Several people have replied to my latest message. I'd like to reiterate - I
thought I was clear, but just to be certain:

I have never claimed that all discussion on Commons is perfect, or that
incivility or poor decisions never occur there.

I did not intend to open this discussion as a free-for-all, for *any* list
member with a problem with a Commons user or decision to bring it up for
critique. I think there are better venues for that.

What I *did* want, and am still waiting for, is some explanation from Erik
Möller, the WMF's Deputy Director, about his inflammatory claim that the
Wikimedia Commons community may be turning into a "CLUB OF ZEALOTS"
(emphasis mine).

Since it now looks unlikely that we'll have a response from Erik, and since
several people seem to have misunderstood what I meant, let me make myself
very clear.

I believe that the community of volunteers who have created Wikimedia are
its greatest asset, and in spite of all its (well known and documented)
problems, offer the greatest hope for Wikimedia to overcome its many
challenges and flourish. I believe that the people who choose to devote
time to Wikimedia as volunteers, by and large, do so out of a desire to
bring our shared vision -- a world in which everyone freely shares
knowledge -- closer to reality. I believe that organizations like the
Wikimedia Foundation, which intend to support that vision, have the
potential to be effective if they can speak to that shared vision, and
undermine their own influence when they undercut it.

Lest anybody mistake this for a personal attack, I'd like to add the

I have known and admired Erik for many years. He has done tremendous good
for the Wikimedia movement, and for the world, and my respect for him is
unwavering. However, in recent months, he has joined other organizational
leaders in leveling broad and unfounded insults at the volunteer community
that has produced Wikimedia Commons, of which I am one.

I do not think Erik intends harm by doing this, but I think the primary
outcome of this approach is harm. I am confident he is proceeding in a
direction that he believes is positive. But I very strongly disagree with
that, and I do not think Commons volunteers (or any Wikimedia volunteers)
should have to endure broad insults coming from the leaders of an
organization that, in theory, exists to support their work.

I believe this issue is much more significant than any of the other issues
that have been discussed in this thread.


On Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 8:16 AM, Michael Maggs <> wrote:

> Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the notice boards on Commons,
> or who is subscribed to this mailing list, will be aware of a huge,
> wide-ranging and unfocused set of disputes and ill-natured arguments that
> have been raging for several months. The disputes are becoming more and
> more intemperate, and the positions of some editors more and more
> entrenched. While a few contributors have tried hard to pull the community
> back to constructive discussion and have made sensible suggestions, their
> comments have been drowned out in the noise.
> We need to stop now and focus not on stating a re-stating positions, but
> on making definite and constructive proposals for ways in which these
> issues can be fixed. The discussion on this list has been non-productive
> for some time, and I suggest that editors should drop discussion there and
> should focus attention on the discussion on Commons:
> Michael.
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