Dear Wikimedia-l subscribers.

I write to you in my volunteer capacity of list-admin, to inform you that
the entire Wikimedia-l mailing list is now under moderation, meaning all
posts will have to be manually reviewed and approved by one of the admins.

Here's why:

Comments on the thread titled (and seeking to remove) "Promotion of
scientific racism in Wikipedia articles" have upset a large number of
people, quite a few of whom wrote to the list-admins requesting that the
thread be shut down.

Reviewing the thread, we see some comments that AT BEST (assuming good
faith) are ignorant, insensitive, and tone-deaf, especially in the current
moment.  As always when ASSUMING good faith, the assumption may not be
correct, and some of the comments may be deliberate trolling, i.e.
calculated to upset people.

Be that as it may, people are indeed upset, and the prospects of
constructive conversation about Fae's original topic -- which was
essentially an instance of a well-known systemic problem of Wikipedia, viz.
its susceptibility to relying on outdated or debunked sources, and the
difficulty to dislodge some such sources -- seem very poor.

Shutting down a single thread is not technically possible on a plain
mailing list, so we have moderated the entire list as a stopgap measure.

Our goal is to restore unmoderated list access AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.
Toward that end, we ask the following:

1. Make no more responses AT ALL on that thread started by Fae.

2. Recognize that the list is for coordination and discussion of matters
related to our work as Wikimedians in service of the Wikimedia mission.  It
is *not* the appropriate venue to debate content issues, including the
concept of "race", various racial theories, etc.

3. If you would like to pursue work around this systemic issue, I encourage
you to create an on-wiki task force or WikiProject, where you would be able
to clarify methodological questions and plan the on-wiki work.  If you
start such a project, announcing it publicly on this list to let people
know it exists would be permitted.

4. Recognize that whether or not you are personally feeling anything
special is going on, *a lot* of people around the world are undergoing a
trying time right now -- over and beyond the already-trying pandemic
conditions -- specifically involving the diverse phenomena of racism and
bigotry.  People experience it in many different ways, but quite a few are
hurting, quite a few are raging, quite a few are frustrated and upset, etc.

Whatever your opinions about these complex and charged issues, it would be
an act of empathetic kindness and collegiality to your fellow Wikimedians
who *are* experiencing an exceptionally trying time if you *avoid* choosing
this time to air out those opinions.

We shall do our best to monitor the moderation queue at closer intervals,
to support regular list activity on all other topics.  People who would not
heed our requests above will remain on moderation after the entire list is
unmoderated. (We will announce when that happens.)

Your list moderators.
Asaf Bartov <>
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