Wikipedia:Village pump (WMF)/Archive 1

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First section

I guess, for a starter, we need here links to the (loosely) recent discussions which were held elsewhere on the English Wikipedia and would have been held here if the page existed.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:37, 2 May 2020 (UTC)

Converted to a collaboratively edited "History" section below ~ ToBeFree (talk) 19:23, 2 May 2020 (UTC)


  • WP:ACTRIAL: 3 April 2011 – 18 April 2018. Proposal for a trial period of restricting article creation to autoconfirmed users. First proposed in 2011, but was blocked by the WMF until 2017. The trial lasted from September 2017 to March 2018, after which an RfC (WP:ACREQ) was created proposing to make the change permanent. In April 2018, the RfC was closed in support of this change.
  • Flow: May 2013 - February 2019. A Foundation project to replace Talk pages with more conventional internet-forum style boards. The absence of effective collaboration or issue-resolution mechanisms between community&Foundation resulted in a 6 year deadlock.
  • Wikipedia:VisualEditor/RFC (coincidentally closed by Fram), Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Default State RFC, subsequent discussion at AN, 10 July 2013 – 23 September 2013. (2015 follow-up)
  • M:Superprotect: August 2013 - November 2015. Local discussion begins at New superprotect protection level coming to your wiki soon. Arguably the most serious crisis in the history of our movement. The Foundation introduced a new level of Page Protection as a tool to override an effective Global Community Consensus. About a thousand editors sign M:Letter to Wikimedia Foundation: Superprotect and Media Viewer. The crisis ended when the global community replaced the Board of Trustees and Superprotect was withdrawn.
  • Rfc: Remove description taken from Wikidata from mobile view of en-WP and elsewhere: March 2017. The WMF started using Wikidata-item-descriptions as article descriptions. The consensus was latter clarified to apply to such descriptions wherever they were used. The WMF built a system for us to manage this locally via template instead.
  • Proposal to submit blockers on replacing our wikitext editor: March 2017. The new "2017 Wikitext Editor" was a wikitext mode built inside Visual Editor. Consensus against the product.
  • WP:TPC19: 21 February 2019 – 15 August 2019 . Global community consultation on the future of Talk Pages. The strategy to replace Talk pages with Flow ends, a project is initiated to upgrade existing Talk pages instead.
  • WP:FRAM and its talk page and archives, 10 June 2019 – 21 September 2019. The Foundation Test&Safety team briefly attempted to extend their mandate to include low-level complaints of "harassment", banning an administrator for harsh and persistent enforcement of content policies. Jurisdiction was passed to Arbcom, which dismissed the ban.
  • WP:TOUSL: 27 January 2020 – 31 January 2020. Request for WMF Legal to enforce the Terms of Use against Status Labs to the fullest extent of the law. (Status Labs was an especially disruptive paid-editing business.) ToU has never been enforced.
  • Some of the petitions listed at Wikipedia:List of petitions that were petitions to the WMF

Potentially new partial blocks features

Please see m:Talk:Community health initiative/Partial blocks#Seeking input on two features for partial blocks. The potential new features are:

  • phab:T199918 - Allow a user to be blocked from creating pages only
  • phab:T6995 - Allow users to be blocked from uploading files only

Since the enwiki community may not have seen the meta post, crossposting here. See also Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Partial blocks. Thanks, --DannyS712 (talk) 21:59, 2 May 2020 (UTC)

DannyS712, this is already in and working. Guy (help!) 13:59, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
@JzG: Not sure what you mean - I'm likely the one who will be coding these new features, and they aren't written yet, so how can they be "in and working"? DannyS712 (talk) 14:01, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

Change all WMF notices to this page?

This would also include Tech News/Community Consultations notices/Maintenence notifications, etc. --qedk (t c) 07:15, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

Definitely support sending updates like Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Reminder: Technical maintenance planed here instead of to VPT (same with Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous)/Archive 64#Planned maintenance operation on 30th April). Tech news on the other hand may require some discussion - its news for technically-minded editors, and VPT may still be the best place. DannyS712 (talk) 09:49, 3 May 2020 (UTC)
I've updated m:Distribution list to link here instead of just Wikipedia:Village pump, though I'm not sure how much that list is used DannyS712 (talk) 09:53, 3 May 2020 (UTC)
I think we need to first know if the WMF is actually going to use this board. For one thing, out of many hundreds of Wikimedia projects AFAIK this would be the only one with a WMF-dedicated noticeboard, so I would not be surprised if they keep using the normal VPs instead of remembering the unique approach of enwiki. For the other thing, technical WMF things tend to be technical first and WMF second, and I think most people will ask at VPT for technical info. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 10:04, 3 May 2020 (UTC)
I'm theoretically against changing the tech notices to come here, but given that this is all one-sided for now, it's probably in our own interest to have as much from them here as possible. Doing so will help feed engagement and normalize it, especially when people reply and ping and so on. Issues of broader interest can and should still be liberally advertized (e.g. block changes at AN, maintenance at VPT, etc.). ~ Amory (utc) 14:14, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

Some recent activities

Some recent (and some not-so-recent) WMF or WMF-related activities, sorted by related department. Missing a lot of stuff, but these things aren't well-organized anywhere.

  • Executive:
    • Board updates:
      • Election of the community-selected seats on the Board of Trustees has been delayed due to COVID-19.
      • Change in board structure being considered: Adding of six seats, including three that are either community-elected or affiliate-selected.
      • WMF annual plan publication delayed.
    • Strategy process delayed, publication date postponed to "mid-May".
  • Advancement:
    • Occasional brief (1-3 hours) fundraising tests continue through June for US-based readers.
    • Proposal to change the "Donate to Wikipedia" button in the sidebar to just say "Donate". (No objections from WMF.) Proposals to change or remove "Wikipedia store" sidebar link. (WMF would prefer that this not be done.)
  • Communications:
    • On May 7 an unknown date after May 22, the Brands team intends to put forth a set of proposals for three possible options for renaming Wikimedia organizations and changing the name of the Wikimedia movement. A discussion will be opened on Meta, and a survey will run asking editors to give their opinions on the proposals. The WMF has proposed a 12-day CentralNotice advertising the survey. These events follow an RFC in which the community rejected the idea of renaming the WMF to the "Wikipedia Foundation". (Edit: Announcement rescheduled.)
  • Finance & Administration:
    • The former community-elected Funds Dissemination Committee continues to be on indefinite inactivity, resulting in no WMF financial accountability to the community for the time being. The situation is intended to be eventually resolved by the strategy process.
  • Legal (which now includes T&S, formerly of the now-defunct Community Engagement department):
    • "Universal Code of Conduct" project: After the community rejecting this all over the place, including by getting unanimous opposition from dozens of editors on a strategy talk page, the WMF went ahead with its plan to start consultations with communities. After hiring over a dozen "UCoC Facilitators", they started numerous discussions on various projects (English Wikipedia not among them) about what people think of a UCoC. Unsurprisingly, they yet again received clear opposition.
  • Operations:
    • The Operations department was supposed to put out a set of tuning sessions reports on WMF activities for the third quarter, which ended five weeks ago. No updates yet. Update: Tuning sessions reports posted on May 7. Mostly about internal WMF stuff, but some interesting parts in the Product and "Thriving Movement" sections.
    • All Wikimedia IRL events cancelled/postponed due to COVID-19.
  • Product:
  • Talent & Culture: (Nothing to see here. T&C doesn't hear or speak.)
  • Technology:
    • Feedback has been requested on whether redirects should have the "Article" tab in the top bar point to a nonredirected page (via &redirect=no).
    • New Mediawiki versions continue to be deployed on the English Wikipedia every Thursday. Upcoming: version 1.35/wmf.31, on May 7, release notes to be posted at mw:MediaWiki 1.35/wmf.31.

--Yair rand (talk) 04:51, 4 May 2020 (UTC)

Edited, some updates. --Yair rand (talk) 20:23, 7 May 2020 (UTC)
A small addition to the legal section: Some WMF folks commented on an (as yet unimplemented) redesign of the COI page of the Article wizard at Wikipedia talk:Article wizard#Updating Paid COI page of the wizard. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 03:11, 5 May 2020 (UTC)

Reminder: read only window

From the task:

Impact: enwiki go read-only for around 30 minutes (hopefully a lot less). Reads will not be impacted
When: Thu 21th May at 05:00 AM UTC

--DannyS712 (talk) 14:38, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

Maintenance completed successfully between 05:00:30 and 05:03:28. Edits can continue as usual. --JCrespo (WMF) (talk) 05:13, 21 May 2020 (UTC)
Great, thank you.--Ymblanter (talk) 05:19, 21 May 2020 (UTC)

Strategy recommendations

have been now put online: meta:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Recommendations. I personally will not even open them, but some people may find them interesting.--Ymblanter (talk) 09:11, 12 May 2020 (UTC)

These look extremely broad/high-level. Might be useful for e.g. WMF board members, but at a glance I'm not seeing a lot that is likely to filter down to affect my experience as an editor anytime soon. But thanks for sharing, of course. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 17:37, 12 May 2020 (UTC)
Major takeaways, highly colored by my personal opinions:
  • The WMF dislikes the existence of the notability and sourcing policies, and wishes they would go away, because of something about underrepresented groups.
  • Communities should be more involved in UX changes.
  • They're still pushing for a Universal Code of Conduct, despite it being repeatedly rejected.
  • The WMF wants more people to work on topics that are "impactful in the world", something something power and privilege. WMF also wants to establish a way to determine which topics they like. WMF continues to not understand how wikis work.
  • WMF likes the idea of "achievement" markers for people who gain wiki-related skills.
  • WMF wants to hire therapists for people "harmed by their Wikimedia activities".
  • People get annoyed by lack of documentation.
  • WMF prefers people don't acknowledge the hand they had in writing the strategy documents, and also that people don't notice that their decisions have been repeatedly rejected.
  • The various Wikimedia organizations are planning an internal reorganization.
--Yair rand (talk) 19:27, 12 May 2020 (UTC)

