For anyone unaware, in 2014 I created a bot task to maintain a page on
Meta[1] showing the special Wikimedia Projects rights being allocated
to WMF employees and contractors, without following normal community
processes. The bot mirrors data from a Google Spreadsheet maintained
by the WMF. Back in 2014, this was praised as a positive move forward
by the WMF in applying our joint commitment to transparency.

Unfortunately the spreadsheet appeared to drop off the radar last year
and fell into disuse, only being updated after public complaint. The
spreadsheet has not been updated since November 2015 (over six months
ago), includes staff who have now left and presumably excludes several
recent changes to employee rights.

Could the WMF please make a positive policy decision to ensure the
open publication of special project rights for its employees becomes a
required part of the procedure, and business as normal? Failing this,
if rights are to continue to be allocated behind closed doors, with
some rights being allocated for just a few days at a time so never
appearing on this spreadsheet, can the rationale for managing project
rights this way please be explained to the wider community so that we
might be allowed the opportunity to ask basic questions?



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Fæ <>
Date: 25 September 2015 at 08:52
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF Advanced Permissions
To: Wikimedia Mailing List <>

On 25 September 2015 at 05:46, James Alexander <> wrote:
> Hey Fae,
> As you know that I'm responsible for the spreadsheet that your bot is copying 
> to make that spreadsheet (since you're one of the ones who asked me to make 
> the process more transparent) I would have really appreciated a more private 
> email before this public one. That said, yes there have both been some 
> changes on the private versions of the sheet that caused the public version 
> to break as well as very few actual rights changes which means I haven't been 
> looking at it often. Because of a back log of issues within my Trust and 
> Safety work I haven't been able to fully find the time to fix and update 
> everything but I actually have time set aside on my calendar on Monday to do 
> that :).
> Sent from my iPhone
> James Alexander
> Legal and Community Advocacy
> Wikimedia Foundation
> +1 415-839-6885 x6716

Thanks for your commitment to get this up to date.

Had my question been about the performance of a named employee, I
would have sent a private email out of courtesy. This was a simple
non-critical question about WMF transparency, following on from an
original open discussion a long time ago on this list. This makes this
list the best open place to raise the question.

I feel that it is ethical to all encourage volunteers to feel free to
ask questions about WMF transparency in the open. It would be a
positive and ethical approach to take. Making it appear that a
volunteer has done something wrong when they try to do so is not a
healthy direction to go in.


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