On 20 February 2014 00:56, HaeB <haebw...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Sorry, but I think these concerns are overblown.

I do not intend to fill everyone's inbox with a back-and-forth, but I do
want to clarify some of my points.

> First, IANAL, but an "academic ... who makes their first tentative
> edit" or other normal newbies will most likely not fall under that
> provision, unless they are instructed by their employer to make that
> edit (but then, why would an organization such as an university spend
> money to pay someone for work in which that person has no experience
> whatsoever?).

I know that you are familiar with the Wikimedia Foundation's Education
Program, which did exactly what you are suggesting is so bizarre. Yes, many
professors over the years have made their first edits as part of their paid
work of teaching university courses, and I doubt they were all diligent
about disclosure, or that many people minded. And it's not hard to imagine
other activities an academic, with a professional mandate to provide public
education, could legitimately perform on Wikimedia as part of their day
job. The president of the American Historical Association wrote an article
saying that historians have a professional obligation to do so. Sue Gardner
gave a keynote for the American Library Association suggesting the same
thing for librarians. I believe the reason universities and scholars would
do this sort of thing and receive compensation for it is that, like an
academic's normal day job, it serves the public interest. These are all
mainstream and fairly well-understood concepts within the Wikimedia
community, even though they entail (non-advocacy) paid editing.

Second, you make it appear like every violation of the TOU is a felony
> ("outlaw mistakes") and likely to be the target of legal action. In my
> observation as a longtime editor, the reality is different. As a
> comparison, the terms of use also forbid copyright infringement and
> require proper attribution of content. Yet as we all know, newbie
> mistakes in that area are very common, and even many experienced
> editors violate [[WP:CWW]] without facing major consequences or
> lawsuits ;) However, that doesn't mean at all that we should drop
> these requirements - they help us achieving our goal of building a
> body of knowledge that can be freely shared and reused.

I appreciate that you think I am overreacting, but you are putting words in
my mouth--I clearly understand that a Wikimedia TOU is not a legislative
action by the government, and I was only suggesting that the WMF would be
making a rule, not a literal law. By dismissing me in that way, you have
ignored my real point, which is that the proposed text sets up a situation
in which any reasonable, well-intentioned new paid editor is naturally
likely to violate the site's TOU. That is not itself a reason not to have
such a clause in a TOU, but it does seem like it would contribute to the
feeling that Wikipedia is overly rule-bound and unwelcoming to newcomers.

Last, you vehemently object to the text mentioning that people "will
> be subject to 'applicable law'(!)". Well, the Foundation doesn't make
> these laws, and not mentioning them in the TOU doesn't make them go
> away. They are not mere "stumbling blocks" that WMF can remove in
> order to make the life of GLAM professionals a bit easier. You should
> instead complain to the FTC or the other (non-US) legal institutions
> mentioned in the FAQ about this point.

I did not anywhere advocate for making laws go away, or thinking that this
is a TOU's role. Any person is always bound by all applicable laws in
anything they do, as you say. The fact that there may be an applicable law
does not necessitate making a TOU to state that unless it is constructive
in some way to do so.

> Instead, the discussions about this topic, even on
> this mailing list, often see heavy participation by the minority of
> community members who do, or have done, professional PR work or paid
> work related to content contribution, often without disclosing it in
> these discussions.

It doesn't appear anyone described by the above sentence has weighed in
here yet (nor did such people dominate the recent "Paid editing v. paid
advocacy" thread), unless that is aimed at me. You probably won't be
surprised to hear that, from my perspective, these discussions are seem to
suffer from the conflation paid advocacy and paid editing in pursuit of
Wikimedia's mission. This discussion shows how the proposal promotes that
same conflation, except it is all "undisclosed paid editing" that is now
the enemy, still with no regard as to whether it is advocacy or not.

The goal in this discussion should not be to say why paid advocacy is bad.
That is a given for most people. The point of the discussion is to
establish what good this proposal for the TOU would do for Wikimedia's
mission, and if it is worth the potential harm.

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