I made a few attempts to track and participate in this Strategy process. It quickly became clear that the process was completely broken, and any attempt to participate was a complete waste of time. The Foundation has never been willing to participate in any sort of consensus process, and therefore they have zero experience in how to run something like this properly. They refused repeated calls to make this a consensus-based process. They refused to include items that had manifest overwhelming consensus, while blatantly SNOW-oppose-batshit-crazy items were repeatedly just copied over to the next round. (That gave the batshit items blank new discussion pages, effectively vanishing all feedback on how fringe and non-viable the batshit items were. Responding was pointless.)
Up until recently the process consisted of 80 proposals, which were at least detailed and meaningful. As the end date approached a couple of staff members pretty much wrote-from-scratch a small number of extremely vague items, and they reffed some of the bits and pieces to related concepts from the list of 80 proposals. Some of those refs cited blatant SNOW-oppose-batshit-crazy items. In the final rewrite the refs were removed, and the final content is so vague that most of it sounds unobjectionable... until they try implementing it.
Probably the most batshit-crazy bit is that many of WMF-staff, plus apparently some of the fringe volunteers involved, think that "equity" means we should scrap pretty much all of Wikipedia's Notability and sourcing and related policies. The Foundation takes the marketing-phrase "sum of all human knowledge" too literally, and they combined that with their outreach to underrepresented communities. In particular some population groups speak languages that are completely unwritten. There was an attempt to organize such a group to become editors and submit content... the efforts blew up badly due to a complete absence of Notability or Sourcing. (They also wanted to change our copyright licencing, so that they could ban anyone from ever editing their content.) Some people think the obvious fix is to scrap our Notability requirements, and that we should allow "oral history" sourcing. "Oral history" means any idiot on the internet can record anyone saying anything, they can upload it to wikipedia, then they can write anything they want in an article simply by citing it to their own recording. You can find a watered-down version of the issue in the in Free Knowledge portion.
Another SNOW issue comes from staff frustrated that we won't let them deploy things like Flow or making VisualEditor the only editor. In some of the 80 proposals various authors were clearly seeking an authority or weapon to defeat their perceived enemy, the community, regarding software deployment. The final Strategy document has various discussion of "Improving User Experience" and creating a "Global Council" and/or a "Technology Council". The Foundation would assign authority to decide software deployments to the Council. The delusional idea is that, somehow because it was the Council instead of the WMF, the community would sit down and shut up when they try to shove harmful software down our throat against consensus. The final document obviously doesn't discuss it in those terms, but that's where it's derived from.
At this point, I think about the only productive thing we could do is maybe produce a consensus saying to the Executive Director: (1) We are a consensus-based movement, (2) the Foundation Strategy process was badly broken, (3) the Strategy Document is an unreliable mixed bag of content (4) insofar as the document fails to reflect consensus it has zero legitimacy or authority, (5) there may be fierce opposition if the Foundation attempts to implement any portion in a fashion that is contrary to consensus. What does everyone else think? Alsee (talk) 20:29, 12 May 2020 (UTC)
First, I do not think the Executive Director is in the least interested in listening to the community(-ies), she has never been an editor and never showed any such interest or any understanding how the community works in the past. Second, if she wanted to listen to the communities, she had so many chances that I do not think one more would change anything. What we need to do is to organize ourselves in such a way that any major fuckup such as WP:FRAM will get an immediate response similar to WP:FRAM.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:46, 12 May 2020 (UTC)
And I would say that this board will be very useful in providing that sort of accountability. Of course, the other reason for this board’s creation was so that there would be a central location for the WMF to post about stuff on Meta and similar sites that could affect EnWP, so I would love to see some more WMF participation here. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 13:57, 17 May 2020 (UTC)
I think the concept of a strategy proposal is good, but the current implementation is sorely lacking. The proposals weren't copy-edited at all before being presented, they are sprawling and difficult to digest, and it wasn't made clear what had actually been changed between the first and second rounds. It's also not very obvious what the proposals would actually achieve in practice aside from the production of a nice PDF to show to donors or whomever. Hypothetically something less top-down would probably be better and would yield a more coherent and actually useful result, and it's a shame that the WMF initially developed this in-house without really properly communicating anything to anyone except registered affiliates, because I really can't see anything useful coming of this for the time being. Jc86035 (talk) 16:33, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
Please see the change log for actual changes after the final community consultation. --CJackel (WMF) (talk) 21:00, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
Congratulations for being the first (WMF) account to edit this page * Pppery * it has begun... 00:36, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
Hello (Hello) CJackel (WMF), accept greetings from this Village pump. The change log page lists a number of changes. I have 2 observations here. a) as it is mentioned that several changes were made after the 2020 discussion and feedback sessions, it would have been a bit easier to understand and follow if the changes were reported against specific feedback (wherever applicable). A random example below.
  • Feedback recieved: It was suggested [LINK][LINK] to reduce the number of principles. (links if available, otherwise just noting down the feedback also works)
  • Changes made: "Reduced the 13 Principles to 10;" (this sentence directly copied from that page)
  • Explanations/Comments: Other comment, detail, explanation (if any)
If you/others think the format is not required for all changes, perhaps this could be followed while reporting major changes. Adding words, sentences, or other similar things may be considered as minor changes. Please note here, the current version "Changes" section does not have a single Wiki-link and makes things difficult to link/connect.
And let me also note my observation b) If by any chance there were repeated suggestions by community members/communities on any topic, and changes were not made (if applicable), perhaps those could also be noted under "Changes not made".
Finally kindly note the posts above discuss several other topics other than the change log. Could we discuss those as well? Thanks for your post, regards. --Titodutta (talk) 02:38, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
Thank you for your suggestions, Titodutta. The feedback during the community discussions were not always posted onwiki. For example, some communities use Facebook or telegram groups in order to communicate, or gave feedback during office hours. Therefore it is not possible to link each feedback individually, although this idea has a certain fascination. In order to classify the feedback, it might be worth taking a look at the summmary of the feedback and the extended table. In addition, there are summaries of the feedback from the individual language communities. I hope that this is a good starting point for the time being. As for the other topics, which one in particular would you like to address? And could you perhaps post it on Meta so that more people can read it and participate? Best regards --CJackel (WMF) (talk) 09:29, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
  • Greetings, Thanks for responding. I was not talking about connecting each and every change–feedback and noted that wherever applicable, links if available, otherwise just noting down the feedback also workswhile reporting major changes etc. b) The \Table page you linked aboved is a deadend page as well (except the navbox). Anyway, what I mean is connecting/interconnecting and linking are generally helpful, and I feel is applicable for the change log as well. I am following the Wikimedia-l discussions and (a little less frequently) Meta-Wiki, will post if needed. Regards. --Titodutta (talk) 22:40, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
Wonderful to see the accessibility recommendations from meta meetings now quote"Support compliance with the most advanced accessibility guidelines using free and open-source software (WCAG for web, W3C mobile web best practices, etc.)."--Moxy 🍁 00:06, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
REThe WMF dislikes the existence of the notability and sourcing policies, Really? Has WMF forgotten that we are supposed to be building an encyclopedia and not a random collection of information? Have they forgotten the inherent dangers of negative, unsourced information? What will they do to help good-faith editors who are bullied and intimidated off-line and on Wiki by the subjects of articles who are displeased? --Deep fried okra User talk:Deepfriedokra 14:50, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
Visual editor is great except when it is not. It is far easier to add templates without it. It is impossible to view a deleted page with it. It can be cumbersome and awkward with reviewing changes in articles. --Deep fried okra User talk:Deepfriedokra 14:54, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
Deepfriedokra, the foundation represents more people than those building an (english) encyclopedia. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:16, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
@TheDJ: On the contrary, the Foundation represents the views of a few hundred people, made up of the staff and Board members; the number of people building the English Wikipedia is hundreds of thousands. --RexxS (talk) 12:27, 25 May 2020 (UTC)
RexxS, while that might be an opinion you hold, it doesn't negate that the strategy is supposed to say things about the wider movement. Not necessarily all of it is meant for and/or will apply to English Wikipedia, which was my point. And the fact that people here immediately assume otherwise and go on wild theoretical tangents, only shows how insular they are and how much they disrespect the other 10s of thousands of volunteers working on related knowledge projects. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 13:34, 25 May 2020 (UTC)
@TheDJ: I'm one of the people here, and I'm quite offended by your accusation that I'm insular and disrespect tens of thousands of volunteers on other projects. I'm absolutely certain my track-record of working with the international community gives the lie to that.
Many members of local communities hold views similar to those of the WMF, but it doesn't mean that the WMF represents their views.
The strategy does indeed say things about the wider movement, which is why its implementation needs to be in the hands of the community as a whole, not just the WMF. The WMF's role in determining the way forward from here should be to coordinate and facilitate implementation by the many different project communities, respecting the principle of subsidiarity, not by a top-down approach that assumes "one size fits all". I'm genuinely hopeful that they agree with me on that. --RexxS (talk) 17:07, 25 May 2020 (UTC)
It might be worth reading not only the recommendations, but also the principles on which they are based: Subsidiarity & Self-Management and Contextualization, among others. Regards --CJackel (WMF) (talk) 08:43, 26 May 2020 (UTC)
@TheDJ: the foundation represents more people than those building an ... encyclopedia. True, and yet they want to rebrand themselves as the Wikipedia Foundation. Pelagicmessages ) Z – (05:56 Fri 29, AEST) 19:56, 28 May 2020 (UTC)

There was considerable opposition, throughout the online 'consultations', to the proposal to change notability and reliability criteria. I found that the proposal was the top "insight" at a 2017 dinner in New York that was hosted by... Katherine Maher, CEO of the WMF. EddieHugh (talk) 11:34, 25 May 2020 (UTC)

What I find intriguing about those three "insights" is that all three have been raised here on en.wikipedia at one time or another (& I suspect likewise at the other major projects), yet instead of directly approaching the communities -- or even taking the time to have a look thru the voluminous talk pages -- she would rather start ex nihilo, as if the volunteers were the cause of the problem. -- llywrch (talk) 18:10, 25 May 2020 (UTC)


The WMF should pay someone to maintain WP:STiki. Benjamin (talk) 10:21, 18 May 2020 (UTC)

It's hardly that simple, 1) you need access to the codebase and deployment (so basically Andrew will need to help in some capacity) 2) you need to go through the grant process. The ideal way would be for the developer themselves to seek the grant. --qedk (t c) 12:39, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
It's open source, right? Couldn't someone else take the code and host it? Benjamin (talk) 12:49, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
It says so on the Wikipedia page but the codebase itself does not state it, there's no LICENSE file and the files themselves (checked only a few) do not carry a license either. --qedk (t c) 13:16, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
Pinging @West.andrew.g:. Benjamin (talk) 14:35, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
Andrew was mentioning that he just needs to get back to their work to re boot their machines. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:22, 24 May 2020 (UTC)

Growth Team Features Proposal - Newcomer Tasks & Help

The Growth Team dropped a line on the AfC talk page, so I thought I'd spread the word here a little as well.

The G-Team has built three features which they've been testing on four smaller wikis and would now like our views on:

  1. Newcomer tasks and Structured tasks: a feed of task suggestions that help newcomers learn to edit. Newcomers have been making productive edits through this feed! Structured tasks are a potential new type of task that the team is considering.
  2. Newcomer homepage: a special page that hosts the "newcomer tasks" and is a good place for a newcomer to get started.
  3. Help panel: a platform to provide resources to newcomers while they are editing.

We've long felt that we aren't great at handling into content for newcomers. I don't know if this is the route, but it's certainly a route, so would be good if we could provide some thoughts to the team (if we don't, we can't complain when no-one asks us). Nosebagbear (talk) 09:07, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

This looks like a good fit with what the Teahouse seeks to achieve, and points 2 and 3 likely overlap with what is provided there so it would be good look to integrate these features there - reaching out to TH volunteers to seek there input would seem to be a very good way to start that. Thryduulf (talk) 14:17, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
The Teahouse have been alerted, and Nick has commented, though I'm sure more hosts' participation would be great. I've dropped a note to a couple of other groups like Help Desk who would also be more than likely to be involved. Nosebagbear (talk) 14:47, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

In addition to the four medium-size wikipedias, you can see the newcomers' personalised user-home page in English on Testwiki, by ticking the box at Preferences – User Profile. [ And other languages, not sure how the translation is progressing – hint to anyone who's multilingual and interested in helping! ] They are working to add content to Testwiki so that the suggested edits feature can be demonstrated there. Pelagicmessages ) Z – (06:40 Fri 29, AEST) 20:40, 28 May 2020 (UTC)

There are good screenshots on the page that Nosebagbear linked, many thanks to MMiller (WMF) for creating it! I'm not trying to detract attention from that page, just mentioning Testwiki for those who are similar to me and like to poke at things in addition to looking at the pics. Different learning styles and all that. Pelagicmessages ) Z – (07:01 Fri 29, AEST) 21:01, 28 May 2020 (UTC)

The WMF moves to declare Wikipedia RFC's to be illegitime decision making

The new strategy recommendations that the WMF moves to implement contain the sentence:

Our historical structures and processes currently reinforce the concentration of power and resources in the Movement around established communities and entities. This means that a number of decisions are made without consulting diverse stakeholders affected by them, which not only hinders the growth of the Movement but also affects the legitimacy and impact of those decisions.

This basically means that they consider RfC's to lack legitimacy. They want to create a new body that will make decisions that don't reflect the consensus that the Wikipedia's find via RFCs and push through policies that wouldn't find consensus. What will the English Wikipedia do about this? Give up the power it has currently to self-govern? ChristianKl❫ 16:29, 20 May 2020 (UTC)

I have issues with some of the strategy recommendations. But not this one. People who are here are the Wikipedia elite and being cognizant of that is important. If I look at the specific changes and actions that accompany this rationale they don't seem much of a problem (especially compared with some of the other issue brought up above). Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 17:12, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
@Barkeep49 and ChristianKl: As is often the case with documents of this type, that page is a little vague and hard to parse, but from my understanding of it, the concern I'd have is that it seems to want to empower projects like the the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs' "Ambitious Campaign to Enrich Wikipedia with Unbiased Information on Ukraine and the World", which raises such serious WP:LOCALCONSENSUS concerns that one could argue it should be cancelled based on the consensus in The Signpost article's comment section alone. On the other hand, to the extent it's a reflection of WP:READER, as you seem to be saying, Barkeep, I do support it, with the caveat that there is potential for it to be abused in a way that would undermine community consensus. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 19:26, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
The EnWiki community was quite clear in deciding that it doesn't want a code of conduct. This document suggests that there should be a new Global Council that can make decisions to implement such a code of conduct against the wishes of the individual Wikipedias. It also notes that such a council is supposed to contain voices that the WMF thinks should have input into the decisions but which currently don't have enough influence. Practically, that's likely social justice activists who represent themselves as speaking for various minorities. ChristianKl❫ 20:21, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
The German discussion also had an informal but clear and overwhelming consensus against the Code of Conduct. The WMF had pages for a couple of languages, but the others had negligible participation. On one hand the WMF are deaf to anyone who opposes the Code, on the other hand they appear to be trying to appease those who want to reign it in. It's an incoherent mix of mandatory-suggestions to be outlined globally but written and implemented locally. They only thing they know for sure is that this is their job assignment. Alsee (talk) 23:53, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
That whole document reads as if it was written as a parody of expensive-management-consultant-speak, and it seems that the writer didn't have the slightest inkling that Wikipedia editors are not employees who can be ordered around. But, reading between the lines, as is necessary with such a document that doesn't make clear, concrete, recommendations, it appears that that bit doesn't really apply to the English Wikipedia, which, on any measure, is the largest of the Wikmedia projects, but to those projects where a handful of very much non-neutral editors have become admins and excluded anyone who doesn't share their point of view. To my knowledge this has happened with the Croatian and Azerbaijani Wikipedias, and I'm sure there are others. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:44, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
  • As far as I'm concerned the WMF's proper role is to provide server space, software, and technical support. I do not require strategic direction on how I should spend my volunteering time. I'm confident that other Wikipedians tend to feel as I do about this, and therefore the WMF's aspirations here are inherently futile, but I'm concerned about the "Participatory resource allocation", which is about increasing the use of "financial and other resources for the purpose of implementing Movement strategy". Money is control and therefore, intentionally or not, this is a grab for control over our content. I think that about a third of the WMF's funding comes from the banner advertisements they place on our website, and there's an opportunity for us to discuss with them whether it's appropriate for them to use the money that we raise to control us.—S Marshall T/C 13:21, 21 May 2020 (UTC)
    @S Marshall: It's worth noting that most of the work the WMF does is still on technical stuff: of the ~400 people who work for the WMF, nearly two thirds of them work in the Tech/Product departments, and most of the rest is internal Administration/Finance/HR/Legal/Fundraising needed to keep the organization functioning. --Yair rand (talk) 18:57, 21 May 2020 (UTC)

