Had the WMF statement been issued on Wikipedia, now that would have neutrality
issues from a wikioedian point of view.
The WMF is not Wikipedia, and does have a political activity: being in favour
of sharing free knowledge is altogether a political statement, as freedom of
sharing knowledge is not something which is accepted by all political regimes
(please remember the globality of the movement, this is not just an american
issue, it is a planetary one). One only needs to think about the influence of
Diderot and the encyclopedists in the French revolution to understand that an
encyclopedia, albeit seemingly neutral, has very concrete political influences
in major political regime changes.
That the WMF which relies on the free movement of people and ideas to fulfil
its mission should be worried and issue a statement is quite normal - not to
say courageous. After all there is a notion called "freedom of speech".
A foundation has actually no obligation to be fully transparent, and WMF is
making notable efforts in a context where advertising, non disclosed paid
editing and lobbying are representing (in my opinion) a much greater threat to
neutrality than a public statement on this particular matter.
I am personnallly pretty impressed from across the ocean: in the 30s had some
leaders shown more courage maybe Hitler would not have been able to start a
This not only political, this is common sense, and living in Switzerland might
influence a very pragmatic and down to the roots approach.
We are watching from over the ocean, as europeans these refugee bans remind us
of very dark memories.
Katherine Maher did a statement and so what? That does not prevent wikipedians
from editing, and confronting opinions to approach NPOV (actually there is no
achieved NPOV on Wikipedia in what concerns the gender biases as far as I see
Bravo Katherine this is what I say, Sandberg has not even uttered a tweet!
Neutrality should not mean surrending to the powerful by remaining silent.
Nattes à chat / Natacha
> Le 3 févr. 2017 à 00:05, Leigh Thelmadatter <osama...@hotmail.com> a écrit :
> I voiced my opposition to the statement on Facebook but Yair states the case
> far more eloquently. Many acts by many countries could be a possible threat
> to Wikimedia, where do we draw the line?
> Why was there no community discussion prior to the statement?
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On 02/02/2017, at 3:37 p.m., Yair Rand <yyairr...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> The Wikimedia movement is both global and very ideologically diverse, and
>> has many contributors who have strong opinions in one direction or another
>> on certain political issues facing their area of the world. Many of these
>> contributors find it difficult to avoid using Wikimedia forums and
>> institutions to discuss or advocate for issues they feel very strongly
>> about. Recently, political advocacy on Wikimedia forums has risen
>> substantially, especially on this mailing list.
>> While I sympathize with the difficulties these contributors face in
>> remaining silent, it is important to consider the substantial damage such
>> actions can cause to the movement. We will be much worse off if half of any
>> given country's political spectrum can no longer cooperate in our mission
>> due to compunctions against supporting a community which hosts those who
>> use the community to advocate for positions that some may find
>> unacceptable. The issue of inadvertently alienating participants because of
>> politics has a self-reinforcing element: As we lose contributors
>> representing ideological areas, we have fewer willing to advocate for an
>> environment which allows them to participate without being bombarded by
>> hostile political advocacy. We are precariously close to the point of no
>> return on this, but I am optimistic that the situation is recoverable.
>> As an initial measure, I propose adding the names of a certain country's
>> top political leaders to this list's spam filter. More generally, I think a
>> stricter stance on avoiding political advocacy on Wikimedia projects is
>> We face a somewhat more difficult situation with the Wikimedia Foundation
>> itself. Partly as a result of being relatively localized within a
>> geographic area and further limited to several professions, I suspect the
>> Foundation tends to be more politically/ideologically homogeneous. With the
>> WMF, we risk much more than just alienating much of the world, we risk our
>> How far we must go to maintain neutrality has been a contentious issue over
>> the years. Existential threats have twice been responded to with major
>> community action, each with large prior discussion. (SOPA included an
>> extensive discussion and a poll with more than 500 respondents.) A previous
>> ED committed to firing everyone but part of the Ops team rather than accept
>> advertising, should lack of funds require it. (Whether to let the WMF die
>> outright rather than accept ads is as of yet unresolved.) More recently,
>> the WMF has taken limited actions and stances on public policy that
>> directly relate to the mission. A careful balance has been established
>> between maintaining essential neutrality and dealing with direct threats to
>> the projects.
>> Three days ago, the WMF put out a statement on the Wikimedia blog
>> explicitly urging a specific country to modify its refugee policy, an area
>> that does not relate to our goals. There was no movement-wide prior
>> discussion, or any discussion at all as far as I can tell.
>> It is the responsibility of the Board at this point to set a policy to
>> place firm restrictions on which areas the WMF can take positions. While we
>> value the important contributions of the staff, they should not be able to
>> override our commitment to neutrality. Our donors, editors, and other
>> volunteers do not contribute so that resources and influence can be spent
>> towards whatever political causes are popular within the WMF.
>> It is the responsibility of the community to ensure that our projects
>> remain apolitical. A neutral point of view is impossible if participating
>> requires a certain political position.
>> It is the responsibility of the mailing list administration and moderators
>> to act against this list's rapid slide into unreadability.
>> Thank you.
>> -- Yair Rand
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