Thank you Phoebe, this is one of those threads that are really nice to
read. It's been less than a year on here for me, and still I think I've
seen just about every type of post you mention - the sure sign of a
vigorous and healthy list. And now nostalgia can be added to [[List of
topics covered on the wikimedia-l mailing list]] :)
Here's to the next 10 years!
On Thu, 17 Apr 2014, phoebe ayers wrote:
So, to change the subject entirely, I just discovered that this is the 10
year anniversary of foundation-l/wikimedia-l!
Foundation-l was founded in April 2004, and was renamed to wikimedia-l two
Foundation-l was originally an offshoot from wikipedia-l, which is where
the first discussions about policies and issues on the projects were held.
It was proposed as a separate list in order to discuss "Wikimedia-wide
Over the years, we have had debates on every subject under the sun. We've
gone through high points, hammering out constructive policies and debates,
sharing our experiences as encyclopedists and free culture enthusiasts; and
we've gone through low points, with allegations of bad behavior flying left
and right and people belaboring points beyond all reason. Sometimes --
usually, in fact -- it's both at once, in different threads. The list has
been a place to send ideas, manifestos, and information as well as a place
to discuss with others who share our passions.
We've debated the list and its place a lot over the years. We have talked
about moderation, but rarely done anything with it. We've implemented
posting limits (still in place: 30 posts/person/month); enforced posting
limits; forgotten to enforce posting limits; talked about stricter or
weaker limits. We've split sub-topic lists out; we've merged lists back
together. We've debated the cost in time and energy of each email, the
burden that being subscribed to the list means, how impossible to keep up
it is. We've tried summaries, filters, translations. We've talked about
languages, and tried many times (unsuccessfully to date) to make the list
truly multilingual. We've called each other out on bad behavior, and every
once in a while we've remembered to praise each other too.
The list has chronicled the growth of the Wikimedia Foundation from the
days when we celebrated raising $50,000 in the fundraiser and held the
first board elections to today. And it has chronicled the growth of the
Wikimedia movement, across languages and communities, and of the projects,
as they changed from rather odd novelties to a core part of the internet.
People on the list have come and gone. Sometimes, for months or years at a
time, someone will post on nearly every thread and every subject. Usually
they eventually taper off, and then someone new will take their place,
making the rest of the subscribers wonder "how do they have so much time?!"
For those who have been subscribed for a long time, these names are
recognizable because of their many posts and their (in)famous dedication to
the list. (Wouldn't it be fun if we could get those folks all together in
person, for a Wikimania panel or something?) Many subscribers never post;
others are able to find a balance. It is a truism that those who rarely
post often send the most thoughtful mails.
People have used the list to join the movement, to get to know others.
They've also used the list to quit the movement, sometimes loudly and
angrily, sometimes thoughtfully, sometimes silently; it is always sad when
this happens. Sometimes, people have used the list to return (welcome back!)
The list can be endlessly irritating. It's a source of conversation: "wow,
the list is blowing up right now, can you believe it?!" It also can be a
source of connection with other people who we may only know through their
emails, and a source of joy and inventive new ideas. It is disconnected
from the on-wiki communities, but is connected too. It serves as a place to
share with people across our movement, when there are few general channels
to do so. It is thousands of mails in thousands of in-boxes, over many
The list is ours, our commons, ours to take care of and to try to make
better. Happy anniversary, Wikimedia-l.
* I use this address for lists; send personal messages to phoebe.ayers <at>
Wikimedia-l mailing list
The essential things in life are seen not with the eyes,
but with the heart
Antoine de Saint Exupery
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