So to respond to ChristianKl's point - I made some similar comments to this on Meta, but worth posting them here too I was involved in drafting some of the earlier versions of this concept, so hope my perspective is helpful. The idea here is not that the Global Council will somehow replace project RfCs. Rather, the idea is to create a structure that improves the quality of the conversations between different parts of the movement - including between the WMF and project communities. There is also an element of holding the WMF accountable to the Wikimedia communities, which doesn't happen much at present. And there is an element of holding affiliates and/or projects to account where they don't comply with shared values. For instance there are cases that exist already where a small Wikipedia is said to have been taken over by ethnic nationalists, or where a Chapter has splintered into two groups who are mainly intent on taking each other to court. It's possible that some decisions of the global council would have an impact on the high-level policies of some projects, and I can see why people would have questions about that. But in my view it's worth trying, and the benefit is that it will provide a platform for early feedback to the WMF that is listened to, that is currently entirely missing. Finally we would have a structure that would prevent a repeat of the Superprotect fiasco. I also expect given the likely composition of the Global Council, I believe it's going to be unlikely that it's going to be forcing through any radical changes to any wiki's policies. It's going to be a slow, deliberative body with a high proportion (a majority? who knows?) of members elected by the Wikimedia communities, who will tend to have a good understanding of how our communities work and how Wikipedians react to things. The Land (talk) 21:05, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

But the Devil will be in the detail. That's why the coming implementation phase needs more scrutiny than ever. If the WMF chooses to ignore local communities, what evidence is there that they will be any more amenable to an abstract global body's pronouncements? It would seemingly be a good idea to have a body that can hold "affiliates and/or projects to account where they don't comply with shared values" – but whose shared values? Are those the shared values of the local communities? or the values shared between all of the stakeholders? and who is speaking for all these other stakeholders?
What mechanism would there be for a talking-shop to hold affiliates accountable? Otherwise, what powers would be vested in a global body to do that job?
Is a platform for early feedback to the WMF entirely missing? Why doesn't the WMF listen to the Affiliate Chairs or EDs when they give feedback as a group? If they don't take feedback from existing groups that are already grounded in the movement, what would entice them to listen to another body that wouldn't even necessarily be drawn primarily from the communities? or is that the attractive feature? --RexxS (talk) 22:17, 22 May 2020 (UTC)
Hi RexxS! Yes - obviously the details matter a great deal. There are only vague details about how implementation will work so far, but the more people get involved with that process the better... among those details is what's in the movement charter, which is intended to be the statement of shared values, and is as yet not written.
What I can say is that the WMF Board (and senior staff) are genuinely open to this body and trying to make it work. This recommendation has had more detailed feedback from the WMF than any other, probably because the WMF would end up ceding some of its authority to the Global Council and that raises questions about how it fits with the WMF's legal obligations. But that feedback has been in a tone of working out what exactly was being suggested and how it might work - if the WMF was going to set up this body and then ignore it, I would expect either silence or something quite different in tone. The WMF does not really like the status quo either.
And yes, the WMF does listen to feedback from affiliates, particularly from the larger chapters. Which is in some ways healthy, as lots of chapters have experienced boards and staff with valuable perspectives. But there are weaknesses of that, too; a large majority of the voices that get involved in that conversation are from Europe; there is no easy way in to those conversations unless you are a chapter with an ED; and not all chapters see it as their role to represent communities. So part of the motivation for the new body is to create something broader, deeper and more accountable. The Land (talk) 08:52, 23 May 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for your input, The Land (also taking note of Phil Bridger's similar interpretation). It sounds a lot less threatening when you explain it like that, with some concrete references and not management mumbo-jumbo (which is so vague that it could be used to legitimise almost any action, with the excuse "hey, we consulted on this"). What concerns me is how will the Global Council be constituted? Will there be people directly representing the Wikipedia editing communities (and contributors to Commons, Data, etc.), or just Affiliates? The WMF seems to conflate the two, but they are not the same. Pelagicmessages ) Z – (07:39 Fri 29, AEST) 21:39, 28 May 2020 (UTC)
Hi Pelagic. Yes - indeed - and that question is not answered yet. I definitely think it needs to have some method of electing members from projects, though also I think that method will need to be different to the current WMF elections. It would be a mistake if it ended up being affiliates and WMF (though I don't think that is on peoples' minds). In one of the draft recommendations, there was a lot more detail about how governance bodies should be created - this ended up being folded into other recommendations, but no-one really seemed against it, and hopefully people will go back to read it in future. The Land (talk) 08:23, 29 May 2020 (UTC)
  • I'd seen this mentioned, with quotation, at a criticism site. The WMF makes more and more plain that it regards us with pure contempt. To say any more would be a waste of my time. Yngvadottir (talk) 17:20, 25 May 2020 (UTC)
  • There are elements of this that have at leas the possibility of being be beneficial: Our RfCs certainly have no legitimacy outside enWP--we have close unavoidable interrelationships with othe parts of the movement, notable Commons and Wikidata, and it seems appropriate to have some formal way of dealing with them. (the current method is in essence , complaints on thos projects, some coordination by people who work both here and on the other projects, and a variety of informal contacts with individuals at the WMF.) More generally, we should not assume this to be a matter of superseding our own RfCs. Most matters will still be local, As for whether the WMF will try to interfere with policies we think important they already have done so, sometimes quite foolishly; when the defects of their proposals are clear enough, and when we care enough--and especially when we and other WPs as well care enough--we have been able to succeed. I think that if we and the other parts of the movements deal with this cleverly and in a spirit of at least not unrelieved immediate hostility, we might have more to gain from this than we realize--more perhaps than anyone realizes. I hate additional layers of bureaucracy as much as anyone here--like many of us I came here especially to avoid over-organized projects--, but I think this may not prove another unnecessary layer, but rather a replacement of chaos. We're really as close to anarchy as any organization of our size and diversity can manage, way beyond everyone's predictions. In the most general terms, anarchy as well as bureaucracy can be used to promote or permit tyranny.
It also seems a little odd to defend our RfCs as a method of decision making: we have altogether too many of them for relatively minor issues, and as a result it is increasingly difficult for anyone to pay sufficient attention to all the one that might turn out to have serious unexpected implications beyond the narrow sphere in which they are proposed, , and is increasingly difficult to get sufficiently representative numbers at them--let alone interpret them and carry them out. DGG ( talk ) 05:53, 26 May 2020 (UTC)
I don't want to open up the whole debate here, but we have already made significant progress over the years in how we measure notability, which is likely to be an area of keen focus by the WMF. The simplest metric, "significant coverage", proved too coarse when we compare the coverage of (for example) a minor rock star with a prominent academic. We therefore created WP:NPROF and artificially introduced eight extra criteria that we deemed make the subject worthy of an article. I am quite certain that there are many topics and people which deserve an encyclopedia article, but which have little traditional sourcing because of their context – I mean they predate modern times or exist in a part of the world lacking our modern reporting infrastructure. We ought to be addressing how we can capture information about those sort of subjects and create acceptable articles ourselves, without being prodded by the WMF to do so. --RexxS (talk) 15:13, 26 May 2020 (UTC)

WMF Board Authorises UCOC and related actions - Community Discussion


With the announcement today (22nd May) by the WMF Board of several significant T&S-related changes, please consider taking a look and participating at the Village Pump Discussion to discuss a Community reaction(s).

Had I thought a little more, this should probably have been posted here with the links going here, but VPP probably will get a better view of this aspect.

Nosebagbear (talk) 22:37, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

Death of George Floyd blackout?

There is a proposal elsewhere on the VPP for a blackout in support of the protests over the Death of George Floyd. Is this something consistent with WMF movement goals? WOuld WMF be interested in taking a position? Has WMF already taken a position? --Deep fried okra (schalte ein) 07:16, 2 June 2020 (UTC)

I believe that it would be much more productive for all of us to work together to improve the quality and depth of our coverage of the current George Floyd protest movement, and the long history of the struggles of oppressed people all over the world, and also the horrific reality of how the coronavirus pandemic is playing out in vulnerable, powerless communities worldwide. Better content should be our constant goal. Making our content unavailable or difficult to access in the midst of a deep and profound worldwide crisis, though well-intentioned, is the wrong step at this moment. That's my opinion, at least, although I have deep respect for those who propose and support this. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 07:25, 2 June 2020 (UTC)
Deepfriedokra, what Cullen328 said. Guy (help!) 08:16, 2 June 2020 (UTC)
Probably best for the discussion about whether this is a good idea to remain consolidated here. But to answer the question, I think the WMF would probably do it if the community wanted to do it, and definitely wouldn't if the community don't. The Land (talk) 08:31, 2 June 2020 (UTC)

The complete discussion has now been moved from Village pump (policy) to Village pump (proposals) — GhostInTheMachine talk to me 10:11, 2 June 2020 (UTC)

@Deepfriedokra:, @JzG:, @GhostInTheMachine: One thing I'm doing to try to help the situation is to improve the article on Qualified immunity and have created the Ending Qualified Immunity Act. Please contribute to the articles :) John Cummings (talk) 15:05, 4 June 2020 (UTC)

I very much doubt this legislation will ever pass, if it does, it will certainly go up to the Supreme Court. --qedk (t c) 15:07, 4 June 2020 (UTC)
John Cummings, seriously, dude, I admire your optimism. Mitch McConnell has pretty much said that all he's going to do is rubber stamp Federalist Society judicial nominees right up to January 2021. He said it a long time ago, and he's held to it. The graveyard of legislation. Guy (help!) 15:27, 4 June 2020 (UTC)

Proposal: That WMF ask Google to stop indexing certain bot-generated articles

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

  • Problem: Google is picking up on of ceb.wikipedia geography articles that have been created by bot. The articles are more than 95% spot-on, but when they are wrong they are very wrong. The incorrect information may even be in the title. One example is that the bot produced three articles for the same island in the same location, but each article claimed the island was in a different county. This would not be a problem to the English-speaking world if it wasn't that the titles of the articles are in English, either completely or in part. Because of this, the bot generated information gets fed into Google results for searches made in English. Due to the thousands of bot generated articles it is not practical for humans to completely curate the ceb.wikipedia articles anytime soon. As many of the bot generated articles have some value, it does not seem reasonable to demand that ceb.wikipedia change its standards and delete all the articles en masse.
Proposal: Instead, the WMF should ask Google to stop indexing all ceb.wikipedia geography articles in English speaking lands such as North America and Canada that depict local geographies like counties, cities, towns, buildings, islands, reefs, etc. Articles on states, provinces, and countries may still be indexed. There should be an opt-in whitelist mechanism for certain important locations like Manhattan or Oahu, but ceb.wikipedia must indicate that they have curated these articles with a human reviewer.
Additionally, Google needs to not index all wikipedia clones of the blacklisted ceb.wikipedia geography articles. The WMF should ask Google to do this.--Epiphyllumlover (talk) 17:58, 12 June 2020 (UTC)
  • This has nothing to do with the English Wikipedia, and should be on Meta (or the Cebuano Wikipedia itself) instead. * Pppery * it has begun... 18:25, 12 June 2020 (UTC)
I will post this on meta. I don't speak Cebuano but could Google translate it.--Epiphyllumlover (talk) 19:23, 12 June 2020 (UTC)
Good luck with that, but I somehow don't think that the WMF has quite as much clout with Google as you seem to think. Google will do whatever the person who makes the decision thinks contributes most to her or his earnings. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:50, 12 June 2020 (UTC)
I guess I might find out how things work this way. The meta discussion Pppery advised me to start is here: meta:Wikimedia_Forum#Proposal:_That_WMF_ask_Google_to_stop_indexing_certain_bot-generated_articles--Epiphyllumlover (talk) 19:54, 12 June 2020 (UTC)
@Phil Bridger: It's entirely within the remit of a Wikipedia to decide which articles they want to apply noindex to - I'm not sure this proposal is a great one, because, well, what's the alternative if the Wiki article doesn't come up, but it is technically feasible, relationship with Google be damned. I'm not sure we'd get much done in terms of SEO if we had to get Google to sign off on the decisions Face-tongue.svg Naypta ☺ | ✉ talk page | 19:56, 12 June 2020 (UTC)
I agree that it's entirely within the remit of a Wikipedia to decide which articles they want to apply noindex to, but this proposal goes beyond that and asks the WMF to intervene, and also proposes that mirrors should be noindexed, which is certainly beyond the power of anyone in the WMF. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:18, 12 June 2020 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Editing news 2020 #2 – Quick updates

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Mockup of the new reply feature, showing new editing tools
The new features include a toolbar. What do you think should be in the toolbar?

This edition of the Editing newsletter includes information the Wikipedia:Talk pages project, an effort to help contributors communicate on wiki more easily. The central project page is on

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:11, 15 June 2020 (UTC)

New cross-Wikimedia API portal

During a Wikimedia Technical Talk today, a new API portal was announced to be coming to Wikimedia projects, with a planned launch for WMF Q1 this year (WMF Q1 starts in July) after a beta period also starting in Q1. Notably, the APIs available through this portal will be subject to enforced rate limiting.

Evan Prodromou from the WMF has said that the new portal is not planned to replace existing APIs, but to add additional options for interaction with the various Wikimedia sites, and that community participation will be sought. Registration will not be required, but the implication seems to be (although I may be wrong) that anonymous users will have strict rate limits imposed upon them, to encourage people to authenticate using oAuth with the APIs.

