Thank you for your kind words. I tried to take the discussion you quoted
off-list with mixed results, and I do not have permission to publish the
resulting thread. The one unresolved question that I think gets to the
heart of the matter is this:

If you urge restraint and limited political advocacy, you are less likely
to achieve your goals, but more likely to be able to get along with people
who are opposed to your goals. Which is more important?

Back in college, we had something called the "reasonable person policy"
which involved stepping back and asking, "is this a question on which
reasonable people might reasonably disagree," and allowing the discussion
if so. I have recently been told that my "AMD petition" post about removing
the closed source aspects of security co-processors which have been used to
eavesdrop was so far off-topic here and on wikitech-l as to deserve a stern
warning, and my attempt to resolve it resulted in the denial of my
permission to publish the off-list thread continuing what you quoted below.
That is clearly a topic on which reasonable people do disagree, and it
meets multiple criteria in the list charter's topic statement. Therefore I
appeal my warning to you, and ask that you ask the Board to endorse the
"AMD petition" because privacy is a necessary aspect of accomplishing the
Mission, even if you believe "empower" means nothing more than to
facilitate or enable.

Best regards,

On Mon, Feb 6, 2017 at 1:34 AM Christophe Henner <>

> 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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