people who are loudest in their demands for consensus do not represent the
Wikimedia movement.

The voices loudest for the WMF doing something against the Trump administration 
are not representative of the Wikimedia movement either... they have been WMF 
employees and those closest to them. This is maybe why most non-profits hire 
EDs from outside the organization then from within. As you show, Gerard, there 
has been no effort to find out what the movement thinks, and that may have been 
those behind the statement and amicus brief just assumed everybody would agree 
with them. The world is not San Francisco.

From: Wikimedia-l <> on behalf of Gerard 
Meijssen <>
Sent: Monday, February 6, 2017 10:51:24 PM
To: Wikimedia Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Politics

As far as I am concerned, the WMF is not democratic. It does not matter.
What does matter is that people only care about their own arguments and are
not willing to entertain the considerations of others. While to some extend
policies are worthwhile at the same time they prevent people from thinking.
The consequence of the conversation being in English and the location of
many of the "policies" is that English Wikipedia is over represented. It is
however less than 50% of our traffic and you would not consider this from
the demands put forward by this community. At the same time my perception
is that all our communities think they are inherently superior and because
of their policies refuse to collaborate with others. Wikidata is what I
most closely associate with and they refuse to collaborate with non
professional communities because there are errors in their work. Obviously
self reflection is lacking.

Similar observations are possible for all the Wikipedia communities I know.

When we consider the world outside of our movement; we have been quite
happy to condemn actions by the Chinese government. Now that the US
American negatively impacts the WMF workforce and the ability for people to
come to the WMF office people object that they are not consulted. Again, we
are not a democracy and the "policies" have to function in the real world.
In the real world our director and our board are allowed and do as the
situation requires. In the real world two lawyers with experience in this
field indicate that action indeed needs to be taken now. Hallelujah.

The WMF is not a member organisation. Chapters are. Chapters however do not
represent our projects and consequently they have no direct impact on the
WMF itself. Consensus while admirable does not mean representation. The
people who are loudest in their demands for consensus do not represent the
Wikimedia movement. As it is, the current situation where we have a board
that reflects the international composition of our movement does really
well. They do consider the thoughts of the community but if anything they
are also stifling what we do with too many well meant policies that are
seen as law.

Rules, guidelines even laws are a necessity. But they have a tendency to
empower those with the loudest voice and they favour the incumbent. The
current US government has a disdain for the law and as a consequence this
invalidates the normal use of rules, guidelines and even laws. They are
invalidated because the attention to what happens is as immediate as the
pace whereby new ukazes are issued.

If anything we are blessed with a board and a director who seek to inform,
to connect to our communities and stay as close as possible to our general
practice. They think and they react to a different world.. Again we face a
world where much of our accomplishments are squandered to benefit those who
are the real people / organisations behind the current US government. I am
happy that I still may vote in the Dutch elections I hope for a different
outcome in the Netherlands.

On 6 February 2017 at 18:13, Adam Wight <> wrote:

> Dear friends,
> As wonderful as it is to see this discussion unfold, showing how many of us
> care deeply about humanism and the movement's impact in the material world,
> I'd like to observe that it also demonstrates how underdeveloped our
> movement-wide political processes are.  To my understanding, our tools
> consist of: a small group interested in participating in this mailing list,
> a small group who attends to metawiki, and an infrequent meeting of
> chapters.
> It seems that all of these venues are frustrated by a lack of real power,
> and Wikimedia-l in particular has the character of a pirate radio station
> or underground newspaper rather than a place where we can build consensus.
> There's certainly some value in the oppositional and antiestablishment
> perspective that comes out of this arrangement, but perhaps we're missing
> out on the benefits that would come from a fully-developed democracy?
> One alternative approach would be that Wikimedians resurrect something like
> a "membership organization" in which you collectively own the WMF and
> directly elect the entire Board.  Then you may find your questions
> answered, and have a path to building lasting consensus around
> movement-wide issues.
> Adam
> [[mw:User:Adamw]]
> On Mon, Feb 6, 2017 at 12:33 AM, Christophe Henner <>
> wrote:
> > Hey,
> >
> > I love that thread. Touchy topîc and yet an awesome discussion, Thank you
> > so much :D
> >
> > A few month ago, little time after my election, I asked that question on
> > Facebook and provided my own answer. And yes, I do believe that saying
> > neutral knowledge should be freely accessible by everyone on the planet
> is
> > kind of a really really really really strong political statement.
> >
> > I also think that "politic" discussion is hard to have as the word
> politics
> > can bare many different meaning. One of them is derived on how we use it
> > regarding national politics. We use politics as a word to include all
> > politics (economic, social, education, etc.). And political party, or a
> > political organization, will tend to adress all of them (or some).
> >
> > That is not what we are talking about actually. To me, I mean politic as,
> > Asaf will love that, in latin (pertaining to public life). We are a
> > political organization, we stand for strong values, but we are not
> > political in the sense we're aligned with a specific party or candidate.
> > And I don't know about the US, but one thing I love with french
> wikimedian
> > is knowing some of them are so fare away from me on the political scale
> and
> > yet share values (if I had time I would love to explain how I believe
> this
> > is an exemple of why our political systems are broken ^^).
> >
> > So in the end, to me, the question is where do we draw the line when it
> > comes to standing up for our values and, related questions, what are
> those
> > values we should stand up for?
> >
> > But again, as a movement, we have the potential to have a huge impact on
> > the world. That is not neutral, that is a force of change and change
> always
> > is poltical.
> >
> >
> >
> > Christophe HENNER
> > Chair of the board of trustees
> >
> > +33650664739
> >
> > twitter *@schiste*        skype *christophe_henner*
> >
> >
> >
> > On Mon, Feb 6, 2017 at 12:23 AM, Asaf Bartov <>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > On Sun, Feb 5, 2017 at 2:55 PM James Salsman <>
> wrote:
> > >
> > > >
> > > > The question I have been trying to ask, going back years now in fact,
> > is
> > > > whether "empower" refers to the political power to secure and retain
> > > > the freedoms necessary and sufficent to contribute to the mission, or
> > > > some other kind of power.
> > > >
> > >
> > > Well, it's your lucky day: you're finally getting an answer!
> > >
> > > WMF's de-facto interpretation of "empower" in the [[m:Mission]] does
> > *not*
> > > include "political power to secure and retain the freedoms necessary
> and
> > > sufficient to contribute to the mission".
> > >
> > > We do not directly solve people's lacking infrastructure (except
> > indirectly
> > > via partnerships like Wikipedia Zero), we do not provide computers to
> > > billions of people who don't have them, we do not teach literacy to the
> > > illiterate, we do not feed the poor so that they may contribute, and we
> > do
> > > not declare war on North Korea to free its poor people from the awful
> > > tyranny they suffer under, to enable them to contribute.  The list goes
> > on.
> > >
> > >
> > > The concrete ways WMF worked to "empower" have been providing and
> > > maintaining the main contribution platforms (the wikis), auxiliary
> > > platforms (Tool Labs, Quarry, PAWS, Wikidata Query, etc.), funding for
> > > *Wikimedia-related* activities via grants, programmatic resources and
> > > mentorship, funding and support for international gatherings of the
> > active
> > > community, and a few other things.
> > >
> > > Your aspirational expansive interpretation (which includes paying
> editors
> > > to enable them to contribute, if memory serves) of "empower" has never
> > been
> > > close to what WMF, under its various leaderships, ever considered
> > > appropriate.
> > >
> > > Now that your years-long query has an answer, perhaps you can stop
> > asking.
> > >
> > >    A.
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