as PFS isn't helpful if decryption isn't necessary to track
 browsing habits.


This needs some proper crypto expert vetting, but...

It would be trivial (both in effort and impact on customer bandwidth) to pad 
everything to a 1k boundary on https transmission once we get there.  A 
variable length non-significant header field can be used.  Forcing such size 
counts into very large bins will degrade fingerprinting significantly.

It would also not be much more effort or customer impact to pad to the next 
larger 1k size for a random large fraction of transmissions.  One could imagine 
a user setting where one could opt in or out of that, for example, and perhaps 
a set of relative inflation scheme sizes one could choose from (10% inflated, 
25% inflated, 50%, 50% plus 10% get 1-5 more k of padding, ...).

Even the slightest of these options (under https everywhere) starts to give 
plausible deniability to someone's browsing; the greater ones would make 
fingerprinting quite painful, though running a statistical exercise of such 
options to see how hard it would make it seems useful to understand the 
effects...

The question is, what is the point of this?  Provide very strong user 
obfuscation?  Provide at least minimal individual evidentiary obfuscation from 
the level of what a US court (for example) might consider scientifically 
reliable, to block use of that history in trials (even if educated guesses 
still might be made by law enforcement as to the articles)?

Countermeasures are responses to attain specific goals.  What are the goals 
people care about for such a program, and what are the Foundation willing to 
consider worth supporting with bandwidth $$ or programmer time?  How do we come 
up with a list of possible goals and prioritize amongst them in both a 
technical and policy/goals sense?

I believe that PFS will come out higher here as it's cost is really only CPU 
crunchies and already existent software settings to choose from, and its 
benefits to long term total obscurability are significant if done right.

No quantity of countermeasures beat inside info, and out-of-band compromise of 
our main keys ends up being attractive enough as the only logical attack once 
we start down this road at all past HTTPS-everywhere.  One time key compromise 
is far more likely than realtime compromise of PFS keys as they rotate, though 
even that is possible given sufficiently motivated successful stealthy 
subversion.  The credible ability to in the end be confident that's not 
happening is arguably the long term ceiling for how high we can realistically 
go with countermeasures, and contains operational security and intrusion 
detection features as its primary limits rather than in-band behavior.

At some point the ops team would need a security team, an IDS team, and a 
counterintelligence team to watch the other teams, and I don't know if the 
Foundation cares that much or would find operating that way to be a more 
comfortable moral and practical stance...


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] NSA

2013-08-01 Thread George Herbert
The letters must be sent to the organization rather than an individual.  The 
idea of going to an individual employee and strongarming them may happen, but 
the law around NSLs is specific.

The court cases to date indicate that if an individual employee got a US NSL 
and sued over it, the judge would likely take actions that would end the FBI 
agents careers.

Such individual strongarming would almost certainly use threats or MICE (money, 
ideology, compromise, ego) enticements and no paper trail to have to testify 
over in court later.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 1, 2013, at 2:31 AM, Robert Rohde raro...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 5:13 PM, Luis Villa lvi...@wikimedia.org wrote:
 As a quick reminder here, before any conspiracy theories about orders and
 data retention get out of control:
 
 1) We've flat-out denied any sort of involvement in this, and we continue
 to stand by that denial:
 https://blog.wikimedia.org/2013/06/14/prism-surveillance-wikimedia/
 
 2) Take with a grain of salt, of course, but our understanding (based on
 the few gag orders that have been made public) is that we could be forced
 to not confirm having received a National Security Letter, but we can't
 actually be forced to lie about it. In other words, if we'd received one we
 would not be allowed to say we've received one, but we also could not be
 forced to deny it - we'd always have the option to remain silent instead.
 snip
 
 If we are going to chase crazy down the rabbit hole, then it may be
 worth noticing that the NSL gag order makes it a crime to discuss NSL
 demands with anyone except A) personal legal counsel, and B) persons
 who are directly necessary to fulfill the demand.  In particular, if I
 (as an individual) am served with an NSL then there is no provision
 allowing me to tell my boss or my subordinates unless I directly need
 their help to satisfy the request.  If someone with root access were
 directly served with an NSL, it isn't obvious that WMF executives
 would ever learn about it.  This is one of the ways that NSL gag
 orders are ridiculous.
 
 -Robert Rohde
 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why the WP will never be a real encyclopaedia

2013-08-01 Thread George Herbert
Let me pose a set of questions -

1; Do you feel this is systemic bias in people not wanting some articles?

2; and/or, do you feel this is systemic bias in people not having yet reached 
creating some articles?

3; and/or,!do you feel this is systemic bias in lack of depth of coverage in 
accessible reliable sources of some article topics?

If more than one of the above, what do you feel the relative weights of cause 
are for that aspect of systemic bias?


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 1, 2013, at 2:29 PM, Rui Correia correia@gmail.com wrote:

 David
 
 I am glad to see to see that so far everybody agrees with me, just nobody
 can see the forest for the trees and most prefer to demonstrate how
 offended they feel at my pointing out how naked the emperor is.
 
 So, whereas I write complete rubbish, what do you do to fight systemic
 bias [which] is a serious problem?
 
 Rui
 
 On 1 August 2013 23:23, David Gerard dger...@gmail.com wrote:
 
 On 1 August 2013 22:19, Rui Correia correia@gmail.com wrote:
 
 So you mostly agree with m, but prefer to come out knee-jerking first and
 only after that showing that you somehow agree.
 
 
 No, he's saying you're full of it, because you are. Under your
 definition, there has never been an encyclopedia in human history.
 This is not a useful definition.
 
 Systemic bias is a serious problem, but writing complete rubbish isn't
 going to solve it.
 
 
 - d.
 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why the WP will never be a real encyclopaedia

2013-08-01 Thread George Herbert

The specific examples you started with are not to my knowledge problem POVs - 
unless one of the White Power groups showed up while I wasn't paying attention. 
 It would seem much more of the not gotten there yet or not (yet) well 
covered in reliable sources for the specific ones.

Am I misunderstanding?

Unless I did miss something, it seems to me that the specific examples were 
poorly chosen and did not either clearly identify or illustrate the problem you 
are now getting at.

Which is a real but very complicated problem.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 1, 2013, at 2:43 PM, Rui Correia correia@gmail.com wrote:

 George
 
 Thank you for your interest.
 
 It is a systematic bias in not wanting some POVs. Which is why we got to
 the point that we have a whole encyclopaedia governing the issue of POV.
 
 I think a better answer to your question would be provided by doing an
 analysis of articles with a high rate of reversals, undoings, 3Rs etc and
 what the POV are that lead to that behavour.
 
 Rui
 
 On 1 August 2013 23:38, George Herbert george.herb...@gmail.com wrote:
 
 Let me pose a set of questions -
 
 1; Do you feel this is systemic bias in people not wanting some articles?
 
 2; and/or, do you feel this is systemic bias in people not having yet
 reached creating some articles?
 
 3; and/or,!do you feel this is systemic bias in lack of depth of coverage
 in accessible reliable sources of some article topics?
 
 If more than one of the above, what do you feel the relative weights of
 cause are for that aspect of systemic bias?
 
 
 George William Herbert
 Sent from my iPhone
 
 On Aug 1, 2013, at 2:29 PM, Rui Correia correia@gmail.com wrote:
 
 David
 
 I am glad to see to see that so far everybody agrees with me, just nobody
 can see the forest for the trees and most prefer to demonstrate how
 offended they feel at my pointing out how naked the emperor is.
 