The full talk is here, and the slides are available for download on Commons. Naypta ☺ | ✉ talk page | 18:04, 5 June 2020 (UTC)

SUMMARY: This is about how independent web-app developers retrieve data from the Foundation servers. IMO it is unlikely to be a subject of community-business. Alsee (talk) 13:13, 7 June 2020 (UTC)
@Alsee: I think it's of community importance to note, because the way that our content is used ought to be relevant to us. Plenty of developers are also involved in the community, myself included. Naypta ☺ | ✉ talk page | 13:46, 7 June 2020 (UTC)
For those of us too lazy to examine the details, can someone work out what the incentive would be to use a rate-limited API if the current API is going to be unchanged? I think rate limiting is an obvious requirement but am wondering if there is a plain-speaking translation of the plan. Johnuniq (talk) 00:06, 8 June 2020 (UTC)
Johnuniq current APIs are basically focused in two directions. One set of APIs are basically aimed as individual users, such as making an edit or retrieving an article or a Wikidata-value. At the opposite end there are APIs that let big companies suck down vast bulk data from us. (Note: The Foundation wants to start charging for those APIs.) This project is aimed at the "middle", new APIs were APP developers would get a free personal key so their APPs can get free access for sizable-but-not-unlimited access. They want to redesign the API to be easier to use, all packaged up in a single connection to a single server. (The current APIs require multiple connections to get different things from different places.) I think they are adding new functionality intended for APP developers or other midsize users, but I didn't follow it closely enough to be able to say what would be new. Alsee (talk) 21:12, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
Thanks. Johnuniq (talk) 00:18, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
@Johnuniq: I'd worry about "is not planned to replace existing APIs" continuing to be the case if the new thing doesn't pull in enough usage, and/or the addition of arbitrary limitations into or discontinuation of maintenance of the existing APIs to try to push usage away from them. I wouldn't be at all surprised if [1] is related. Anomie 13:05, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
Interesting, thanks, it certainly looks related. A plain-speaking translation would still be desirable. Johnuniq (talk) 04:51, 22 June 2020 (UTC)

Drafting Committee for the Universal Code of Conduct

The WMF has stated that they intend to impose a Universal Code of Conduct on all WMF-hosted projects, including the English Wikipedia. As part of that process, there will be a drafting committee, which will include some community members. Of particular note:

  • Committee members will not be elected. Rather, they will be appointed by Maggie Dennis, the WMF's Vice President of Community Resilience & Sustainability, after a review by the Trust and Safety team.
  • The committee will have 5 or 6 volunteer members and four or five paid WMF staff members.

More information, including information on applying, is available at m:Universal Code of Conduct and m:Universal Code of Conduct/Drafting committee. Best, --Mdaniels5757 (talk) 21:16, 1 July 2020 (UTC)

Editing news 2020 #3

On 16 March 2020, the 50 millionth edit was made using the visual editor on desktop.

Seven years ago this week, the Editing team made the visual editor available by default to all logged-in editors using the desktop site at the English Wikipedia. Here's what happened since its introduction:

  • The 50 millionth edit using the visual editor on desktop was made this year. More than 10 million edits have been made here at the English Wikipedia.
  • More than 2 million new articles have been created in the visual editor. More than 600,000 of these new articles were created during 2019.
  • Almost 5 million edits on the mobile site have been made with the visual editor. Most of these edits have been made since the Editing team started improving the mobile visual editor in 2018.
  • The proportion of all edits made using the visual editor has been increasing every year.
  • Editors have made more than 7 million edits in the 2017 wikitext editor, including starting 600,000 new articles in it. The 2017 wikitext editor is VisualEditor's built-in wikitext mode. You can enable it in your preferences.
  • On 17 November 2019, the first edit from outer space was made in the mobile visual editor.
  • In 2019, 35% of the edits by newcomers, and half of their first edits, were made using the visual editor. This percentage has been increasing every year since the tool became available.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 02:05, 3 July 2020 (UTC)

50 million is indeed impressive! A little handwave over the second sentence given what other thing happened since its intro, but the 600,000 articles in 2019 and growing proportions are particularly key notes of success. @Whatamidoing (WMF): Do we have any idea on what reasons new editors would give for not opting for visual editor for their first edit (not knowing what each one was, told to by another, etc), even if only anecdotal? Nosebagbear (talk) 17:02, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
Hi, @Nosebagbear. Let me start by providing some more details about this query. It looks at edits from people who had made ≤99 edits at that local wiki (while logged in), on either the mobile or desktop sites (but excluding apps or flagged bots), in "content" namespaces, at only Wikipedias, regardless of account age. Edits that switched to/from visual editing are not counted as using the visual editor. I think it also excludes edits made in the 2017 wikitext editor. (I'm certain that it doesn't count those as visual edits; I'm not certain whether it excludes them entirely from the denominator vs counting the as non-visual edits.) Also, hitting the undo button always opens the wikitext editor, and all edits that don't use an editing environment at all (e.g., Twinkle) or offer no choice are untagged, so those are edits are "not visual". Once it has identified eligible edits, it compares are edits tagged as being in the visual editor against all the other eligible edits (WikiEditor, Undo, Twinkle, HotCat, WikEd, etc.).
If you split the results between mobile and desktop sites, the visual editor is used for 40% of mainspace edits by people using the desktop site, but 23% on the mobile site, and when you combine the two sites (this group made three edits on desktop for every one it made on mobile in 2019), then you get an average of 35% of eligible edits being made exclusively in the visual mode.
As for the cause, some of it is unavailability. This can be either "hard" unavailability (e.g., no Javascript = no visual editing) or "soft" unavailability (hard to use or find). For example, even after the significant improvements to the mobile visual editor, it's still hard to edit on a smartphone, and the visual editor (assuming you even know it exists) there is quite limited: you can type, and it can add character formatting and links. There are no buttons to insert templates, images, tables, etc., so you have to switch back to wikitext on mobile to do any of that).
Even when they have a choice, new editors tend to use whatever's put in front of them for their first edits, so having this (the largest) Wikipedia assume that newbies' first edit should happen in the wikitext editor puts a lot of unintentional pressure these results. The rise in mobile editing, which is wikitext-first on all sites, exerts a similarly strong pressure. Additionally, there were (and still are) some bugs in the "SET" (Single Edit Tab) system that pushed editors into wikitext editing. The SET system is here, but it's not at most large Wikipedias. So with all of that in mind, you should not be surprised to hear that for the English Wikipedia specifically, the visual editor (desktop+mobile) was only 27% last year, which is significantly lower than the average. By comparison, at the French Wikipedia, 55% of all article edits by newcomers were in the visual editor, Russian was 50%, Spanish was 48%, Portuguese was 49%, etc.
When the visual editor was first introduced, we saw a spike in "failed" edits (in both editing environments). People seemed to open one, look at it, close it ("failed"), open the other and look at it, and then decide which one they wanted to use. Experienced editors tend to use both depending upon the type of edit we want to make. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:11, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for the answers @Whatamidoing (WMF):! The phone editor looks like the massive area to me. I don't edit by phone, but might if a better VE was there (none of the general benefits of a wikitext editor vs normal VE would really apply on a phone), and in general I'd be way more open to phone editing defaulting to (an updated) VE than the standard site. Are the changes in talk pages intended to be phone-friendly? Nosebagbear (talk) 20:03, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
The mobile version does not have talk pages , unless I am missing something. This actually means that the mobile version is not intended for collaborative editing.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:11, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
@Ymblanter: Mobile web has talk, but only if you’re logged in. I didn’t realise before now that logged-out users don’t see a Talk link or button.
The iOS app has "View talk page" regardless of logged-in status.
(Aside: logging out of the app also logged me out here and deleted the reply I was typing.)
Pelagicmessages ) Z – (09:16 Sun 05, AEST) 23:16, 4 July 2020 (UTC)
The (currrent version of the) Reply tool is not visible on the mobile site. The goal for this stage is to not make engineering choices that would make it hard to expand it to the mobile site. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:44, 6 July 2020 (UTC)

Just a note that, apart from the 10 million VE edits in 7 years on enwiki, the other statistics are all, as far as I can tell, about Wikipedia as a whole, not specific about enwiki. This is not really clear from the way they are presented. Rather noteworthy is that 50% of new editors start in VE, but that this drops to 35% afterwards. Fram (talk) 08:34, 6 July 2020 (UTC)

WP ask option -- but not talk

I just met some unsollicited WP-payment (funding/support) requests. The problem is: no "Talk" option. -DePiep (talk) 21:52, 9 July 2020 (UTC)

DePiep, I cannot make out what you are trying to communicate. Could you clarify please? · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 10:09, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
@DePiep: If someone is asking you for money for Wikipedia then it's almost certainly either the WMF asking for a voluntary donation, a Wikipedia chapter asking you for a voluntary donation, or a scammer. If its either of the former, whether you give anything is entirely up to you. If you think it is or might be the latter then you should report it - tbh I'm not sure who deals with that, but as it's frequently related to paid editing then emailing is unlikely to be a bad first step. Alternatively, you might be being invited to apply for a grant/funding or (if you've applied for something like this) you might be being asked for more information regarding your application. Support/grants are made by both the Foundation and some local chapters, and I think some external organisations might have done so to (I have extremely vague memories of some African (Ghanaian?) editors being sponsored to attend a Wikimania by some local organisation). Finally, it's not impossible that some person or organisation is offering to pay you to create a Wikipedia article/do something on Wikipedia for them (although this seems the least likely) - be extremely careful with this and make sure to read WP:PAID. Thryduulf (talk) 12:44, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
I guess it is T&S who deals with scammers, or in any case they know what to do.--Ymblanter (talk) 14:34, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
I assume that this is the annual fundraiser banner tests that DePiep is referring to that were announced on WP:VPM or on WP:VPT (not sure from memory which). --Izno (talk) 17:45, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
Those were announced on this very page, #Fundraising banner testing starting next week, but should not be visible to logged in users.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:52, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
I do not assume he was logged in when he saw them. --Izno (talk) 18:07, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
I have found myself logged out for no obvious reason a few times recently. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 10:03, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
A couple of weeks ago a large group of users was logged out on purpose because of some technical issues. This was announced in advance (though not as wide as I would like to). But what happened yesterday I still do not understand.--Ymblanter (talk) 10:08, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
The reason we were logged out (everyone was logged out) two weeks ago is the same as occurred this week. --Izno (talk) 13:39, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
Thanks. It would be great if it would be announced more widely though, for example I would not be able to log in if I were away from home. (I understant that this is not you who decides, just an abstract wish).--Ymblanter (talk) 17:17, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
The logouts were due to security issues (1, 2), so announcing them in advance ("hey there is a security issue that might let random users access your account, don't worry we're going to fix it in a week or so when everyone knows about it") wouldn't really make sense.  Majavah talk · edits 17:28, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
I am pretty sure for the first one I have seen a phabricator message saying "today we will be logging everybody out" (I am subscribed to the thread).--Ymblanter (talk) 17:58, 11 July 2020 (UTC)

Interim Trust & Safety Case Review Committee

Hello, all. The Arbitration Committee asked me to stop by and talk to you here about the new Interim Trust & Safety Case Review Committee. :)

In a nutshell, this committee exists to review eligible Foundation Trust & Safety office actions (or decisions not to take action) on appeal. This committee is interim until a permanent process is created following the conclusion of the Universal Code of Conduct conversations. The intention is to help calibrate Trust & Safety actions to make sure that those actions are at the appropriate level with due respect to local governance capacities on the various Wikimedia projects and that those who are impacted by Trust & Safety actions (or, again, decision not to take action) have appropriate opportunity to request review by an international group of experienced volunteers. There are some risks in this process both for reviewers and for individuals in cases, so we are working very carefully with Foundation lawyers and external counsel to make sure that the process has as many safeguards as possible to protect all sides.

You can see the committee’s charter and the original call for volunteers on Meta.

I have carved time in my calendar over the next few days to answer questions here, per ArbCom’s request, and also on Meta, here. I may have to roll questions up rather than answer each individual comment, because I do have a limited amount of time I can engage in this and physical limitations on how much time I can spend typing these days. But that does depend on how many questions I receive. :) I also plan to host another office hour in August, although I’ve not yet been told the time. (You can see the notes from last office hour on Meta.)

I also have the following caveats:

  • I can’t and won’t discuss specific Trust & Safety cases. Instead, I can discuss Trust & Safety protocols and practices and approaches as well as some of the mistakes we’ve made, some of the things I’m proud of, and some of the things we’re hoping to do, especially with this appeal body.
  • I will not respond to comments or questions that are disrespectful to me, to my colleagues, or to anyone in our communities. I can talk civilly about our work even if you disagree with me or I disagree with you. I make every effort not to be too sensitive (I’ve dealt with a lot of unhappy people in my volunteer capacity, so I know people can be sharp when unhappy), but if I think something crosses the line I won’t engage. I won’t compromise on this.

