This is certainly a reasonable request, Fae, and I support it; there's no
reason not to forge ahead with this request.

However, for the benefit of anybody on this list who's not familiar, and
just to ensure that this point is in the record: there's a more complex
problem with the name of the "Ombuds* Commission".

According to Wiktionary, an ombuds* is expected to "investigate complaints,
generally on behalf of individuals such as consumers or taxpayers, against
institutions such as companies and government departments."

That is complaints rather broadly construed; in the Wikimedia case,
however, the remit of ombuds* is actually pretty narrow, as you described
in your initial message on this thread. The WMF does not have a clear,
unified entity to receive complaints more generally; so having a position
that is made up of volunteers, and has a much narrower remit, carry the
title "Ombuds" seems less than ideal.

I do not have a clear proposal for a solution at this point; just want to
be sure this point is made as long as we're on the topic.

That said, I agree...please go forth and fix the gender problem, post haste!

[[User:Peteforsyth]] on English Wikisource, Wikipedia, Wikidata, etc. etc.

On Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 5:19 PM James Heilman <> wrote:

> Sounds perfectly reasonable in my opinion. Have started discussion here
> J
> On Wed, Jun 10, 2020 at 11:15 AM Fæ <> wrote:
> > Dear WMF Board members,
> >
> > The Ombuds Commission acts on your behalf as part of the movements
> > governance processes and it is, therefore, the WMF board that
> > authorizes Ombuds policies. The Wikimedia project systems and policies
> > for the commission were established many years ago with rare
> > amendments since, and are not harmonized on the use of the word
> > "ombuds". For example, though the email contact group uses "ombuds",
> > the detailed policy page on Meta uses "ombudsman" and refers to
> > members of the group as "ombudsmen". As a gender-neutral form is in
> > common International English and American English usage and is already
> > used in some places and not others, can the WMF board agree that the
> > gender-neutral term is desirable in line with the goals of the
> > Wikimedia Foundation strategy and should be applied systematically?
> >
> > With your agreement, this would then harmonize in the names of email
> > groups, the group name configured into the system on Meta and the
> > wording of policies, and help avoid an accidental bias towards
> > identifying ombuds members as men. As this is a question of
> > harmonization, rather than a change in process, policy or scope, this
> > is a style issue rather than a change that required a resolution or a
> > community RfC.
> >
> > For those unaware, the Ombuds Commission "investigates complaints
> > about infringements of the Privacy Policy, the Access to nonpublic
> > personal data policy, the CheckUser policy and the oversight policy on
> > any Wikimedia project for the Board of Trustees. They also investigate
> > for the Board the compliance of local CheckUser or Oversight policies
> > or guidelines with the global CheckUser and Oversight policies."[1]
> >
> > Links:
> > 1.
> > 2.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Fae
> > --
> >
> >
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> --
> James Heilman
> MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
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