 So, whereas I write complete rubbish, what do you do to fight systemic
 bias [which] is a serious problem?
 
 Rui
 
 On 1 August 2013 23:23, David Gerard dger...@gmail.com wrote:
 
 On 1 August 2013 22:19, Rui Correia correia@gmail.com wrote:
 
 So you mostly agree with m, but prefer to come out knee-jerking first
 and
 only after that showing that you somehow agree.
 
 
 No, he's saying you're full of it, because you are. Under your
 definition, there has never been an encyclopedia in human history.
 This is not a useful definition.
 
 Systemic bias is a serious problem, but writing complete rubbish isn't
 going to solve it.
 
 
 - d.
 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] evaluation of electronics articles

2013-05-28 Thread George Herbert
...and engineering (theory ok to good, practical often very weak).

And varies across fields radically...


On Tue, May 28, 2013 at 3:18 PM, Yaroslav M. Blanter pute...@mccme.ruwrote:

 On 28.05.2013 19:40, phoebe ayers wrote:

 I ran across this paragraph in the preface to O'Reilly's new book
 Encyclopedia of Electronic Components. [1] I'm not sure that I've ever
 seen an evaluation of Wikipedia's electronics coverage before, but to me
 this sounds like a pretty good description of a lot of our engineering
 articles (at least in English)...

 Wikipedia’s coverage of electronics is impressive but inconsistent. Some
 entries are elementary, while others are extremely technical. Some are
 shallow, while others are deep. Some are well organized, while others run
 off into obscure topics that may have interested one of the contributors
 but are of little practical value to most readers. Many topics are
 distributed over multiple entries, forcing you to hunt through several
 URLs. Overall, Wikipedia tends to be good if you want theory, but
 not-so-good if you want hands-on practicality.

 -- phoebe

 1. 
 http://shop.oreilly.com/**product/0636920026105.dohttp://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920026105.do


 Very accurate description of the state of articles at least in natural and
 technical sciences in the English Wikipedia.

 Cheers
 Yaroslav


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The case for supporting open source machine translation

2013-04-25 Thread George Herbert
This subthread seems headed out into practical / applied epistemology, if
there is such a thing.

I am not sure if we can get from here to there; that said, a new structure
with language independent facts / information points that then got
machine-explained or described in a local language would be an interesting
structure to build an encyclopedia around.  Wikidata is a good idea but not
enough here.  I'm not sure the state of knowledge theory and practice is
good enough to do this, but I am suddenly more interested in IBM's Watson
project and some related knowledge / natural language interaction AI work...

This is very interesting, but probably less midterm-practical than machine
translation and the existing WP / other project data.


On Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 8:46 AM, Denny Vrandečić 
denny.vrande...@wikimedia.de wrote:

 2013/4/25 Mathieu Stumpf psychosl...@culture-libre.org

  What would be the limits you would expect from your solution, because you
  can't expect to just translate everything. Form may be a part of the
  meaning. It's clear that you can't translate a poem for example. Sur
  wikipedia is not primary concerned about poetry, but it does treat the
  subject.
 
 
 I don't know where the limits would be. Probably further then we think
 right now, but yes, they still would be there and severe. The nice thing is
 that we would be collecting data about the limits constantly, and could
 thus feed the system to further improve and grow. Not automatically (I
 guess, but bots would obviously also be allowed to work on the rules as
 well), but through human intelligence, analyzing the input and trying to
 refine and extend the rules.

 But, considering the already existing bot created articles, which number in
 the hundred thousands in languages like Swedish, Dutch, or Polish, there
 seems to be some consensus that this can be considered as a useful starting
 block. It's just that with the current system, even with Wikidata, we
 cannot really grow into this direction further.

 Cheers,
 Denny

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The case for supporting open source machine translation

2013-04-24 Thread George Herbert
Leslie Carr wrote (personally, not officially):

I think that while supporting open source machine translation is an
 awesome goal, it is out of scope of our budget and the engineering
 budget could be better spent elsewhere, such as with completing
 existing tools that are in development, but not
 deployed/optimized/etc.  I think that putting a bunch of money into
 possibilities isn't the right thing to do when we have a lot of
 projects that need to be finished and deployed yesterday.  Maybe once
 there's a closer actual project we could support them with text
 streams, decommissioned machines, and maybe money, but only after it's
 a pretty sure investment


I don't think that it's a good idea to shift resources to it immediately,
but I think that every now and then it's very healthy to step back and ask
What is standing between our users and the information they seek?  What is
standing between our editors and the information they want to update?.
 Generically, the customers and customer goals problem, applied to WMF's
two customer sets (readers, and editors).

Minor UI changes help readers.  Most of the other changes are
editor-focused, retention or ease of editing or various other things
related to that.  A few are strategic-data-organization related which are
more of a multiplier effect.

The readers and potential readers ARE however clearly disadvantaged by
translation issues.

I see this discussion and consideration as strategic; not planning (year,
six month) timescales or tactical (month, week) timescales, but a
multi-year What are our main goals for information access? timescale.

We can't usefully help with internet access (and that's proceeding at good
pace even in the third world), but language will remain a barrier when
people get access.  In a few situations politics / firewalling is as well
(China, primarily), which is another strategic challenge.  That, however,
is political and geopolitical, and not an easy nut for WMF to crack.  Of
the three issues - net, firewalling, and language, one of them is something
we can work on.  We should think about how to work on that.  MT seems like
an obvious answer, but not the only possible one.




On Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 12:29 PM, Leslie Carr lc...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 (FYI this is me speaking with my personal hat on, none of these
 opinions are official in any way or the opinions of the foundation as
 an organization)

 personal_hat

 
  While Wikimedia is still only a medium-sized organization, it is not
  poor. With more than 1M donors supporting our mission and a cash
  position of $40M, we do now have a greater ability to make strategic
  investments that further our mission, as communicated to our donors.
  That's a serious level of trust and not to be taken lightly, either by
  irresponsibly spending, or by ignoring our ability to do good.
 
  Could open source MT be such a strategic investment? I don't know, but
  I'd like to at least raise the question. I think the alternative will
  be, for the foreseeable future, to accept that this piece of
  technology will be proprietary, and to rely on goodwill for any
  integration that concerns Wikimedia. Not the worst outcome, but also
  not the best one.

 I think that while supporting open source machine translation is an
 awesome goal, it is out of scope of our budget and the engineering
 budget could be better spent elsewhere, such as with completing
 existing tools that are in development, but not
 deployed/optimized/etc.  I think that putting a bunch of money into
 possibilities isn't the right thing to do when we have a lot of
 projects that need to be finished and deployed yesterday.  Maybe once
 there's a closer actual project we could support them with text
 streams, decommissioned machines, and maybe money, but only after it's
 a pretty sure investment

 /personal_hat

 Leslie

 
  Are there open source MT efforts that are close enough to merit
  scrutiny? In order to be able to provide high quality result, you
  would need not only a motivated, well-intentioned group of people, but
  some of the smartest people in the field working on it.  I doubt we
  could more than kickstart an effort, but perhaps financial backing at
  significant scale could at least help a non-profit, open source effort
  to develop enough critical mass to go somewhere.
 
