Volunteers who have access to advanced tools are required to identify themselves.

The problem with volunteers dealing with extremely sensitive matters is that they have to answer to a committee. When the committee starts demanding pre-approval it becomes impossible for a volunteer to function because the procedure is too cumbersome and punishing. Which is why certain matters have gradually shifted to staff who can make quick decisions and have clear authority to do so. Some things are done by, or at the direction of, the legal department, for example.

Fred Bauder

On Sat, 18 Feb 2017 21:02:13 -0800
 Adrian Raddatz <ajradd...@gmail.com> wrote:
I don't lack faith in the community, I just recognize that not everything needs to be dealt with by us. Building an encyclopedia and dealing with these sensitive cases are very different things, and community volunteers
lack both the resources and the responsibility to deal with them.
Volunteers with the most advanced permissions on the site only need to sign an agreement - the WMF doesn't know who they are, and there is no way to hold them accountable for properly using the information they have access to beyond removing their access. Staff, on the other hand, are known and can have legal action taken against them beyond their termination in cases
of abuse. Simple as that.

Adrian Raddatz

On Sat, Feb 18, 2017 at 8:15 PM, Pine W <wiki.p...@gmail.com> wrote:

AJ,

> "Just because volunteers are competent enough to deal with something
doesn't
> mean that they should be."

Can you clarify that, please?

> "Again, the difference here is between these
> sensitive cases being handled by trained, experienced, legally
accountable
> professionals, or by volunteers who are part-time at best."

I am puzzled by your lack of faith in the quality of work of our peers
in the community. Why be so negative? We have produced Wikipedia;
surely that is evidence that volunteers can be highly capable.

Certainly not all volunteers are, of course, and some of them end up
banned for good reason. But in general, I think there is good
reason to have faith in our peers.

I'm not sure how volunteers are not "legally accountable"; perhaps you
could clarify that point.

> How much time are you expecting the community-vetted volunteers to put in
> here? Do we not already have our own responsibilities?

I agree with you that a good use of WMF funds is to pay staff to work on
investigations and enforcement. This can be done in such a way that
there is always some kind of community element in a decision-maker role
regarding whether to ban a member of the community.

In addition to staff resources, I would like to see WMF put more effort
into
expanding the population of the volunteer community, particularly long-term
volunteers who gain sufficient knowledge and experience to serve in
higher-skill roles such as CU/OS, technical development, outreach to
GLAM+STEM organizations, and mentorship of new Wikimedians.

> You say that the current
> system is broken, because... why?

I say that the current system is inappropriate (not broken) because
WMF should not be making decisions about who is banned from the community. The purpose of WMF is to serve and nurture the community, not to rule it.

> The community doesn't deal with it?
> That's a good thing. The community shouldn't need to deal with this
stuff.
> It's a blessing, not a curse.

I agree that having staff involved in investigations and enforcement is a
good thing.
But as I said, I find it inappropriate and unwise for WMF to (1) have a
largely opaque
process for making these decisions and (2) exclude the community from
the decision-making process.

> It might be worth explaining some more of the
> bans process publicly, perhaps on a wiki page, to alleviate fears that
it's
> just being used to get rid of people that the Foundation doesn't like.

I agree with you.

I think that global bans are reasonable options in some cases. In terms of quantity, I would like to see more of them and to see bans initiated more quickly, such as against undisclosed COI editors who violate the terms of
service.
I would also like to see better technical tools for enforcing bans. But I
want the
community, in some fashion (probably through some kind of committee, as has been suggested elsewhere in this thread) to make the decision about
whether to impose a global ban, in consultation with WMF.

Pine
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