I don't respond to Wikimedia-l discussion very often, but I think this debate comes up often enough that it's worth it for me to explain and elaborate on my own positions.
(1) I understand WP:NPOV to be a rule/guideline about content, particularly Wikipedia content. I do not believe it is a rule about Wikimedia processes, or about the Wikimedia movement's mission. (2) As I put it many times many years ago in the years before and after the SOPA/PIPA blackout, there are few POVs *less* neutral than the commitment to give all the information in the world to everyone for free. We are not a neutral enterprise, and we never have been. (3) There is a vision that some members of the community have that WMF employees (or contractors, or Trustees, or representatives) ought never speak out and offer an opinion about political issues. Ironically, some people in our movement would not want a WMF to have a public opinion about, say, what "extreme vetting" means unless that opinion itself were "extremely vetted." (4) I think those who hold the view I summarize as (3) above are making a mistake. It seems to me that the reason the community and the Trustees have slowly crafted an evolving process that, when it works well, results in strong, capable individuals who can speak effectively both as representatives of our movement and as leaders of it, is that we all know we can't hold a plebiscite for everything. (5) We now know more than eve, thanks to events this year and last year, that the larger, global, shared world of democratic values is fragile, and that it's better to respond rapidly to rapidly emerging issues (such as the treatment of Wikimedians of all backgrounds who want or need to cross borders to participate in our shared, great work) than it is to wait until our response is untimely, irrelevant, or even impossible. The mode that seems to work most effectively for us is to have strong, effective leaders and employees and representatives who have earned our trust, and who for that reason can be trusted to respond on our behalf as rapidly and effectively as necessary to rapidly emerging issues. Without, shall we say, "extreme vetting." (6) Sometimes those whom the Trustees and/or the community have chosen are not up to the job we ask of them, and it is our strength that we reserve the right to make our unhappiness known, through channels ranging from this mailing list to Trustee elections to "voting with our feet." Because our mission, the Wikimedia mission, is fundamentally a human process it will be imperfect, and its imperfections will make us unhappy sometimes. But we are adults, and we live with those imperfections and take some joy at times in recognizing them and trying to do better. (7) Given all these considerations, I am proud to be part of the Wikimedia movement, proud to be a part of the same community as all of you, even when the community is sometimes contentious. I hope that in the long run we agree now -- right now -- is a time when we should stand behind anyone in our community, from the Trustees and Katherine on down to every last one of us, who stands up and speaks out for humane values and humane judgments, because, it seems to me, the Wikimedia movement is meant to be a humane, outward-looking, courageous movement that acknowledges self-doubt but also remains committed to enabling us all to raise our individual and collective voices in defense of values grounded in generosity, love, and tolerance. Thanks for listening. --Mike Godwin WMF General Counsel 2007-2010 _______________________________________________ Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines New messages to: Wikimediaemail@example.com Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>