  All best,
  Erik
 
  [1]
 http://stats.wikimedia.org/wikimedia/animations/growth/AnimationProjectsGrowthWp.html
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] French intelligency agency forces removal of a Wikipedia article

2013-04-08 Thread George Herbert
On Sun, Apr 7, 2013 at 3:32 PM, Romaine Wiki romaine_w...@yahoo.com wrote:


 On Fri, 5 Apr 2013 12:31:29, Fred Bauder fredb...@fairpoint.net wrote:
  I can't see what would be sensitive in the article..

 I think that the existence of the article is considered too sensitive for
 them, not realizing that all information is already elsewhere on the
 internet.


A couple of years ago, the guy in charge of the CIA's internal MediaWiki
(the Intelligence Wiki, which they added classification levels etc) did a
talk at ... Usenix?  LISA?  One of their conferences.

He was talking about challenges.  The code certification was interesting.
 The Wiki project getting in trouble for having (US classified) Secret, Top
Secret, or Top Secret SCI (Secure Compartmented Information) in the
Open-unclassified category *due to Wikipedia uploads/imports* was
apparently a major ongoing pain point for the whole organization.

Fortunately not one that was being exposed to the public, other than his
talk...


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] French intelligency agency forces removal of a Wikipedia article

2013-04-08 Thread George Herbert
He didn't want to talk about which topic areas, but I have a pretty good
idea of a few of them.

I would hazard a guess that nuclear weapons design is one of them; there's
a diagram on-wiki that would have been Top Secret - Restricted Data -
Secure Compartmented Information - Sigma 16 until December 2000, when it
was rephrased a bit.


On Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 1:26 PM, Thomas Dalton thomas.dal...@gmail.comwrote:

 I don't understand the no; you seem to be agreeing with Nathan...

 On 8 April 2013 21:19, Fred Bauder fredb...@fairpoint.net wrote:
  No, some information which is classified is also contained within
  reliable published sources available to the public and we use that
  information in our articles, along with occasional original research
  which may due to good guesses also contain such information. There are
  not two separate worlds of reliable classified information and reliable
  unclassified information; they overlap.
 
  For example, if Mongolia purchases MIG aircraft that will result in an
  intelligence bulletin; but also there may be an AP story. The summary of
  classified information about the planes Mongolia has may have an
  inferior, but more or less accurate, Wikipedia counterpart article about
  the Mongolian air force, which if copied to the Intelligence wiki looks
  like it contains secret information, which, presumably the full file on
  Mongolian armed forces probably is.
 
  Fred
 
  In other words, the problem was people were uploading Wikipedia
  articles which the government thought included classified information?
  And because the pages were already public uploaders assumed they were
  unclassified, but because the government is nuts, they were wrong.
 
  On Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 3:06 PM, George Herbert 
 george.herb...@gmail.com
  wrote:
  On Sun, Apr 7, 2013 at 3:32 PM, Romaine Wiki romaine_w...@yahoo.com
  wrote:
 
 
  On Fri, 5 Apr 2013 12:31:29, Fred Bauder fredb...@fairpoint.net
  wrote:
   I can't see what would be sensitive in the article..
 
  I think that the existence of the article is considered too sensitive
  for
  them, not realizing that all information is already elsewhere on the
  internet.
 
 
  A couple of years ago, the guy in charge of the CIA's internal
  MediaWiki
  (the Intelligence Wiki, which they added classification levels etc) did
  a
  talk at ... Usenix?  LISA?  One of their conferences.
 
  He was talking about challenges.  The code certification was
  interesting.
   The Wiki project getting in trouble for having (US classified) Secret,
  Top
  Secret, or Top Secret SCI (Secure Compartmented Information) in the
  Open-unclassified category *due to Wikipedia uploads/imports* was
  apparently a major ongoing pain point for the whole organization.
 
  Fortunately not one that was being exposed to the public, other than
  his
  talk...
 
 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] French intelligency agency forces removal of a Wikipedia article

2013-04-08 Thread George Herbert
Regarding laser weapons -

It has been published in public reliable sources, such as Aviation Week,
Proceedings of the Naval Institute, various speciality publications like
Janes Inteligence Review, etc.

We have Category:Military_lasers which is thin but not empty.



On Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 2:17 PM, Fred Bauder fredb...@fairpoint.net wrote:

 Weapons design is obvious; however much intelligence is about rather
 ordinary military capability and deployment. We seem to be doing poorly,
 from the intelligence standpoint responsibly, regarding laser weapons,
 the next big thing I don't think much has been published in public
 reliable sources, although it showed up today in the NYT.

 Fred.

  On 8 April 2013 20:06, George Herbert george.herb...@gmail.com wrote:
 
  He was talking about challenges.  The code certification was
  interesting.
   The Wiki project getting in trouble for having (US classified) Secret,
  Top
  Secret, or Top Secret SCI (Secure Compartmented Information) in the
  Open-unclassified category *due to Wikipedia uploads/imports* was
  apparently a major ongoing pain point for the whole organization.
 
  I have to say, this is a delightful image :-)
 
  We had some problems in the past on enwiki with this officially
  secret situation - well-meaning military personnel trying to remove
  information from articles citing operational security reasons, even
  when the information was definitionally public. Strictly speaking, had
  *they* told us the information, they could perhaps have been breaching
  operational security; the problem came from not connecting that to the
  realisation that not everyone was bound by their specific security
  restrictions.
 
  (I forget the precise pages - a map of military zones in Iraq was
  involved in one, and I've also seen someone try and remove mention of
  where US divisions were based in Germany, which was perhaps a bit like
  trying to hide the proverbial elephant...)
 
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andrew.g...@dunelm.org.uk
 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] French intelligency agency forces removal of a Wikipedia article

2013-04-05 Thread George Herbert
This is seeming a little silly; it's just a big communications station.
 It's got huge radio towers and is very visible on the skyline for a
distance.  It's got a civilian radio/TV tower colocated with it.

I can't see what would be sensitive in the article..


On Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 12:12 PM, Fred Bauder fredb...@fairpoint.net wrote:

 Typical. They were not willing to tell our legal counsel why or what was
 classified; she, of course, has no French security clearance; now it is
 spread all over an administrators noticeboard, and restored.

 They weren't wrong but neither is our legal counsel or the users; so
 fell between the cracks. Hopefully the matter was not too important;
 I'm sure we have enough money to pay for relocating the facility to a
 secure location.

 Fred

  This is where the discussion is happening on-wiki:
 
 http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikip%C3%A9dia:Bulletin_des_administrateurs#Secret_d.C3.A9fense
 
 
  On Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 10:52 AM, Fred Bauder fredb...@fairpoint.net
 wrote:
 
  Hard to know what was involved from the information you provide. The
 problem is there is classified information that amounts to nothing and
 then there is classified information release of which can cause
 serious damage. Defiance will eventually result in serious trouble.
 Not that we should knuckle under to nonsense.
 
  Fred
 
   Hi there,
   I guess you might be interested to hear that Direction Centrale du
 Renseignement Intérieur (Central Directorate of Interior
  Intelligence,
   DCRI), a French intelligence agency that reports directly to the
 Ministry of the Interior, has apparently forced a French Wikipedia
 administrator to delete an article that in their opinion—as I
 understand it—revelead classified information deemed very harmful
  to
   the French national defence (compromission du secret de la Défense
 nationale).
  
