On 02/05/2017 10:10 PM, Michelle Paulson wrote:
We know that the Foundation’s prior statement on this executive order
has generated debate in the communities, on mailing lists and in other
forums. Some disapprove, with concern that the Foundation has taken a
political stance on behalf of the movement. Others approve, with concerns
about the impact of this order on the practicalities and values of open
collaboration and sharing.
Michelle, thank you for this update and clarification.
I've followed this discussion (and previous, similar discussions) with
great interest. My personal views align strongly with the WMF's
position, but I also found Yair Rand's argument compelling. There's an
important distinction I haven't seen clearly articulated, that might be
The WMF has a clear interest in protecting *its own* operations, and on
that level, I think it makes perfect sense for it to advocate -- along
with companies like the partners listed -- against policies that may
substantially impede its employees' travel.
But the arguments I have seen advanced by the WMF about what is in its
*communities'* interest are not as clear-cut as it may seem. The core
activities of Wikimedians involve online collaboration; and while it may
be the case that research and qualitative experience supports the notion
that travel can enhance that collaboration, there are -- and will always
be -- highly productive Wikimedians who never meet fellow volunteer in
person, and have no particular interest in doing so. The projects have
been built by millions of volunteers, but I would guess that the number
of volunteers who have crossed international borders to serve the
project number in the thousands (and even fewer have crossed the U.S.
Perhaps in the future, things will go more smoothly if the WMF be very
clear in its public statements when it is speaking on *its own behalf*,
and when it is speaking *on behalf of its communities*. And when it's
the latter, if public statements could only result from consultations
that clearly establish a strong consensus within the communities.
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