Look forward to talking. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 15:26, 6 July 2020 (UTC)

Hi Maggie. Is it expected that the cases will be discussed by the committee members with each other (collective activity), or just reviewed and sent back to T&S (individual activity)? Also, what do you mean be committee members meeting several times? Not in person I guess?--Ymblanter (talk) 15:55, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
Hello, Ymblanter. While the process will be refined and nailed down with the interim committee, my expectation would be that the cases are sent back to T&S after the group reaches consensus. And, no, not in person meetings. Even if not for the COVID-19 travel restrictions we have, I don't have budget for that. :D But online meetings. Sorry for that lack of clarity! --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 16:05, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
Tnx--Ymblanter (talk) 16:44, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
Mdennis (WMF), thank you for the post. I looked at the committee's charter, and I get the general idea, but I think it would be helpful for the community if you could briefly talk through what an appeal would like. Let's say user FooBar is blocked as a T&S office action and requests case review, and let's assume that this is indeed a case eligible for review. What does the appeal process look like, both from FooBar's perspective and the review committee's perspective? GeneralNotability (talk) 16:26, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
Hello, GeneralNotability. :) We have an idea for how it could work, but wanted to go over it with the committee before nailing it down to say this is how it WOULD work. Let's assume they think what I think is perfect and adopt it wholecloth. :) Using your theoretical, FooBar would email the appeal inbox which we're setting up which is accessible by only three people: the contractor who will be hired to support the committee (I hope; waiting for word on budget), the attorney appointed to support the committee, and the committee chair. Once the attorney appointed to support the committee confirms it is eligible for review, the contractor would respond telling FooBar that the case is going to undergo review and giving time expectations, which we hope are reasonable but won't know until we see the caseload. The Committee Chair will look at the case to see the particulars and appoint 5 members of the committee to review the case. The files will be provided to the five, who will be asked to assess against the criteria of "appropriate level of handling; appropriate collection of evidence; appropriate outcomes." They have the opportunity to talk to the assigned attorney if particulars are unclear. The review committee members assigned to the case will vote on whether to support, overturn, or return the case. If they return the case, they will review it after T&S does further work with the General Counsel or her delegate to make sure that the additional work satisfies their concerns. Once they decide, they will communicate to FooBar. If they decide to overturn FooBar's ban, Trust & Safety will enact that decision. If they decided to affirm it, FooBar will be advised. The person or people who reported FooBar will also be advised and, if the case was overturned because T&S shouldn't have handled it at all (say if a local process should have), pointed to the proper process. The Review Committee also has the option to request that a local governance process review the case, but they cannot share case files with that committee and that's a courtesy request only. They don't have the mandate to tell them to. :) That's assuming what I have in my head is what they adopt. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 16:40, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
Mdennis (WMF), thanks, that helps, and it's good to know that the workflow isn't completely set in stone at this time. Appreciate it. GeneralNotability (talk) 00:06, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
@Mdennis (WMF): Thanks very much for this, Maggie. Your work is greatly appreciated Face-smile.svg
Do you have any idea how many of these cases you expect to go to the "T&SCRC" (as I'm sure nobody will ever call it again!)? I've seen the 5 hours a week estimate on Meta, which seems quite high, given that the current number of office actions is relatively low compared to the activity of the largest WMF projects.
Additionally, could you talk some more about your plans with regard to linguistic diversity? Of course, there are plenty of excellent English speakers with non-English home wikis, but requiring a level of English sufficient to read and parse complex and potentially legal texts will obviously have implications for a linguistically diverse participation. I understand fully why this is - obviously this is a tricky problem to solve - but I was wondering if you had any further thoughts on potential solutions to it. Likewise, if there is a need to review an office action taken in respect of a case where the subject(s) of the action are non-English speakers, and have activity solely on non-English projects, how will that be conducted?
All the best, Naypta ☺ | ✉ talk page | 16:32, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
Hi, Naypta. :) We really don't know what to expect in terms of numbers of appeals, but the appeals can be lodged by those whose requests for sanctions were declined as well. (Not by those whose requests that T&S review a case were declined because they were out of T&S's scope. This is only cases that were investigated and closed without action.) Those cases are not publicly logged but make up the majority of Trust & Safety's caseloads. Trust & Safety also does have one sanction in its toolbox that is not publicly logged: event bans. So there may be more appeals than that ban list would suggest. I hope that five hours a week is higher than needed, but I also know that reading a single case can take me several hours, and I am used to them. Without attachments and links, they range from say 20-40 pages of text apiece. The language is not legal per se - once in a while - but it is long and complicated.
I'm not sure what the long-term solutions are going to be in terms of language diversity. :/ We've considered trying to simplify our reports to make them easier to process and have actually begun doing that in some ways, but since everything is under potential review, cases eligible well predate that simplification. I might have to hope that somebody has good ideas for handling that when we get to talking about the permanent process in phase 2 of the Universal Code of Conduct. Right now, "machine translation" is all I have.
With respect to non-English cases, Trust & Safety gets many. Where evidence exists in other languages, translations are routinely supplied in the case files. Where possible, these translations are provided by human beings, but sometimes machine translation is used when it can't be helped. Fortunately, we do have some volunteers who are helpful in providing limited translations on requests. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 16:47, 6 July 2020 (UTC)

It's not really clear how this new process will help. Let's say an editor is banned for a year from enwiki, without explanation of the reasons, the evidence used in this case, and so on. The banned editor can then ask for a review, but can not actually defend themselves or rebut any points made leading to the ban decision, since they don't know what these points are. So the review group will see the same one-sided case as the original T&S people. Basically, if T&S made the wrong decision based on the case documentation, then they will be able to overturn or change this; but if the case documentation itself is unfair, incomplete, biased, whatever, then the review will not solve anything. How this process is presented (or how I read it), the case reviewers are only expected to reread the case material, but not to check the actual evidence (if it is about onwiki actions) and the surrounding events, nor to contact the parties in the case. Which makes this review process in many instances just a case of window-dressing, but not actually an improvement. Fram (talk) 08:01, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

Hello, Fram. The review committee is not prevented from checking online evidence themselves - when cases cross my desk, I follow every link and look at every document = and they are certainly able to review additional information if they choose. They are not asked to because Trust & Safety invests on average a full week of a person's team in conducting each investigation. The case files are generally pretty thick. The system is created so that if the review committee feels the documentation is incomplete, they can request additional evidence, which allows them to note and call out gaps. The intention of the review is not to re-litigate but to provide a second set of eyes to the process who are still highly active community members. Every T&S Ops staff person who conducts investigations is an experienced Wikimedian, but that connection can weaken over time - certainly it has with me as my activity has struggled woefully - and asking active Wikimedians to help assess is intended to check any biases that might rise. We try to watch for that, but humans are human, and I think this can keep us well calibrated. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 11:26, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
Thanks. But the principle remains that the sanctioned user doesn't know what the sanction is based on (apart from very general terms like "harassment" or "failure to abide by the ToU" or so), and is thus extremely limited in how they can actually ask for a review? "I have been banned for some reason I don't know, and I can't imagine what this reason can have been" is basically all one can offer as defense then? While a more concrete set of accusations would allow defenses like "yes, I checked all of their contributions and deleted dozens of them for copyvio (or BLP, or being totally and utterly wrong, or...), but only after the complaints by editor X, Y and Z had been ignored", or "please check X again, that was not said or done by me but by some joe job" or ... It is good that they can look at the actual evidence and what surrounds it (though I guess that they then would need admin rights to properly investigate e.g. the quality of the deleted edits from an editor claiming harassment), but without any contact with the accused editor it still is just a rehash of the biased, lopsided process that was there in the first place. Fram (talk) 12:21, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
Fram, the degree of detail individuals receive about actions against them varies by case, as does the degree to which they are asked for input. I'm fairly sensitive to jargon, but the term "polarities" gets tossed around a lot in the trust & safety field, and it accurately describes the tension between protecting users from abusive behavior and making sure that those accused of abusive behavior are given fair treatment. We have worked to become more specific especially with warnings issued in the last year, but it is true that specifics may be withheld when the need for protection seems overwhelming. It may be that as part of phase 2 of the Universal Code of Conduct, we can find a community governance process that can finely balance those needs in a way that everybody feels is fair. The intent of this process is not so that an individual sanctioned can request such specifics, though, but only so that individuals who are sanctioned and individuals who ask for sanctions against others which they don't receive can have outcomes reviewed as to whether the action was within due process(including whether the Foundation was the proper body to evaluate), whether the evidence is comprehensive, and whether the sanctions are appropriately calibrated. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 13:10, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
Yes, but "outcomes reviewed as to whether the action was within due process(including whether the Foundation was the proper body to evaluate), whether the evidence is comprehensive, and whether the sanctions are appropriately calibrated." is all still based then on what the accuser has provided, not on what the accused has to say about this. To give an example outside of T&S, in my Arb case last year, there were multiple instances were I was accused of saying things, which were then included in the ArbCom Evidence page, only to be seen by others that I either had not said that but was quoting someone else (not to support me, but to contradict their point), or in another instance were a seemingly abusive "F off" edit summary was a) directed at myself, because b) I had made a typo, introducing an "f" where it wasn't needed, so I took the "f off". These are simple examples of things that are often most easily explained by the one making the edit, but which can only be adressed once the evidence is public. But then you need to know what you are accused off in the first place. Without this basic issue, no review board will ever be much more than an excuse to give the impression that T&S actions are appealable, when in reality they aren't (unless you get massive community pressure, which can't be a desired result). Checking whether things are "within due process", when the process itself is broken, is not helpful. Fram (talk) 13:56, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
Fram makes a compelling case. I think the T&S has demonstrated that they are willing to use secrecy as a stalking horse for avoiding scrutiny of T&S actions. --Guy Macon (talk) 14:35, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
Fram, this is starting to get into the realm of discussing a particular case which I can't do (even though it involves you). I'm sorry about that. :/ I'll note that the core issue here seems to be less whether the appeal body speaks to the accused than whether the Foundation does. This is something that we are working to calibrate in borderline cases - that is, not cases where legal risk is an issue including in protecting the privacy of the accuser. But I will note that the bulk of borderline Trust & Safety cases are not based on accuser interviews but on independent investigation of behaviors online. Requests for review do start the process but do not constrain them. It is likely that in borderline cases, we will be conducting more outreach to accused and have been doing so in recent months, but that will not be the function of this committee. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 14:40, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
Thank you. I understand that you can't and won't discuss individual cases, and I won't ask you to. I just use it as an example as it is the only case I'm really familiar with, and probably the case most people here will think about when they read about T&S and review. I'm glad to hear that more outreach to accused editors has happened recently, as that is really one of the main issues I have (apart from some very specific ones in my case which won't turn up too often probably and aren't that relevant for this discussion); both in principle, and because it turned out that independent scrutiny of the evidence and replies to it by me and the community showed that the T&S action was not appropriate or proportionate for the "crimes". In my case, not only my ban but also the distrust this caused or strengthened towards T&S / WMF could perhaps have been avoided with immediate outreach and more of a "fair process", and there was no indication that this review board would improve the chances of this happening.
This is not intended as criticism of you, and even less of the replies you give here, which were helpful and friendly. Fram (talk) 14:58, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

The requirements that a volunteer keep their participation in this process secret is, to say the least, unusual if understandable given the movement's general norms around transparency. I appreciate the ways you've attempted to balance this - mainly sharing the identities with Ombud Commission. My larger question is just how permanent is this vow of secrecy? I can certainly understand that keeping private someone else's participation shouldn't go away after the interim group work ends but can a person really not acknowledge that they were part of the group, if they choose, after their service is up? It also seems like it would be doing a disservice to whatever process the UCoC setups if this interim group couldn't share their experience and views. Thanks for your time here, it is appreciated. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 15:49, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