   Interestingly, they contacted the WMF legal team with a request to
 remove (delete? suppress?) this article a couple of weeks before
  that,
   but were refused after failing to provide further information on why
 the article should be removed (in the words of a Foundation legal
 counsel).
  
   Undounted by that, they approached the said administrator — who
 operates under his real name, so I guess it was pretty easy to track
 him — and asked him to delete this article, a request which he
 obliged. (The article has since been restored by a different
   administrator). As far as I understand, the version of the article
 they wanted to have deleted was
   https://fr.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=81104004.
  
   I guess that when an intelligence agency asks their citizen to
 remove information from Wikipedia citing the penal code (article
 413-11 of the French penal code in this case), it is something worth
 sharing
  (no
   harm intended).
  
   Further reading in English:
   * https://fr.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?diff=prevoldid=91703508 *
 https://fr.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=91705235
  
   --
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   a.k.a. [[user:odder]]
  
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

2013-03-18 Thread George Herbert
On Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 9:53 AM, MZMcBride z...@mzmcbride.com wrote:

 I continue to think that we (as a community) are still not at a place
 where we can make good judgments about whether to set up an endowment.
 There simply isn't enough information available to make a sound decision,
 in my opinion. That said, the idea of creating an endowment does seem like
 an idea that has broad support for further consideration and exploration,
 which is why I think an investigative or exploratory committee would make
 a lot of sense here and now. Thoughts?



I have seen some good criticisms, which I tend to disagree with but I
think are very healthy to explore and discuss.

I think that an exploratory committee is an excellent idea.  I think
that, regardless of what form it takes, preserving the data and its
history and editability for future generations and the benefit of
humankind writ large is a goal I think it would be good to get
consensus around and then start some thinking / planning.

If an Endowment helps that, then it's worth examining more closely.
If it hurts that, then perhaps not.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

2013-03-15 Thread George Herbert




On Mar 14, 2013, at 10:57 PM, Michael Snow wikipe...@frontier.com wrote:

 Aside from that, it's only recently that Wikimedia sites have approached 
 having the kind of redundancy and failover capabilities we've talked about 
 needing for a long time. That's at least one example of something that can 
 add pretty significant costs without having a material impact on traffic 
 (except in emergencies, of course).

This.

The data in the various Wikis and ability for people to get to it and maintain 
it are a public trust.

Before there was much Foundation or money, as internet public services are wont 
to do, a shoestring needed to suffice.  It would not be responsible to go back 
to those days.  It would actually be a betrayal of the trust and intent of 
those donations over the years.

That is not to say that there is no way that technology or ops tools cannot 
eventually possibly shrink those costs.  But we should be prepared to keep 
spending that much.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Longest living hoax?

2013-03-05 Thread George Herbert
On Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 12:53 PM, Andrew Gray andrew.g...@dunelm.org.uk wrote:
 On 5 March 2013 16:42, Federico Leva (Nemo) nemow...@gmail.comjavascript:;
 wrote:

 It's also telling that the longest hoax was about ancient history: it
 matches the popular belief that history is by far the biggest weakness of
 Wikipedia.

 Our historical coverage is patchy, but I don't think it's our biggest
 weakness - art and culture probably are. That said, history (especially
 non-western history) is one of the bigger weaknesses of the internet as a
 whole, which reinforces the problem; it's much easier for something made up
 to stick if there's no easy online falsification of it. You can plausibly
 demonstrate that a contemporary band or ongoing war does not exist without
 too much trouble; if you draw a blank on a Renaissance painter, you're more
 likely to assume the digital resources are lacking.

I believe that non-computer related engineering fields (mechanical
engineering, structural engineering, civil engineering, materials
science) are still large gaps as well, though better than 3 years ago.

There's a large amount of raw material on the internet, and our job of
forming coherent pictures out of it leaves something to be desired.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Editor retention (was Re: Big data benefits and limitations (relevance: WMF editor engagement, fundraising, and HR practices))

2013-01-08 Thread George Herbert
On Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 4:09 PM, Kim Bruning k...@bruning.xs4all.nl wrote:
 On Fri, Jan 04, 2013 at 04:48:57PM -0800, George Herbert wrote:
 I almost wonder if having a warning flag for highly sensitive or
 contentious article, encouraging editors without some threshold of
 edits (500?  ... some number) to ask about contributions on the
 article talk page first, rather than going directly to editing the
 actual article...


 Note: Adds a threshold, thus negatively influences editor retention.


 sincerely,
 Kim Bruning

 scratches head Maybe we need some sort of course/book wiki-process design 
 for
 dummies.

The converse of that is new user wades in unaware, is beaten up by
experienced editors who have long-standing biases and positions on the
article, concludes WP is full of opinionated asshats who want no
changes whatsoever, and leaves.

That never happens...

Every choice - including choices we are aware of, but chose not to
take - has an impact.  We're talking about these because we are aware
of negative impacts of the way we do things now.

That is not to say that adding process or technology helps.  But we
need to understand what's wrong with the current way of doing things
as part of the discussion.



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Editor retention (was Re: Big data benefits and limitations (relevance: WMF editor engagement, fundraising, and HR practices))

2013-01-08 Thread George Herbert
On Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 4:23 PM, Kim Bruning k...@bruning.xs4all.nl wrote:
 On Tue, Jan 08, 2013 at 04:13:20PM -0800, George Herbert wrote:
 
  Note: Adds a threshold, thus negatively influences editor retention.

 
 But we need to understand what's wrong with the current way of doing things 
 as
 part of the discussion.


 Consider a famous example in Japan: Several Japanese onsens had problems with
 Russian Sailors, so in the end they instituded a no foreigners allowed 
 policy.
 This solved the probnlem nicely.

 I've also heard a story about a lan party in texas, where they had had 
 repeated
 issues with people hurling slurs at girl gamers etc. so in the end they simply
 banned all female participants.


 The correct solution to newbies being chased off is not ban them upfront. 
 The
 correct solution is to deal with those chasing off the newbies ;-)

There is a tremendous difference between a clickthrough warning that
one might be wading into a dangerous topic, and a ban of a type or
class of users from articles or topic areas.

Some users who we would, in a total picture and retrospect, not want
to edit those articles (and be subject to potential or actual nasty
responses) will be driven off that article.  That's the idea working.

Some of those would be discouraged from editing elsewhere on the wiki
and leaving entirely.  That would be the idea having unintended
consequences beyond the specific purpose, failing in a
counterproductive way.

Some people would ignore the warning and post anyways.

Some of those would get nasty responses and leave entirely.  This
would be the idea failing.

Some will get nasty responses, recall the warning, and go edit
elsewhere.  This would be a suboptimal but ultimately successful
version of the idea working.

Properly considered, we'd look at how many people the idea worked for
- warned them effectively, either redirecting them to less
controversial topics or helping them be forewarned about the
controversies.  We'd compare with the people it didn't work for, the
failures and the counterproductive failures.

Additionally, we'd compare it with doing nothing, with how many
editors we're driving away now when they walk unawares into hornets
nests.

Additionally, we could compare it to alternate solutions such as
discouraging nasty editors from driving newbies away.

In a net sense, if we drove away more people than we saved, it would
be a loss to include it.  If it worked better than the alternate
solution it would also be a better idea.

