An unscheduled CentralNotice just started running, linking to a rather
bizarre page [1]. Purporting to be the WMF's 2016 Annual Report, it starts
off with some text about refugees. "FACT: Half of refugees are school-age",
followed by some completely unencyclopedic text about the topic: "That
means 10 million children are away from their homes, their communities, and
their traditional education. Each refugee child’s experience is unique, but
every single one loses time from their important learning years. Many of
them face the added pressure of being surrounded by new languages and
cultures." The linked page goes on to detail some of Wikimedia's vision and
how Wikimedia projects aid refugee populations. Following that, we have an
entire page on climate change and some of its effects, similarly written in
a style that is not befitting the movement: "In 2015, [Wikimedian Andreas
Weith] photographed starving polar bears in the Arctic. As the ice
declines, so does their ability to find food. “It’s heartbreaking,” he
says." After all that, we finally have some pages on interesting statistics
about Wikimedia, mixed in with some general odd facts about the world,
followed by a call to donate. There are also letters from the ED and
founder linked.

So, this could be a mix of coincidence and bad stylistic choices, and not
politically motivated at all, but it is getting increasingly hard to assume
good faith on this, especially with the blog post a month ago specifically
calling for a change in refugee policy.

Using Wikimedia projects to push politics is not okay. If the WMF does not
accept this, I suspect many projects will simply block CentralNotices,
avoid associating with WMF statements, and quite possibly fork/leave.

This is a serious problem.

-- Yair Rand

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