Hi, Barkeep49. This question makes me nervous, because I’m a bit scared of crossing the line with what I say. :D I’m a big believer in Beans. I also have to caveat that I am not a lawyer and I am not attempting to take a legal stand for the Foundation. Because our legal team is small and busy, I would need probably a few days or even weeks to get an answer from that position. :) So I'm going to do my best as a layperson involved in this work for many years. Please let me know if I’m confusing and forgive me if I either ramble or overcorrect so I don’t ramble. I’ve been known to do both. I probably can’t go into much more detail on some of these points. (Others, around bright line and borderline, I can say more.)
The basic answer is that I don’t know yet, but it may have to be forever in order to protect them, their fellow committee members, and people who are involved in cases, and here’s my rambly explanation why.
Trust & Safety systems were created to address a certain kind of situation - very clear cut cases. Nobody that I know of questions T&S's handling those cases independently; in fact, some communities (including EnWP) have requested that the Foundation deal with some materials, such as this. I've started thinking of the kinds of cases that may be criminal in nature as "bright line" cases. Not a very original term or state of the art, but it works for me. :) Then there are the cases that are clearly for communities to resolve. Edit warring, for instance. We get plenty of complaints about that kind of thing (and about article deletion or other content disputes) that we routinely revert back to communities. Sometimes we get complaints about incivility or harassment that we assess as still within community remit and also direct to community processes.
And sometimes the stuff we get is borderline. Frequently, local processes have been tried but haven't been able to do something. Sometimes the allegations are pretty serious, but may or may not cross that line and we don’t know until we review (and then once we do even if it doesn’t cross the line, it’s still pretty serious - so we do something). Generally they involve off-wiki components. Sometimes they involve organized efforts by external groups. Sometimes they take place on projects without robust self-governance. Sometimes they take place on projects with robust self-governance where members of the governance community themselves have fallen under threat and are asking for help with cases they feel they may be too biased to handle.
Our goal with this committee is to be able to share as much with experienced volunteers as possible to make sure that T&S doesn't take on borderline cases that they should not...or refuse borderline cases that they should handle, and that if they do handle borderline cases, they are doing it properly. My own goal is that the Universal Code of Conduct will create good processes so that fewer borderline cases head our way, as the team is small and busy and, in my opinion, should be primarily dedicated to the bright line stuff.
So, this lengthy preamble aside, some of the borderline cases that this committee has been designed to review may be cases that would be more than borderline had they played out for longer. For example, we've been asked to get involved in cases of threatened blackmail. There is also the possibility of litigation. People who work trust & safety have been sued as individuals. People who are not anonymous are more easily subjected to such things...and the information they know about who else was on the committee (and thus also vulnerable) and the cases the committee reviewed is less secure. Even governments have shown an interest in the inner governance workings of Wikimedia.
Our attorneys are doing everything they can to lock this committee down so that membership is known only to essential staff and so they have every legal protection possible. If you ask any member of Trust & Safety who is on this committee, they will not know. If a member of the committee reveals their membership, they may jeopardize the wellbeing of fellow committee members and others in the community. (I’m also aware that without sharing some details I’m nervous about sharing, this probably sounds very grandiose and even a bit spy-thrillerish. I’m sorry about that. :/ But there’s a reason I’ve been working to hire a Crisis Response Manager with experience in international human rights intervention. I also don't want to imply that all the cases we deal with are HUGE AND RISKY. Occasionally, they are, and I feel a responsibility to be serious about safety in case we hit such a case that may impact the people who volunteer to serve on this committee.)
The trade-off, I think, would be being far more cautious about the cases they are able to view and their ability to review them unredacted. Even then, they would likely risk potential retaliation for people accused in some of the cases they are not able to review because they do not fall within their purview. The people we investigate in “bright line” cases are not always rational. But I would be less concerned about the exposure of those who chose not to disclose.
So, again, I don’t know the answer to your question - the legal arrangement being pursued now is based, I believe, on the expectation that this material remains confidential. But I do know that these people’s experiences will be documented and considered in whatever permanent processes may follow it. We’re looking to hire a contractor who will work to support them, and that contractor will be documenting their regular meetings to discuss the functioning of the group and potential for improvement. There’s no reason those meetings can’t be summarized without case details to share with the UCoC process (or, for that matter, even publicly on Meta). In fact, we could ask the chair to post the summaries with the use of a role account if that seemed more reliable than a post by the contractor. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 17:25, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
Mdennis (WMF), this is helpful. Thank you for taking so much time to write this reply. I'll just note that my UCoC comment is less about formal minutes and more about establishing legitimacy and effectiveness of the UCoC committee when that gets going, both of which I think are essential for that project to be setup for success. But that's a down the road issue and might be better informed by the group once they have begun their work. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 17:47, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
  • I suggest CaseCom and RevCom as possible Wikipedia-friendly short names --Guerillero | Parlez Moi 20:50, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
    For me, as a native Russian speaker, revcom = revkom = Revolutionary committee--Ymblanter (talk) 20:52, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
    Where do I sign up for the RevKom? --RexxS (talk) 21:45, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
    I believe that you got automatic membership when you joined the Cabal (tinc). --Guy Macon (talk) 22:55, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Hi Maggie, above, you wrote (in relation to providing details to the accused) We have worked to become more specific especially with warnings issued in the last year, but it is true that specifics may be withheld when the need for protection seems overwhelming. Could you clarify the latter? Previous discussion seems to have indicated that only bare minimum details would be provided if the accuser had requested complete anonymity and even where there didn't appear to be any off-wiki activity (or risk of such) at all (and the accused's edits are obviously being monitored). This is in relevance to the temporary CRC and the areas it might be looking at, but it's also a likely flash point with the UCOC and ultimate instances there. In short, in cases where the need for protection isn't overwhelming, why aren't much more details being provided? - "overwhelming" seems to impose quite a high limit before evidence is restrained. I'd be concerned in an attempt to audit a case where I felt not just that information was lacking but there was a possibility it might be lacking due to disclosure rules. Nosebagbear (talk) 16:09, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
Hi, Nosebagbear. I want to be sure I'm answering your question. :) I might be misunderstanding you. When I wrote that "We have worked to become more specific especially with warnings issued in the last year, but it is true that specifics may be withheld when the need for protection seems overwhelming" I was speaking in terms of the specificity of why we are issuing warnings to the recipients of such warnings. As an example, we do not offer such evidence when we have credible belief that a person is issuing off-wiki threats to a user and especially when there is evidence this person knows where that person is. In such cases, we default to protecting the person who reaches out to us. Saying, "We know you threatened somebody" might very well trigger the threat.
The committee should be receiving case files unredacted. One potential exception here might be, say, if we have a blackmail threat based around doxxing, which we have in the past -- suppose somebody attempts to unduly influence a functionary by threatening to reveal personal information they have (or think they have - they might be wrong; it's happened) about them to influence their on-wiki actions. This is clearly a violation of our Terms of Use, but there might be circumstances that would make it fall into "borderline." In such case, I would imagine we would redact the personal information from the case file. But we have no blanket policies as yet - this is just me thinking of a case where the committee's file might be redacted. (The committee won't be reviewing bright line cases, like allegations of sexual assault at an event, so such information would not need to be shared or redacted.)
Please feel free to let me know if I missed your point, though. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 18:09, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
@Mdennis (WMF):, thank you for your response. The second half wasn't my concern but all sounds reasonable. The first half was perhaps in the right area but not specifically a response - I'll attempt to clarify. In my discussions with WMF staffers, they seem firm advocates of keeping almost all accusation information to themselves when the accuser is concerned and wants it that way. You indicate that in cases of off-wiki threats you wouldn't pass that information, which is fine. However, there's quite a big gap between the two - the staffers' viewpoint would seem to indicate that nearly all information within an accusation should be held back even were the case purely on-wiki, without indication of it "bleeding" offsite. Your phrasing suggested more information was being provided, but I wanted to ask should most information of an accusation not be provided to the accused in on-wiki cases, where there isn't evidence of the possibility of off-wiki action?. Nosebagbear (talk)
Ah, I see, Nosebagbear; yes, that's a bigger question than the committee, but a good one in terms of Trust & Safety's ongoing operations. :) Hopefully I'll answer you better. While what is shared with accused is also under the determination of legal counsel, I'd say it probably depends in part on whether the action being taken is a warning or a ban and probably also whether we ever again modify the way we handle bans (into whatever form). This gets into the slider scale of whether a case is borderline or bright line, though.
I'm going to offer context. (I've always been wordy; sorry.) This can explain why you will observe evolution of thought about this work even within staff. :) Our movement as a Foundation into borderline cases was gradual - we were created to deal with pretty intense stuff. As a result, when we first started moving into the borderline because things crossed our desk that we couldn't not do something about having seen them even though they weren't the same kind of "intense stuff", we were working with the tools and policies that we already had: study the situation, ban if appropriate, provide legal notice to the individual against whom we acted, post it on Meta, never talk about it to anybody (with a few exceptions, such as talking about enforcing the bans with the stewards). As borderline cases started appearing more and more, we tried creating new tools and policies to deal with them. These range from warning some contributors instead of just banning them to supporting a mediation function within AffCom to talking more to functionary bodies about some of the cases under review to creating the temporary bans that the community later asked us to dismantle. (I was out when that RFC happened, but I was here when the decision was made to try temporary bans, and I know why that decision was made. It was the tension of knowing what to do with allegations that were valid, where we felt a responsibility to act, but where we hoped and believed that the community members being brought to our attention could change their behaviors despite having continued the behaviors after we sent them a warning. In the past, if a person continued to generate valid complaints after a warning, we had no other tool but to ban them forever.) This committee is a new tool; it means that our bans are not necessarily forever for borderline cases. It also means our refusal to ban is not necessarily the end of the line for the many people who ask us to act and on whose requests we take no action.
I'm hopeful that the UCoC escalation pathways will make it easier for Trust & Safety to step out of the borderlands (as it were) and back into the bright line, with somebody to take over those other cases. In my opinion, "bright line" cases should never have access to information that might lead them to guess who brought them to our attention. Even if their behavior has only been on wiki, these cases are potentially too risky, and the right to safety needs to be a basic one on our sites. With the cases that may be more borderline, certainly if a user's behavior is not clearcut enough that the Foundation determines to ban them, but instead warns them, they should (imo) always have access to enough information to understand the concerns and address them, including links to on-wiki behavior that is problematic. If the Foundation does issue a ban, it will probably be case-by-case. We try to give people who are banned enough information to understand why, but by default we do not anticipate a return to the projects of such people. I imagine our practices will evolve as we start to understand how many of those people actually want to come back and perhaps as we start to understand how many of our cases are "borderline." We have not been codifying them this way in the past because this committee did not exist, but will likely ask our lawyers who provide final reviews of all cases to identify them against a framework of legal responsibility, which will allow us to property track and report how many of which kind of case we handle. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 19:37, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
As a completely distinct question, the charter reads [overturning] may result from a conclusion that the matter should have been handled at the community level. In such cases, the issue may be remanded for community review, where an appropriate body exists to review the same. Is that indicating that communities without an ARBCOM (or v.similar) will not be able to hear remanded cases? Most communities have an ANI-equivalent that handles the large majority of contestable cases. Are on-wiki cases not subject to referral to them where no ARBCOM exists, given that case files aren't being passed in any case? Nosebagbear (talk)
That's not the intention; the difference is that the committee will not reach out to the body to ask them whether they should take it on. For instance, if the committee believes a matter shouldn't have been handled by the Foundation but is still worthy of community governance, they can ask an arbitration committee or other appropriate body to look into the matter independently. Individuals have the option of seeking community pathways open to them regardless. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 19:40, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
  • At the cost of feeling self-important - but recognizing that my responses are kind of important if I'm expected to be discussing anything with anybody - I wanted to note that I have two close family birthdays coming up and am taking a long weekend. I don't guarantee I won't get bored and come online, but I'm hoping I will have some discipline and be back Monday. :) I've booked time to answer questions through the end of next week, when I have to hustle to start organizing to onboard the new committee and the contractor who will be supporting them. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 18:53, 9 July 2020 (UTC)

Maggie Dennis (WMF) I am going to ask a painfully-carefully crafted question. There's a lot that's unclear and I believe problematical, but I think the most efficient approach is to see if we can pin down what is changing in the W?F's conduct and what is not changing in the W?F's conduct. In analyzing change, we need to first identify what two things we are comparing. Let's start with a baseline of last year - 2019. More specifically the entirety of T&S's rules and processes and procedures and outcomes for how you handle cases. The comparison is the new regime once the proposed committee is deployed. I want to confirm and clarify what changes and what does not change in this proposal. Please correct me if my understanding is faulty. As I understand it:

  1. Your avenues and process for receiving complaints - little or no significant change in this stage, maybe you seek to expand awareness and/or add channels.
  2. Your investigation of cases - little or no significant change in this stage.
  3. Your evaluation of cases - little or no significant change in this stage.
  4. Outcome-decisions of those investigations - little or no significant change in this stage.
  5. Whether or not to issue warnings - little or no significant change in this stage.
  6. Issuing sanctions - little or no significant change in this stage.
  7. CHANGE: Previously there was no option to appeal, this now changes to an option to appeal to the committee.
    1. The committee may have no objections, which essentially falls back to what we had before, the sanction stands with no (further) appeal.
    2. There are some options about further investigation or changing the sanction (potentially to zero), but I think for my purposes we can say it ultimately leads to the option directly above or the option directly below.
    3. The committee says that this is a case that the W?F shouldn't have touched.
      1. On EnWiki or a similar wiki the case gets handed to arbcom or similar body. The sanction is immediately nullified(??), the W?F decides what portion of the evidence to give that body, that body decides what to make public and what to keep private in accordance with the ordinary process of that body, and that body may or may not issue its own sanction based on whatever evidence the W?F gives it and based on their own investigation.
      2. If the only "body" is to make a generic request on the Administrator's noticeboard, it is unclear whether that is how it proceeds, or whether the W?F refuses to allow any appeal in the first place, or whether the W?F allows the appeal but ignores any determination that the W?F had no business touching the case, or what.