You're presuming we'd drive away more people than we saved.  I don't
reject the possibility that that's true, but it's worth examining.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Editor retention (was Re: Big data benefits and limitations (relevance: WMF editor engagement, fundraising, and HR practices))

2013-01-04 Thread George Herbert
On Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 10:05 AM, David Gerard dger...@gmail.com wrote:
 On 4 January 2013 17:56, Mark delir...@hackish.org wrote:

 1a. Do *not* pick a source that you have a particularly close personal or
 emotional connection to: it is not good to start with your own research,
 your supervisor's or colleague's research, a project of yours or that you're
 involved with, a nationalist/political/religious subject you feel strongly
 about, the history of your own family, etc.


 This can be a problem in that people will become interested first in
 fixing something they think is wrong because they know about it. I do
 realise all the steps from that to here, and that a list of
 instructions pretty much won't be read.

Along the lines of noneuclidian geometry...

What if we experiment (at least conceptually) with inverting that
instruction?  Encourage people to write on subjects they know...

Normal people won't be so much of an expert that using their own
professional or academic work as a reference is even applicable.

Actual experts, we can include a Please cite your sources, rather
than your own work, thanks! and leave it at that.

Actual experts who fail to heed that are a problem, but a much smaller
and easier to communicate with and explain problem than the no-newbies
one.
.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Editor retention (was Re: Big data benefits and limitations (relevance: WMF editor engagement, fundraising, and HR practices))

2013-01-04 Thread George Herbert
On Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 3:56 PM, Martijn Hoekstra
martijnhoeks...@gmail.com wrote:
 On Jan 5, 2013 12:51 AM, George Herbert george.herb...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 10:05 AM, David Gerard dger...@gmail.com wrote:
  On 4 January 2013 17:56, Mark delir...@hackish.org wrote:
 
  1a. Do *not* pick a source that you have a particularly close personal
 or
  emotional connection to: it is not good to start with your own
 research,
  your supervisor's or colleague's research, a project of yours or that
 you're
  involved with, a nationalist/political/religious subject you feel
 strongly
  about, the history of your own family, etc.
 
 
  This can be a problem in that people will become interested first in
  fixing something they think is wrong because they know about it. I do
  realise all the steps from that to here, and that a list of
  instructions pretty much won't be read.

 Along the lines of noneuclidian geometry...

 What if we experiment (at least conceptually) with inverting that
 instruction?  Encourage people to write on subjects they know...

 Normal people won't be so much of an expert that using their own
 professional or academic work as a reference is even applicable.

 Actual experts, we can include a Please cite your sources, rather
 than your own work, thanks! and leave it at that.

 Actual experts who fail to heed that are a problem, but a much smaller
 and easier to communicate with and explain problem than the no-newbies
 one.
 .


 Please resubmit this suggestion after three hours of AfC work

You think I haven't done hours (days, weeks, at one point a month)
worth of AfC work?

I thought AfC was a great place to ramp up my WP skills when I was
getting in sync.  Pick something I knew about but not enough to write
an article, go research it, zap.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Editor retention (was Re: Big data benefits and limitations (relevance: WMF editor engagement, fundraising, and HR practices))

2013-01-04 Thread George Herbert
On Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 4:37 PM, Mark delir...@hackish.org wrote:
 On 1/4/13 5:51 PM, George Herbert wrote:

 On Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 10:05 AM, David Gerard dger...@gmail.com wrote:

 On 4 January 2013 17:56, Mark delir...@hackish.org wrote:

 1a. Do *not* pick a source that you have a particularly close personal
 or
 emotional connection to: it is not good to start with your own research,
 your supervisor's or colleague's research, a project of yours or that
 you're
 involved with, a nationalist/political/religious subject you feel
 strongly
 about, the history of your own family, etc.


 This can be a problem in that people will become interested first in
 fixing something they think is wrong because they know about it. I do
 realise all the steps from that to here, and that a list of
 instructions pretty much won't be read.

 Along the lines of noneuclidian geometry...

 What if we experiment (at least conceptually) with inverting that
 instruction?  Encourage people to write on subjects they know...


 Hmm, I should've worded that more narrowly. I don't disagree with people
 writing on subjects they know (quite the opposite!). I have more in mind to
 avoid things that people have an unusually close personal/emotional
 connection to, which makes it more likely their editing will result in
 POV-pushing.

 For example, I'm Greek, and know a bit about Greek culture, history, etc.,
 and these are fine areas for someone to start editing in. On the other hand,
 a Greek choosing [[Macedonia naming dispute]] or [[Cyprus dispute]] as the
 first article one edits (e.g. to correct misinformation) is less
 advisable, imo. It's certainly possible to edit reasonably in those areas,
 but I think it's a poor starting point, and requires some more experience
 with how to write neutral articles in contentious areas, and how to reach a
 consensus over what that even means.

I almost wonder if having a warning flag for highly sensitive or
contentious article, encouraging editors without some threshold of
edits (500?  ... some number) to ask about contributions on the
article talk page first, rather than going directly to editing the
actual article...

Don't make it impossible for them to edit the actual article by any
means, but give them an intermediate popup warning them that they
might want to think about it and ask about it first...  Click through
to edit the article, or click over here to ask on the talk page.

If they edit anyways and push hot buttons, we deal with it, but at
least they were warned.  If they ask on talk page and figure it out,
great.

 Same in my area of expertise: editing AI articles is a great place for an AI
 researcher to start editing, but editing an article on one's own research
 lab, self, department, algorithm, etc. is not a great place. Unfortunately I
 often find academics primarily interested in the latter: the would-be-editor
 question I most often get is along the lines of, how do I create a
 Wikipedia article on [my own thing]? I do try to redirect this into
 suggesting they edit more generally in their area of expertise but not
 *specifically* their approach/self/lab they're trying to promote, e.g. think
 about what exists in a good textbook or survey article that's not yet
 covered well in Wikipedia, and work there. But I'd say that's usually not
 successful.


Most experts haven't written or contemplated writing general purpose
overviews or survey texts in their field, so they're not actually
experienced in that aspect of it.  Many of them may have escaped
having to teach the undergrad intro to the field course, even 8-)

It's not easy.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Big data benefits and limitations (relevance: WMF editor engagement, fundraising, and HR practices)

2013-01-02 Thread George Herbert
On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 8:16 PM, Tim Starling tstarl...@wikimedia.org wrote:
 On 02/01/13 09:33, ENWP Pine wrote:
 Hi Pine,

 It might be because of the alcohol I've ingested these last days, but
 - what are you proposing exactly?

 Hapy new year,
   strainu


 I wasn't proposing any specific action. I was thinking, Big Data is a
 cool topic, it's a big topic in its own right, it's relevant to several
 aspects of Wikimedia, and other people might be interested in reading
 about it or thinking about it in relation to work that they're doing or
 priorities that they have.

 Maybe Wikimedia should have some sort of Buzzword Compliance Officer
 to manage this sort of thing. You know, scalable P2P in the cloud,
 mining big data on a NoSQL platform etc. etc.

 -- Tim Starling

Laugh all you want, but the best man at my wedding's scalable P2P in
the cloud company was acquired by Adobe, then he was poached by Skype
who were poached by Microsoft, and now he's a Very Senior Architect
spending most of his time flying around the world to far-flung
offices, architecting and implementing scalable P2P in the cloud.

And a recent company coworker was hired to mine big data on a NoSQL
platform as part of the data analysis team of Obama's reelection
campaign.

