At 15:34 +0000 10/12/08, Thomas Dalton wrote:
>There is a bigger discussion needed here than just gathering some
>volunteers to appear on TV. We need to work out how we want to handle
>press in the UK, with relation to the (imminent) new chapter. There
>are two ways we can talk to the press, as volunteers speaking just for
>just ourselves and as representatives of Wikimedia UK speaking for the
>chapter (obviously, no-one is authorised to speak for WMF, we'll leave
>that to them). We need to decide when press work should be handled
>under each category, and who should do it. Obviously, anyone can speak
>for themselves and they can say what they like.
>Speaking for the chapter can be done by anyone the board chooses, but
>the real question is who decides what to say. Should individual board
>members, or even non-board press contacts, be able to decide for
>themselves what do say or should the board determine an official
>position, which then gets presented by whoever does the interview
>(obviously the person doing the interview needs a certain amount of
>leeway otherwise it doesn't work, but the basic idea of what the
>official position is can be decided in advance)? The answer is
>probably somewhere in the middle - whether the board should decide
>something together depends on how important it is (David's example of
>a local paper wanting a statement on a piece of vandalism would be an
>example of something that whoever answers the phone can just respond
>to off the cuff, whereas if the chapter wanted to make a statement
>about the IWF block that would probably require a little more thought
>and collaboration) and also time constraints (it's not necessarily
>practical to have a full board meeting before issuing a press
>statement). Major events will end up with multiple people talking to
>the press, so it is important that everyone speaking for the chapter
>is singing from the same hymn sheet. Perhaps the board should delegate
>determining an official position (when there isn't time for a board
>meeting) to the Chair and Communications Officer. They can talk on the
>phone and work out what needs to be said and then the Communications
>Officer can pass that on to whoever is actually talking to the press
>(presumably the comm officer would be responsible for assigning people
>to requests for interviews).
>So, that's my (slight vague) suggestion for how to handle official
>statements. The remaining question is when to make official
>statements. Do we want to do everything officially through the
>chapter, or would it be better in certain cases to leave it to the
>community to do less formally? One problem with having some things
>done unofficially would be working out who does them - a member of the
>Wikimedia UK board, for example, can't really speak unofficially about
>things related to Wikimedia, anything they said would be taken as an
>official statement. The same may apply to non-board press contacts
>that are regularly authorised to speak for the chapter - if
>journalists get used to David, say, making official statements (I
>don't know what relationship David will have with the new chapter, but
>it's plausible that he may serve as an official press contact) then
>they may get rather confused if he makes an unofficial, personal
>statement on a given topic. Are there likely to be people willing and
>able to go on record as "a random Wikipedia contributor" that aren't
>also closely linked to the chapter? Possibly not. For that reason, it
>may be best to do everything through the chapter. Can anyone think of
>a situation where the community would want to talk to the press but it
>would be inadvisable for the chapter to make a statement? (I can think
>of one - the WMF going rogue. The chapter agreement involves the
>chapter agreeing to refrain from "engaging in any activity that might
>negatively impact the work or image of the Wikimedia Foundation."
>which would prevent the chapter from being able to represent the views
>of the community if those views were very anti-WMF, in which case the
>chapter would have to keep quiet and let the community handle it. Of
>course, this is a very unlikely scenario - does anyone have a more
>likely one or is it a situation we can safely ignore?)

David Gerard was speaking as a "Wikipedia volunteer" in the media 
over the past few days. He is/was press officer for WMUK 1.0...

We could all speak to the press if we wanted to, since we are 
Wikimpedia volunteers. We do not need to have signed up to anything 


"Think Feynman"/////////

Wikimedia UK mailing list

Reply via email to