Alsee (talk) 21:03, 9 July 2020 (UTC)

Alsee - I'm not taking as many pains with my reply, so let's hope that I am not unclear. :) It's after hours as I head into my long weekend, but I may check back, in case I leave you with unanswered questions.
We are not currently planning to change our avenues and processes for receiving complaints, and we are not currently planning major changes to our investigation, evaluation, or outcome-decisions of cases, including when to issue warnings or sanctions. (These are, however, constantly changed in calibration to the types of cases we received. We see something precedent-setting at least once a quarter.) Major changes may come from phase 2 of the Universal Code of Conduct conversations, but we aren't jumping ahead. Right now, we evaluate cases as we come to us according to our current protocols and processes and in accordance with the Board statement of May 2020.
The current change that I am here to discuss is that we are creating an appeal committee that can overturn decisions (including immediately nullifying sanctions if they overturn a decision where sanctions were issued), ratify decisions, or send a case back for further investigation and consideration. The review committee has the right to ask ArbCom or similar body to take on a case, but the Foundation will not be sharing unredacted case files. The current intention as I understand it is to allow the community bodies to investigate independently, not to share case files at all. This is why the charter says that the body to whom the case is remanded will be "(without access to Trust & Safety’s case files)." In such a case, Trust & Safety has been judged as having inappropriately involved itself and steps out altogether.
Whether there is a local body the case review committee can ask to take on the matter or not, if the committee decides to overturn a Trust & Safety sanction, that sanction is overturned. If there is no local body who the committee can ask to take on the case, the original complainant may still choose to take it up at an appropriate venue, including a local administrator's noticeboard or stewards or what have you. At that point, Trust & Safety is (as with a case where it is remanded to another body) no longer involved. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 22:24, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
Maggie Dennis (WMF) thank you for the reply. However beyond that I find it endlessly painful so often being able to perfectly predict the W?F. Your response was exactly what I anticipated. The Foundation never learns - it just comes up with increasingly complex and increasingly dishonest ways to keep trying to do the same things. Which you just confirmed.
Framban was one of the cases in 2019, you just confirmed that this entire circus is just a scheme to DO IT AGAIN, with NO CHANGE except for an illegitimate fig-leaf to try to get away with it. I believe I heard that you weren't around for Framban and the subsequent consultation. I'll do a micro-summary for context. (I know you can't get into it, and I do not expect you to respond on any such point.) Arbcom reviewed the case and threw out the Framban, confirming the Foundation SHOULDN'T HAVE GONE THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. I also believe at some point it was confirmed that the issue with Fram was limited to on-wiki activity. The community collectively reviewed ALL of Fram's diffs, with functionaries reviewing any non-public diff. That means the community is aware of all of your evidence, we just don't know exactly which of those diffs you consider to be evidence. Further investigation turned up a lot of evidence which the Foundation may not be aware of. So we have the interesting case where we know T&S's behavior was abhorrent, and T&S may not be fully aware of how badly it screwed up. The general community view is that the Foundation had no business whatsoever even touching the Fram case, that the Foundation committed a gross breach in doing so, and the most astonishing thing in the Fram case is that the Foundation managed to bake SO MANY colossal screwups all in one pie. And again, I don't expect you to comment on it. Next....
To resolve the crisis, the Foundation ran a Global Consultation to find an agreeable resolution. The outcome of that consultation was a Global Community Consensus that the Foundation had absolutely no business touching these cases. The Foundation agreed to end partial&temporary bans and to return to T&S's traditional scope of operations. It was essentially a peace treaty, and the crisis ended. Now you (meaning the Foundation) come back to us and say "We change our mind.... WE LIED... we decided to burn the peace treaty, we're going back and repeat exactly what caused the crisis in the first place".
Now, let's consider your invisible ghost-committee. There was a Global Community Consensus that T&S should return to your previous scope of operations. If your committee were composed of a reasonable and representative selection from the general community, the committee would have the same consensus as the community. That means your committee would be rejecting any expansion of T&S's scope of cases. That would be functionally the same as no committee at all and staying with your traditional scope. The Foundation obviously wouldn't deliberately do something so pointless.... which leaves only one possibility. The Foundation intends to carefully cherry-pick fringe wingnuts for the committee, who ALL reject the global community consensus. And conveniently, those wingnut selections are super-double-top-secret. When the Foundation doesn't like Consensus, a very typical pattern is for it to ignore the community and look for some fringe individuals to talk to instead. You should have enough community experience to know dang well that that we consider those committee members to have absolutely zero authority or legitimacy to rule-over or represent the community. They are canvassed-wingnuts. The lack of WMF on their username doesn't mean squat.
I think the question at this point is weather this circus is going to be enough to successfully distract enough people, or whether we're just going back to the Framban crisis with the community raging against all this again. The Foundation has absolutely no business passing judgement on content, it has no business passing judgement on our policy-evaluation of content, nor the related routine squabbles when someone is unhappy that we are "harassing" them when we reject their content, or "stalking" them when we go though their edit-history to clean up all their other crap-content, or for strong valid criticism of their crap-content or persistently-disruptive-behavior. Alsee (talk) 02:24, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
@Alsee: Some useful information at m:IRC office hours/Office hours 2020-06-04, particularly the answers to question 17 and to questions 3, 4, and 5 in the post-meeting section.
There is merit in having someone other than T&S itself helping figure out things related to the border line between ordinary enwp-specific behavioural issues (which we've concluded are outside T&S scope, and would go full civil-war over if they tried to push it) and the "severe" issues which we've delegated to T&S. (Some examples of borderline cases that were given include dealing with blackmail and off-wiki doxxing.) I am also uneasy with the structure of the planned Committee, but its establishment is not exactly the same thing as setting the treaty on fire. If T&S breaks it and tries to launch a hostile takeover, then yes, of course we should head straight to level-headedly leveling the Foundation to its foundations, but don't go to war over something that probably isn't an attack at all. --Yair rand (talk) 05:31, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
Yair rand I noticed your comments elsewhere[2] and I think you and I are in almost perfect agreement on how to "salvage" this situation. Maybe there can be progress discussing that with the board, but staff think they have a board directive to resume Frambans. There is almost zero chance staff will buy into our idea of salvaging the situation, not unless a new board statement comes down and/or they realize the house is on fire and it's impossible to proceed. Consider this: You just repeated their sales pitch that blackmail is a "borderline" case. I don't think you buy that any more than I do. Their strategy is deceptive.
  1. They want to resume Frambans
  2. They consider Frambans to be "borderline" cases
  3. Sell the line "blackmail is borderline"
  4. Get agreement for "borderline cases"
  5. Resume Frambans as "borderline"
I'd also like to point out the problem with your suggestion that we can react later, after they issue Frambans. It goes like this: T&S fires off Frambans. The invisible ghost committee of cherry-picked fringe individuals do exactly what they were picked to do - approve Frambans as in-scope with no possibility of examination or appeal. You attempt to ask what grounds T&S had for issuing the bans. They politely tell you to shut up and go away - you know damn well the reasons are double-top-secret and that you shouldn't have even tried asking. They also assert that sanctions are only issued for serious reasons, and that any further discussion might put a complainant in danger. (For all you know, any given case might have been an off-wiki attempted rape case.) Maybe they even issue T&S warning that YOU not pursue anything any further, they can't allow you to endanger complainants with your speculation or amateur sleuthing.
The fundamental conflict here is that T&S still think they were right to issue the Framban, whereas ARBCOM ruled they had no business doing so and we have a Global Community Consensus that says Frambans are out-of-scope for T&S. If Maggie Dennis (WMF) can provide clear and effective agreement from T&S that Frambans are brightline-out-of-scope, then we can probably all find a way to work this out together. So long as T&S considers Frambans a "borderline" case and they want to pursue "borderline" cases then the only option here is for us to return to open warfare. Alsee (talk) 17:47, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
@Alsee: If Maggie Dennis (WMF) can provide clear and effective agreement from T&S that Frambans are brightline-out-of-scope When making demands like these I think you should be use a term more specific than Frambans. Do you mean "Office actions taken against Fram" (the very literal meaning), "Any office actions on enwiki at all", "Office actions taken against individuals who are not banned", or something in between?  Majavah talk · edits 18:21, 11 July 2020 (UTC
Majavah we cannot have a good faith discussion while T&S is pursuing an explicitly covert agenda. They are unwilling to discuss what happened. If I attempt to offer a definition at this point in the discussion, I do not want them secretly and silently quibbling over my attempt to offer a definition, or seeking loopholes in it. ARBCOM reviewed the specifics in Framban and found that T&S should never have issued a ban in that kind of case. While T&S accept that specific ban on Fram is gone, they do not accept that they shouldn't have issued it in the first place. They want to resume issuing sanctions in equivalent cases, and this time they want to make sure ARBCOM can't review it or overturn it. If they agree that they shouldn't have pursued the Framban in the first place, if they express a good-faith intent that they are not seeking to pursue substantially equivalent cases, then we can have a good faith discussion of definitions. Then I believe we can reach an agreeable outcome. Alsee (talk) 09:10, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
@Alsee: Your comment is very difficult to parse because you seem to be conflating actions that someone has complained about (e.g. blackmail) and sanctions that result from complaints (e.g. bans). Thryduulf (talk) 19:34, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
Thryduulf the difficulty is that T&S won't discuss their grounds for the Framban. Blackmail is a type of case and type of complaint that is clearly within T&S's traditional scope for issuing sanctions. I was indirectly referring to "The type of case and type of complaints" which T&S is trying to add to their scope for issuing sanctions. The type of case and type of complaints which ARBCOM reviewed and found outside the scope for T&S issuing sanctions. I would love to be more specific, but I don't think we can have a good faith discussion on that while T&S refusing to discuss what they did and are unwilling to to agree they shouldn't have done it and unwilling to state that T&S agrees not to pursue that type of case in the future. Alsee (talk) 09:29, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
@Alsee, Yair rand, Majavah, and Thryduulf: Let me try and restate what I think this proposed setup is supposed to be, using off-wiki American legal terms:
1. Before, punishments were arbitrarily handed out by the United States district court. You could not appeal them, could not see what evidence was being held against you, and in many cases could not even know what you were being accused of, because that had the possibility of putting the accuser in danger. You simply received a ruling and a sentence, and that was that.
2. Now, we're introducing the United States circuit courts of appeals, but with a twist. The accused is allowed a lawyer, and will be told the general crime they are being accused of, but they are not given any of the evidence used in the previous ruling, are not allowed to know what actually triggered the original case, and are instead told that both sides must conduct their own investigation and manually figure out what crime actually occurred. Since this can potentially include "off-wiki activity", the scope of this investigation is "the entire Internet", up to and including private messages and conversations, which will not be provided by the district court and so the appeals court must figure out that they exist and acquire a copy of them entirely independently.
3. Should the appeals court return a ruling that overturns the district court's previous ruling, they reserve the right to come back and tell the appeals court that they didn't find all of the evidence that was involved in the first ruling and therefore their overturning is overturned. They also reserve the right to not tell anyone why this is or what it is that the appeals court failed to find.
4. The district court also reserves the right to create an arbitrary badness level for accused crimes and, once the accused crimes passes a certain badness level, the accused is no longer allowed to even exercise their option to appeal. Also, the district court reserves the right to not tell anyone what badness level takes crimes from appealable to non-appealable, because then analysts could use it to backfill what specific crimes occurred in previous cases by comparing punishments.
5. Finally, even though an equivalent to the Supreme Court of the United States does already exist (ArbCom), it is entirely up to the district and appeals court as to whether a case can be appealed to them. If either side exercises their reserved right to block an appeal, then the case cannot be appealed.
Yes, this is slightly exaggerated, and yes, I may have gotten a few things wrong. And, of course, a T&S system on an online encyclopedia is going to have less protections in place than an actual real-world legal system. That's fine. But I think you can see just how ridiculous this plan has gotten at this point. We have legal processes and protections like evidence discovery, probable cause and descriptive warrants, the right to confront witnesses and call your own witnesses, the right to know what you're being accused of, and the rights to a public and fair trial for a reason, and that's specifically so that you can't just be accused of "misc. crimes" and then thrown in prison for life with no appeal.
I mean, we still don't even know what Fram was accused of beyond "harassment", let alone who or what was affected or where the "crimes" actually happened (on-wiki, something wiki-adjacent like IRC or email, or elsewhere on the Internet unrelated to enwiki at all). All we actually know is that the crimes were bad enough that a clouded desysop was warranted but not bad enough to justify a one-year project ban or anything higher like an indef project ban or a global ban of any length. I'm not asking this because I want to know what Fram did (although obviously I'm curious), I'm asking this because nobody, not even the Foundation, can rationally set out rules for what essentially amounts to a legal system while also not being told the scope of what it's supposed to cover beyond some extremely vague and general statements. There has to be a written line in the sand that both the community and Foundation agree on where an activity goes from "referred to community dispute resolution" to "handled behind closed-doors by volunteers" and then from that to "handled behind closed-doors by the Foundation, in secret, and for the safety of the community cannot be discussed with anyone, even trusted volunteers." Until we have that written in stone, any "reform" plan like this is just going to run into the same problems it's facing here. Nathan2055talk - contribs 01:20, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
Nathan2055 hits the nail on the head. --Guy Macon (talk) 03:53, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
Why should the Wiki legal system similar to the real-life US legal system? Is this the case on other places on the web? I was last year given three warnings within the same week and then my FB account was disabled without any possibility of appeal (and remains disabled) - is that similar to the real-life law enforcement? And wikilawyering is not synonymous with anything good, and for a reason.--Ymblanter (talk) 05:53, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
Facebook is indeed similar to a real-world legal system. The one on North Korea. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:03, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
Hi, Nathan2055. I'm curious where you've gotten this impression: "Should the appeals court return a ruling that overturns the district court's previous ruling, they reserve the right to come back and tell the appeals court that they didn't find all of the evidence that was involved in the first ruling and therefore their overturning is overturned. They also reserve the right to not tell anyone why this is or what it is that the appeals court failed to find." Using your model to define the way this is intended to work, the appeals court has the right to ask the district court to bring more evidence, but there's nothing that would permit the district court to reject the appeals court's decision. If a case is not judged by Foundation attorneys to be unappealable due to its obligations as a host (and some of them are), the appeals court has the right to overturn it. Is there something in the charter that may be confusing in this regards? Or have I misunderstood your interpretation?
In terms of lack of clarity of what "crimes" are involved, I agree with you that this is too opaque. We've been working with individuals sanctioned or warned by T&S to better communicate that over past months but still struggle with how to say enough without saying too much. I'm hoping that we will get better definitions in the UCoC, both in the basic outline of acceptable behaviors and in the probably more difficult second part of the conversation, where we discuss escalation pathways.
Once escalation pathways are defined, I hope that there will be more clarity about what should go to local bodies and perhaps even a global body for projects that lack local processes and capacity for material that doesn't need to be handled by staff.
In terms of the overall thrust of appeals, one area that I think a lot of people are overlooking is that this appeals process is not just for people against whom sanctions have been issued; in the vast majority of cases that come to Trust & Safety, no action is taken. This process is to allow those people to appeal as well. And while it's true that in the interim of the UCoC completion at least, Foundation bans are intended to be appealable only through this process, "no action" cases can be brought to ArbCom or any other local body as a matter of course. Most of the time when T&S doesn't act, it's because they find behavior complained of doesn't rise to the level of warranting their action, and such cases can always be handled at the local level.
Finally, it's not our intention to step on EnWP ArbCom's toes. I've joined them for their last two meetings to talk about Trust & Safety work, and letting them know about cases that may intersect with EnWP has become a standard part of those meetings.
Sorry if I'm being less wordy than usual; after my long weekend, there's a lot in my inbox to look at. :)
Finally, I set my limits of engagement above, so I suspect that people realize this, including you, Alsee, but I will not talk to you when you are assuming that I and my staff are lying or that you know what we "want" and certainly not when you refer to the community members who are supporting this process as "wingnuts." I can handle disagreement, but slurs are not acceptable, and assumptions of bad faith and intentional deception make productive dialogue impossible. I'm still here, though, and open to hearing opinions and responding to questions within my parameters, from you, Alsee, or anyone. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 13:54, 13 July 2020 (UTC)