That is not to say we aren't all getting a good laugh at the current
round of fully-buzzword-compliant press articles with the new year, or
have fun watching trunk friends stagger around yelling Fully
virtualized big data SAAS in the cloud!.

8-)


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Big data benefits and limitations (relevance: WMF editor engagement, fundraising, and HR practices)

2013-01-02 Thread George Herbert
Yes.  Big data is neither the problem nor the solution here.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

On Jan 2, 2013, at 10:38 PM, Tim Starling tstarl...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 On 03/01/13 16:09, George Herbert wrote:
 Laugh all you want, but the best man at my wedding's scalable P2P in
 the cloud company was acquired by Adobe, then he was poached by Skype
 who were poached by Microsoft, and now he's a Very Senior Architect
 spending most of his time flying around the world to far-flung
 offices, architecting and implementing scalable P2P in the cloud.
 
 Flying sucks. Time spent flying should be a measure of failure, not
 success.
 
 Anyway, I wouldn't go so far as to deny the existence of
 petabyte-sized data sets, or to deny that some organisations derive
 value from being able to pass them through CPUs in a reasonable amount
 of time. I merely question the value of a mailing list post that says
 hey, big data, we should do that.
 
 Wikipedia's problems are obvious and severe:
 
 * Incivility by established users towards new users
 * Capture of articles by self-appointed owners
 * Sneaky vandalism and misinformation
 
 If you look at the comments section of any online news article about
 Wikipedia, you will see these valid criticisms repeated over and over
 as reasons why people have stopped contributing to Wikipedia or refuse
 to start. The number of active (5 edits/mo) contributors has declined
 from 13000 in January 2007 to 5900 in October 2012.
 
 You don't need big data to see what needs to be done.
 
 -- Tim Starling
 
 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FreeBSD fate and the lesson for Wikimedia movement

2012-12-09 Thread George Herbert
The CIA version added ACLs.  Never say never...

George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

On Dec 9, 2012, at 10:29 PM, David Gerard dger...@gmail.com wrote:

 On 10 December 2012 05:17, Amir E. Aharoni amir.ahar...@mail.huji.ac.il 
 wrote:
 
 Wordpress' strong card is its rather stable PHP-based
 platform, and when you think of it, that platform is not much more
 technically advanced than MediaWiki is, but it has a much more vibrant
 community of users. And when I say vibrant, I mean lots of people
 make money out of installing Wordpress for their clients. I know that
 it's a dirty question, but did anyone ever try to estimate how much
 money is made around the world from maintaining MediaWiki sites?
 
 
 Not a huge amount. MediaWiki needs to be a *lot* more popular for the
 enterprise. Compared to Confluence, it lacks the tick-box items ACLs
 and WYSIWYG; it'll never have ACLs, but the visual editor should
 help a great deal. Confluence is also one of the few things I can
 think of that makes MediaWiki look lightweight.
 
 
 - d.
 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Bon voyage, Jay

2012-10-31 Thread George Herbert
Does that mean we should cancel the cake and WikiDancers?


On Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 5:56 PM, Jay Walsh jwa...@wikimedia.org wrote:
 Hi folks - I'm happy to report that there's been a beneficial turn of
 events from the original announcement a few weeks ago. Apologies for the
 delay in getting back you.

 After some reflection and conversations I've decided to change course from
 my original plans and stay on with the Foundation. I spent a lot of time
 reviewing succession plans, looking at future communications projects, and
 chatting with me team and realised that some awesome and important work was
 still ahead of me.

 You really only get one chance to work at an extraordinary place like the
 Wikimedia Foundation. We impact millions of lives every day, and the tens
 of thousands of people like you - our amazing volunteers - have high
 expectations of us. I am energized by the opportunity to protect our
 projects and move the platform forward. It's tough work, but it's
 incredible to see how it all comes together.

 I heard and read some really wonderful comments since Geoff sent out this
 notice, and I want to thank everyone for your kind words. It definitely
 helped me think about the work we've done together, and the incredible work
 that's not yet done.

 Looking forward to pressing ahead with you all.

 Jay

 On Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 11:28 AM, Geoff Brigham gbrig...@wikimedia.orgwrote:

 *Next week, we’re saying goodbye to our long-term Head of Communications,
 Jay Walsh. He will be starting shortly a new adventure working at a San
 Francisco based start-up in corporate communications. His last day at the
 Foundation will be Tuesday, October 23. The Foundation will be kicking off
 a search process for a new head of communications, and in the interim we’ll
 also be receiving communications strategy from our advisers at Minassian
 Media, a consultancy that helped us manage communications around
 Wikipedia’s tenth anniversary.

 Since Jay started at the Foundation in January 2008 he’s taken a lead role
 in shaping both the voice and identity of the Wikimedia Foundation, and has
 played a critical function in supporting our projects. He’s been our
 spokesperson on hundreds of media inquiries, helping to shape a positive
 and enlightened perspective on our projects in some of the biggest media
 outlets in the world. Jay has provided communications counsel on major
 initiatives to almost everyone at the Foundation, and I’m sure to many of
 you throughout our community.

 Since starting at WMF Jay has grown the communications team, which now
 includes roles supporting movement communications, global media outreach,
 and merchandise. Under his leadership we created and grew a blog which now
 sees up to 40 posts a month, a social media presence with over a million
 followers, and content published in many localized languages. Jay helped us
 bring the Foundation’s first four annual reports to the world, and he gave
 us a voice and open identity for great events like Wikipedia 10.

 We’ve been fortunate to have strong communications leadership for a period
 of rapid growth for our projects and our movement. Please join me in
 wishing Jay well on his next steps.  We will miss him.*

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 blog.wikimedia.org
 +1 (415) 839 6885 x 6609, @jansonw
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] (semi-OT) Open access catastrophic for Elsevier

2012-09-26 Thread George Herbert
On Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 3:08 PM, emijrp emi...@gmail.com wrote:
 Coordinating people to write encyclopedias was expensive. Well, until 2001.

eventualism and our reliable sources model are probably a very poor
match to time-sensitive original research in the sciences or
engineering, which is what journals are all about.

That is not to say that a pure open-content and organization model
could not work, but I don't think ours does.

If you want to help figure out and organize one...


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] (semi-OT) Open access catastrophic for Elsevier

2012-09-25 Thread George Herbert
On Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 2:12 PM, Mark delir...@hackish.org wrote:
 On 9/25/12 12:32 AM, George Herbert wrote:

 On Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 2:52 PM, Richard Farmbrough
 rich...@farmbrough.co.uk wrote:

 On 24/09/2012 03:49, Risker wrote:

 the costs of peer review

 I have academics complaining to me that they don't get paid for peer
 review,
 so I'm not sure what these costs are.

 Someone has to edit the magazine, pre-accept papers, and handle the
 peer reviews.


 The actual organization of peer reviews generally isn't paid even at
 for-profit journals, at least in my field. The editor-in-chief and editorial
 board are usually responsible for finding and assigning reviewers, and then
 making a decision based on their reviews, and those aren't paid positions.
 There are indeed editing/layout costs at some journals, though it varies
 widely. In computer science, the costs are typically lower to nonexistent,
 because of an expectation that authors will be able to deliver
 publication-ready PDFs, using LaTeX and a template provided by the journal.

