On 8/3/2012 10:47 AM, Stephen LaPorte wrote:
On Thu, Aug 2, 2012 at 6:07 PM, MZMcBride <z...@mzmcbride.com> wrote:
My question, more directly, is: if the SOPA action from January 2012
were held in August 2012 (following the implementation of this new statement
from the General Counsel's office), would it be considered a "community
initiative" or not?
The community's decision to blackout a project would not be within
this guideline, but any additional WMF resources would require legal
and financial review. There are strict laws in the U.S. that limit
when a non-profit organization may engage in political and legislative
activity, and it is the General Counsel and CFA's duty to ensure that
the WMF complies with those laws. The community has procedures for
determining consensus for action, and most of the time the community
can implement that action without any additional resources from the
WMF.
Perhaps worth adding, I think it's fair to say that these reviews did take place with respect to the use of Wikimedia Foundation resources in the context of the January SOPA protest. They didn't necessarily follow the form of the current policy, since it didn't exist yet, but Geoff was actively involved and I believe the staff was generally quite conscious of the limitations on what they should do in their official capacity. There's always room for honest disagreement about whether the protest was desirable or necessary, but just in terms of the process, I think things were entirely appropriately handled.

I agree that the community retains the authority to reach its own decisions about future actions of this type. I think the policy should be understood primarily as something the foundation will adhere to in its operations, not something that regulates the community's autonomy.

--Michael Snow

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