When and how the Wikimedia Foundation should associate itself publicly on
policy and political issues is not a new topic, and (as I have quite
recently discovered) official guidelines have been around for nearly five
years now. The Guidelines on Foundation Policy and Political Association
[1], established by WMF Legal for internal use, specifically bring up the
issue of "public endorsement or critique" of political policies, listing
several requirements for doing so, and further requiring that they "should
protect and advance Wikimedia’s mission “to empower and engage people
around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free
license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and
globally.” Accordingly, we will not support causes unrelated to or
inconsistent with that mission." The document goes on to list several
examples such as anti-war activism and animal rights.

I think this is an excellent and necessary policy.

The recent blog post says "We strongly urge the U.S. administration to
withdraw the recent executive order ... closing the doors to many
refugees." I have yet to hear any arguments regarding how that statement
specifically protects and advances our mission.

I have, on the other hand, heard on this list many arguments by people
explaining reasons why they feel very strongly that actions must be taken
against a certain country's administration, about how they expect that many
expected policies on general issues will cause harm in areas that they
value. Areas that are not directly related to our mission.

I can imagine that some may feel that certain areas of immigration and
travel policy may be so closely associated to Wikimedia's functioning that
action on that front must be taken. I would expect such an issue to be
discussed independently of the personal political wishes of those arguing.
If decisions are made on the basis that the only relevant issue is whether
any action would further Wikimedia's goals, I would trust that such
decisions were sufficiently reasonable.

However, if that is not the basis used, and some in the community and WMF
are willing to have their own independent individual values and goals
override those of the movement, to harm Wikimedia goals to support their
own political goals... I would find it very difficult to support such a
decision. I don't mean to speak too harshly, but the united goals and
vision of the movement are the _only_ thing that holds this diverse
community together, the only means by which Wikimedia exists, and if
outside aims can take priority, we would likely find that many would not
appreciate some using Wikimedia as yet another bullet in someone's arsenal
to be sacrificed in a political crusade, to say the least.

"Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park. It
is like a temple for the mind. It is a place we can all go to think, to
learn, to share our knowledge with others."

Please let us keep it that way.

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Legal/Foundation_Policy_
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