 The two top journals these days in my field (artificial intelligence) both
 run on fairly low budgets, one a rounding error away from $0, and the other
 a modest nonprofit:

 * http://jmlr.csail.mit.edu/ -- donated server space from MIT, and a
 completely volunteer editorial process
 * http://jair.org/ -- nonprofit organization with a small budget (funded by
 donations and grants) pays for server space and a small staff

 -Mark

Computer Science seems to have taken the lead there, but my
understanding (as an outsider, interested, but not participating much)
is that physical and biological sciences, and most other engineering,
usually pay a staffer and the editor-in-chief, but usually not
reviewers or the editorial board.

I'm sure it's wildly across the map from field to field and
publication to publication, though...

The important part of the discussion is to get on the table that there
are real production EFFORTS involved in all of these journals; it's
not just an email balancing act, a large part of people's work time is
dedicated to coordination and reviewing reviews and finding reviewers
and the like.  Authors are asked to review.  Lots of effort is
happening.

Whether most of that is free - supported by institutions or done by
people out of the goodness of their heart (or for prestige) - or paid,
it's happening.

If I'm paying $1,000 a year for a journal I darn well expect that
they're both paying the coordination and production staff and also
exercising not academic interference, but having an organizational
review board to make sure the editor and editorial committee aren't
running off the rails (as has been known to happen in lesser known
journals).


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] (semi-OT) Open access catastrophic for Elsevier

2012-09-24 Thread George Herbert
On Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 2:52 PM, Richard Farmbrough
rich...@farmbrough.co.uk wrote:
 On 24/09/2012 03:49, Risker wrote:

 the costs of peer review

 I have academics complaining to me that they don't get paid for peer review,
 so I'm not sure what these costs are.

Someone has to edit the magazine, pre-accept papers, and handle the
peer reviews.

Peer review logistics is non-trivial - identifying reviewers, ensuring
the reviewers review, on time, and making sure they did their work and
sorting it out if the answer is neither unambiguously yes or no, etc.

I just went through this process on a system administration paper for
the LISA conference this year; their peer reviews were significantly
lower impact (few paragraphs per reviewer) and done with anonymity and
visibility to the author via a web tool.  They still have a couple of
people at HQ handling the logistics of the system and related
paperwork, plus the conference chair, plus the paper's individual
Shepherd (introduced recently).  I think they only pay their HQ staff,
but still non-trivial effort.  Hundreds of dollars a paper, at least,
and much less than other more scientific papers would take (I think).

They're not charging authors or authors' companies/universities, and
the papers are open-access.  They appear to handle it as conference
overhead, and charge for the conferences.

Probably can't do that for most journals, and ads with a conflict of
interest are taken badly...


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] OT / Fwd: [STS-L] FINAL TERMINATION OF THE NBII on September 30, 2012

2012-09-20 Thread George Herbert
Query - would making this on-topic for the Foundation be appropriate?

I.e., is the Foundation perhaps hosting and curating these apps and
data a reasonable project for us to take on?  Even if it took some
time to return some of the apps to usable, bringing over the data sets
and software to an archival location and offering to host turning it
back on again if the prior researchers or another subject matter
expert stepped up to help with that seems possible.


-george william herbert
george.herb...@gmail.com

On Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 1:01 PM, phoebe ayers phoebe.w...@gmail.com wrote:
 (off-topic for Wikimedia, on-topic for access to knowledge in general)

 The below news is sad, but not unusual, and increasingly common as
 government budgets shrink. The NBII was a multi-year effort to
 collect, curate and make accessible sources of biological data,
 especially about the US. The site is archived here, among other
 places; I don't know what happened to the data files that were hosted.
 http://wayback.archive-it.org/2361/20120105233212/http://www.nbii.gov/portal/server.pt/community/nbii_home/236

 Mostly, I think this is a reminder that what we do vis a vis
 advocating for free licenses, reusable data, distributed curation etc.
 is *important*. It's a safeguard against failure that's hard to
 imagine in the short-term but almost inevitable in the long-term
 (though in the world of knowledge projects, Wikimedia may --
 ironically and surprisingly enough! -- end up being one of the most
 resilient long-term platforms).

 -- phoebe



 - Forwarded Message -
 From: Frederick Stoss fst...@buffalo.edu
 

 Please pass this on to other library associations and their
 appropriate science and environmental units, especially SLA.



 You may recall the modest clamor late last year with the shuttering of
 the Website of the National Biological Information Infrastructure
 (NBII) within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which was terminated
 on October 1, 2011, as a result of a Federal budget cut and
 re-organization within the USGS. The final elimination of the NBII
 Website takes place at the end of this month. Here is the official
 wording about the termination of this once important and richly
 populated data resource on the flora and fauna of the United States,
 and detailed inventories of resources, services, publications and
 tools related to biodiversity, ecology and related aspects of the US
 biomes:



 “In the President's budget for Fiscal Year 2012, the National
 Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), a program under the U.S.
 Geological Survey’s Biological Information Management and Delivery
 Program, was terminated. As a result, the funding that facilitated the
 NBII Node partnerships, as well as the development and maintenance of
 databases, applications and systems, is no longer available. On
 January 15, 2012, all NBII websites/applications with an *.nbii.gov
 URL were removed from the internet.

 “This website currently provides the latest information on
 communications with partners, the disposition status of NBII Web
 sites, data and applications, and general FAQs related to the NBII
 Program’s termination. The NBII Program close-out will be complete on
 September 30, 2012, and the www.nbii.gov URL will be turned off on
 that date. The termination information provided here will be made
 available on the USGS FAQ site after September 30, 2012.”

 Note those last two sentences:



 “ The NBII Program close-out will be complete on September 30, 2012,
 and the www.nbii.gov URL will be turned off on that date. The
 termination information provided here will be made available on the
 USGS FAQ site after September 30, 2012.”

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] CNET News: Corruption in Wikiland? Paid PR scandal erupts at Wikipedia

2012-09-19 Thread George Herbert
On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 8:50 AM, David Gerard dger...@gmail.com wrote:
 On 19 September 2012 15:36, Kim Bruning k...@bruning.xs4all.nl wrote:
 On Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 05:19:19PM -0700, George Herbert wrote:

 I'm curious as to the internal view of the details, but... this is
 Violet Blue blogging about us.

 Violet Blue is a known quantity to you?


 Internet-famous blogger and ex-Boing Boing contributor who now
 occasionally posts to CNet. And has pretty clearly less idea of what
 journalism constitutes than I did when I was eighteen and started an
 indie rock fanzine. I wouldn't mind if the article was just critical
 of us, but it's actually incompetent.

Ah, that's not helpful, David.

To answer Kim - Yes, known quantity, both online and off.  She is an
active sex and gender issues journalist / commentator / whatever the
heck that role is titled now (not just blogger, she is published in
several paper venues on a semi-regular basis).

She has a long history (along with her at least then-boyfriend) of
having gotten into an online tiff with a Wikipedia contributor to her
article that escalated to restraining orders and legal threats in real
life, though I don't believe any lawsuits were filed for real.

There were real name identification, age, and other issues - both
privacy issues, and a legal name change and desire not to be known by
her (well sourced) original name.

She does not like Wikipedia in general or that editor in particular as a result.

It's still not clear to me that the editor did anything wrong by
then-current standards, though BLP and current standards would
potentially be a different story.  It was reasonably clear that Violet
Blue and her boyfriend or fiancee at the time (whose current status I
do not know) edited and discussed confrontationally on-wiki for some
time, regarding the incident, along with the real-world legal threats.

It's been years, and I believe it's all calmed down, but she evidently
and not surprisingly still has a strong and somewhat negative opinion
of Wikipedia.

She is or was living somewhere in San Francisco but despite knowing a
number of people in related communities I have not to my knowledge met
her in person.  I've been told by some people that she's perfectly
community normative (cough) in behavior and reasonableness in person,
for that community.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] CNET News: Corruption in Wikiland? Paid PR scandal erupts at Wikipedia

2012-09-18 Thread George Herbert
I'm curious as to the internal view of the details, but... this is
Violet Blue blogging about us.


-george

On Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 4:10 PM, Kim Bruning k...@bruning.xs4all.nl wrote:

 Spotted this in my news feed,
 
 http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57514677-93/corruption-in-wikiland-paid-pr-scandal-erupts-at-wikipedia/

 sincerely,
 Kim Bruning

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Copyright on Xrays

2012-08-20 Thread George Herbert
Was this long thread launched by an actual on-wiki (or off-wiki)
Wikipedia or other WMF project issue with medical imaging images?

...

Pardon if it would be obvious should I actually check AN or some such,
but I've been busy all weekend and today.


-george

On Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 5:39 PM, Ray Saintonge sainto...@telus.net wrote:
 On 08/20/12 12:17 PM, geni wrote:

 On 20 August 2012 12:52, David Gerard dger...@gmail.com wrote:

 On 20 August 2012 12:50, Anthony wikim...@inbox.org wrote:

 On Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 7:47 AM, David Gerard dger...@gmail.com wrote:


 I'm sure that collectively we can bloviate with the best of 'em on the
 topic - but do we have any case law whatsoever anywhere on the topic
 that might give real-world pointers?


 It's a question of fact, not a question of law.

 Then any real-world examples of the question arising.

 I doubt it. Most X-rays aren't worth enough to be worth suing over and
 the handful that are mostly derive for the scientific community who
 tend not to sue people over the issue of copyright.

 This certainly sums it up. Personality rights are a separate issue, and in
 most cases it should be easy to separate them except maybe conjoined twins
 and people who have swallowed a charm bracelet with their name clearly
 exposed. Breach of contractual rights and employment contracts are also a
 separate matter. It's actually easier to deal with these because something
 is spelled out. Our concern is more with situations where nothing is
 expressed before the problem comes up.

 My basic view is that the X-ray is copyrightable with the ownership of the
 copyright vesting in the person who invested most of the originality. If
 that person is bold enough to be the *first* person to put that image in
 fixed form there will be a presumption that he has a right to do so. Who is
 going to challenge him? A DMCA takedown order won't work, because it must
 reference the work that was infringed as well as the infringement. To get
 any more than provable damages the copyright must also be registered.

 It may give comfort to owners to know that copyright in a work is automatic
 without registration, but the down side of this is a huge assortment of
 material is copyright where the true owner has neither the knowledge or
 desire for this kind of protection.

 Ray


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Outage: what I'm telling the press

2012-08-06 Thread George Herbert
On Mon, Aug 6, 2012 at 12:54 PM, David Gerard dger...@gmail.com wrote:
 On 6 August 2012 20:43, Andreas Kolbe jayen...@gmail.com wrote:

 David, the BBC says you told them the following:


 See, this is where you part ways with how the media works. These days
 I count it as a win if anything in quotes uses words I've ever used in
 my life.

That never happens.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Update on IPv6

2012-06-03 Thread George Herbert




On Jun 2, 2012, at 6:13, Anthony wikim...@inbox.org wrote:

 On Sat, Jun 2, 2012 at 8:49 AM, Thomas Dalton thomas.dal...@gmail.com wrote:
 On 2 June 2012 13:44, Anthony wikim...@inbox.org wrote:
 On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 7:27 PM, John Du Hart compwhi...@gmail.com wrote:
 What personal information do you think is contained in an IPv6 address?
 
 Don't they sometimes contain MAC address information?
 
 I don't know, but I wouldn't consider my MAC address to be personal
 information... you might be able to work out what brand of computer
 I'm using, but I can live with that.
 
 I'm not sure what you're defining personal information as, then.
 
 Is your vehicle's VIN personal information?

It becomes a global unique publicly visible identifier if you always use the 
same connect method (wireless, ethernet) and don't enable privacy extensions.

In WMF relevant senses, unaware abusers with multiple ISPs become easier to 
find.  And privacy is different, because many end users are IDed that way.  But 
the implications of that are unclear.  Someone being outed to an employer or 
government by MAC?  ...


George William Herbert
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Update on IPv6

2012-06-03 Thread George Herbert




On Jun 2, 2012, at 1:05, Tim Starling tstarl...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 On 02/06/12 05:04, Hersfold wrote:
 I'm very concerned that this is what's going to happen with the IPv6
 change - something major is going to fail, and the wiki will become
 inaccessible, or some major security feature (blocking or protection,
 for example) will be rendered inoperable, leaving the wikis vulnerable
 to attack from all fronts. The latter situation seems to be more
 likely based on past issues, and unfortunately more problematic; once
 these issues get noted, it'll take only minutes for /b/, GNAA, and a
 long list of other vandals to figure it out and launch a full-scale
 attack that'll take weeks to clean up.
 
 We could just allow blocking of arbitrarily large IPv6 ranges. Then if
 there is some emergency, you can just block everyone who is using IPv6
 from editing. The collateral damage would be smaller than the IPv4 /16
 blocks which admins apply routinely.
 
 -- Tim Starling

Routinely is a little strong.  Admins should be taking due care regarding 
collateral damage for /16s...

But, it is done.


George William Herbert
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Study: Nobody cares about your copyright

2012-05-23 Thread George Herbert
On Mon, May 21, 2012 at 12:59 PM, Mike Linksvayer m...@gondwanaland.com wrote:
 Maximising artistic production is a terrible goal for policy.

Why?

The whole idea of copyright - as the US started seeing it, in our
constitution and thence onwards, is properly rewarding creative people
for their efforts.  Free content and culture and information -
Wikipedia included - is great.  I don't see any need to forcibly tear
down the whole edifice of commercial paid arts in the process.

In particular, the public has no problem with individual musicians and
writers being rewarded for their efforts.  Trying to overcome that
would mean making enemies out of most of the populace on this when we
don't have to.

The authors I've talked to about this see books turned into films in
the 8-10-15-20 year timeframes and want at least that much, and also
notice that the Tolkein estate are making out like bandits from the
recent trilogy, which was far longer downstream.

 At the
 very least civil liberty, equality, and security need to be considered
 as well. If 15 years is indeed the correct length for maximising
 artistic production, the correct length, considering more important
 things, is much less. 14 years is indeed a meme and again would be a
 vast improvement. But given 14 years or any other shortening is
 totally infeasible in the near term, I'd prefer a bit more visionary
 advocacy that resets the debate, again putting artistic production at
 a far lower priority than freedom etc.

Nobody's made a big public case for any shorter term.

That's a mistake.  The whole CC and free content movement needs to
step up.  We need Cory and other luminaries advocating for a sane
term, and 14 is a good round number that works for everyone except
insane anti-IP bigots on one hand and Hollywood on the other, whom I
feel little remaining sympathy for.


-- 
-george william herbert
george.herb...@gmail.com

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