In the scenario that Person A complains to T&S about Person B, but it is not immediately clear whether the behaviour complained about is within the scope of T&S action or not, presumably T&S take a more detailed look and start collecting evidence in case it is? However after a bit of investigation it becomes clear that while there is behaviour that needs addressing, it is not within the scope of T&S to handle and/or it can and would be better handled by ArbCom. What happens then? Does Person A get told that no action is being taken (and why?) but they are free to ask ArbCom or will it be handed to arbcom directly? What from the investigation will be shared with Arbcom? With person B? Thryduulf (talk) 22:22, 13 July 2020 (UTC)

Hi, Thryduulf. In that case, Person A is told that no action is being taken and why. People are given information about community avenues they can pursue. We do not share any information with ArbCom, including that a case was requested; any investigation they may choose to pursue (or any other body, for the projects where ArbComs do not exist) is conducted independently under their own processes if they are contacted by Person A. Person B is notified if necessary as part of the investigation the nature of allegations. For instance, I can think of several cases where such persons have been spoken to about alleged conduct issues in event spaces to get their perspectives which have ended with cases being closed without action or finding of fault. It's not our current practice to inform people when case requests about them are rejected, although I suppose that's something we could consider as part of phase two of UCoC. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 15:27, 14 July 2020 (UTC)
Thank you. If Person B is contacted as part of the investigation I would hope they are told when the investigation is concluded and that no action is being taken against them (assuming that is true) - even if more detail cannot be shared. Thryduulf (talk) 15:40, 14 July 2020 (UTC)
Oh, yes, sorry, Thryduulf. :) I didn't mean to imply that if a person is contacted and a case closed without action, they wouldn't be let to know. It's more that quite often outreach never needs to happen in the first place after a review of the evidence. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 17:43, 14 July 2020 (UTC)

Fundraising banner testing starting next week

Starting July 8, for users in the US, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Ireland, the WMF will be beginning fundraising tests for "1-3 hours, one to several times a week" in preparation for the 2020 fundraiser, which starts in these countries at the end of November. (Source: m:Special:Diff/20231683/m:Special:Diff/20231701.) --Yair rand (talk) 01:33, 1 July 2020 (UTC)

Any chance of being a bit less cryptic? Does you mean some of us in those countries will see dummy banners or what? Is there any way I can opt out of the entire process, including seeing the real things come November? - Sitush (talk) 19:45, 1 July 2020 (UTC)
@Sitush: If I correctly understand how this works, they'll be showing the regular fundraising banners for brief periods for some users in those countries. You can opt out by checking "Suppress display of fundraiser banners" at Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-gadgets. --Yair rand (talk) 19:48, 1 July 2020 (UTC)
@Yair rand: just to note that if logged in, opting out isn't necessary. We don't show fundraising banners to logged users and haven't for.... maybe 7-8 years? That gadget has been redundant for some time. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 19:52, 1 July 2020 (UTC)
Facepalm! I didn’t know that. Thanks Seddon (W?F). Pelagicmessages ) Z – (23:26 Sat 04, AEST) 13:26, 4 July 2020 (UTC)
@Sitush: - Yair_rand pretty much covered the basics and I'll post a formal notice tomorrow. We run fundraising banner tests through the summer every year. Initially these occur once a week, typically on a Wednesday for a few hours. Later in the year, as we get closer to the fundraiser this increases in frequency to a couple of times a week, changing to different days and sometimes over weekends. These tests enable up to evaluate both infrastructure, enable us to see whether there have been any changes in how our readers view our content and trial new concepts. As I mentioned above, fundraising banners aren't shown to logged in users, so if you stay logged in you shouldn't have any disruption to your work on the projects. There are limitations to that and want to recognise that, especially with multiple browsers, privacy modes or using multiple devices. We don't track you across devices or browsers so it makes it difficult to suppress it everywhere for volunteer editors. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 20:15, 1 July 2020 (UTC)
Lovely. Thanks to all for clarifying. - Sitush (talk) 20:26, 1 July 2020 (UTC)
@Seddon (WMF): There doesn't appear to be a feedback link on the fundraising advertisements.
There seems to be a scaling problem; the first ad I saw (while viewing Pyramid of Capitalist System, no less) took up the majority of my screen, with text much larger than what's displayed in the article. When I refreshed the page, I saw a smaller, but even more obtrusive ad in the middle of the article. I checked the edit history, but couldn't find the editor that added this.
There's also no feedback link on the FAQ page, nor is there a link to give feedback about the FAQ. When I donate to a nonprofit, I like to get an idea of what my money's actually going to. The FAQ doesn't make it clear whether donations made through the banner on Wikipedia will go to supporting Wikipedia, or any of the other projects listed on the FAQ, or how the money is allocated in general. Maybe I just didn't see it - it seemed a strange omission from an organization built around transparency and access to information. 2601:194:300:130:29F2:3B8B:B437:96E0 (talk) 15:41, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
Hey IP! @2601:194:300:130:29F2:3B8B:B437:96E0:. I'm not sure if you'll get the ping or see this response but you ask some totally valid questions so I'll leave a response here anyway just in case. On the FAQ we provide the email address throughout the page 1 2 3 4. This is the same email address we also provide on the problems donating page 1 2 34. Both of these pages are linked to in the banner. We also link to our Contact Us page from the FAQ where the email address. So with all that, the general idea is email that address. We have been asked in the past and internally talked about putting the email address in the banner but the amount of spam that would generate would overwhelm our donor response team. That team is already dealing with tens of thousands of emails, in fact it might be more than 100k emails a year. Increasing the noise would put the team under excessive strain and reduce the experience donors receive.
The FAQ provides information on what Wikipedia is, what the Wikimedia Foundation is, what the other projects we support are, annual plans and reports and the work of the Wikimedia strategy that details the goals we hope to achieve in the future.
The trouble we face is that even with all that, only the surface of the work that's supported is covered. The best we can do is to point to all of the different resources that exist describing out work. But an FAQ is never going to be able to capture all that. At least without making it even more difficult to surface stuff than it already is.
I'm not sure when the next review of the FAQ is but I'll make a note of your message and see if we can make some improvements without overwhelming users or the donor response team. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 18:02, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
@Seddon (WMF): Since you're pointing potential donors to the FAQ, could you specify in the FAQ that volunteer contributors, who add almost all the content the readers sees, do not receive funding and that the award of grants is also out of the hands of those volunteers? While the FAQ states the facts about volunteers at the top, the portions you linked to above are a bit nebulous on what that money actually does "sustain free knowledge through Wikipedia", intoning that W?F provides help to editors "grants to volunteer contributors", making no mention of the slush fund endowment W?F is trying to build. Chris Troutman (talk) 18:18, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
@Chris troutman: Re "the award of grants is also out of the hands of those volunteers". While the WMF seized control of the APGs in 2018 ("temporarily"), I'm pretty sure volunteers still run the project grants. (Also the SAPGs, IIRC.) --Yair rand (talk) 18:49, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
@Yair rand: I stand corrected; I've struck my comment accordingly. Chris Troutman (talk) 21:25, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
Two completely different things. On the one hand we have volunteer contributors; those of us who volunteer our time without any pay to create and edit Wikipedia, Wictionary, etc. On the other hand we have those who are described at meta:Grants:Project/Committee/Eligibility. They may volunteer to be on the committee but they are by no means what most people think of when they read the words "project volunteers".
Is anyone here willing to make a case that the claim "The same people dishing out Wikimedia's millions of dollars in grants are directly benefiting from them." from [3] is no longer true? What percentage of the Project Grants Committee are former or current project members? Does anyone seriously dispute the claim that "Many everyday Wikipedians are concerned about whether WMF still exists to serve Wikipedia, or vice versa"? --Guy Macon (talk) 23:45, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
In the WMF jargon for internal use, we are described as "unorganized volunteers".--Ymblanter (talk) 10:31, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
There has got to be a great joke about us being disorganized in there somewhere, but my efforts today all seem to be duds --Guy Macon (talk) 01:13, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
Why are you asking for money yet again only a few months after the last time? It gives out the

impression that my money is wasted. What happened to the Wiki endowment that promised not to need fundraising drives anymore? 2A01:4C8:53:C538:A30:5DE7:A616:17F5 (talk) 15:12, 15 July 2020 (UTC)

New "Wikipedia Article of the Week" designation

The official Wikipedia Twitter apparently designated What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July? as "our first-ever Wikipedia Article of the Week" July 3, and it got a big spike in pageviews, which is nice given it's a worthy subject. However, I do not see any indication on the talk page of any notice to the community that the page was about to be designated as such. It would have been appreciated if the social media team had given us at least a heads up so that interested editors could have reviewed the page to make sure it was in good condition. Also, we already have a variety of processes that potentially overlap such as WP:TFA — while I can see some use for a designation that recognizes important articles not yet at FA status, to just launch that without seemingly any community involvement in choosing/monitoring/promoting/etc. the designated article comes across a bit as the WMF trying to replicate something we're already doing. If there are going to be more Wikipedia Articles of the Week in the future, could the social media team try to integrate a little more? {{u|Sdkb}}talk 06:42, 9 July 2020 (UTC)

  • Article of the Week seems a stupid idea but if it is to happen then I hope they're not all going to be English-language ones: enough accusations of systemic bias without adding another. Tbh, I suspect it is more a virtue signalling thing, knowing the W?F mentality. - Sitush (talk) 07:09, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
  • It would be nice to have a list or template or something to make sure these articles are watched, given the huge spike in page views. According to meta:Social media the person responsible is Ed Erhart (WMF)/The ed17, so pinging them. But we could also probably manage this ourselves if a few people kept an eye on the twitter account. – Joe (talk) 08:12, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Completely pointless idea, unless they're intending to replace TFA, in which case it's an excellent one. But, yeah, as Sitush suggests, I suspect it's just WMF bandwagoning current events for their own image. ——Serial # 08:38, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Pretty sure this is just a "This is the article, from Wikipedia, which we will highlight this week". And not "Wikipedia chose this to be the Wikipedia™'s Official Article of the Week". Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 13:04, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
    Unfortunately, our average reader doesn't know the difference. CaptainEek Edits Ho Cap'n! 22:20, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
  • TIL Wikipedia has a Twitter account, and TIL that Twitter account has created a separate version of TFA. While I don't exactly have a problem with them (I assume the Twitter account is being run by someone at the W?F) doing that, I am interested to know if there's any criteria for such articles or if they're choosing them purely based on current events. TFA is a good idea because it highlights articles which have passed the rigorous quality control of the FA system, What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July? is a C-class article that none of us on-wiki were even told had been promoted. I don't have a problem with that article or even the idea of highlighting non-featured articles, but there needs to be some kind of quality control beyond a Foundation staffer just picking one to tweet out. Nathan2055talk - contribs 21:36, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
  • It would be nice for the foundation to give us some advance warning, like a queue that goes a week out so that we can clean them up, or flag entirely unsuitable ones. CaptainEek Edits Ho Cap'n! 22:21, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Is there any way in which the re-use of the article contravenes terms of use? If not, we have no reason to complain. Whether it was a tactful or even well-advised action is not our problem. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 13:01, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
  • This seems like an okay idea to me as this and TFA appear to serve different purposes: TFA is for featured articles, while this is for articles relevante for current events. I don’t think  we should be treating this as some sort of threat to WP on the order of the Fram ban. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 13:48, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Does Wikipedia (in whatever language) get advance notice of the Article of the Week? That might allow Wikipedians to check the article and clean it up, thus presenting everyone in a better light. I appreciate that such notice may be short if it's in reaction to current events. Certes (talk) 14:33, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Agree that advance notice would be nice, but ultimately I see no problem with WMF social media highlighting a timely article for a week. I don't see how it could be construed as competing with TFA, as the primary features of the latter are its placement on the main page and being a FA. This just seems like "here's a timely article you may not have seen". If I had been involved in writing the article, I'd be happy to see the traffic (but, again, advance notice would be good). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 14:57, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
  • If the title is anything to go by - the week - it isn't that urgent. We deal with the current event sort of thing through the WP:ITN process. And I still think the WMF would need to be careful about WP:SYSTEMIC. - Sitush (talk) 15:03, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
  • This seems functionally equivalent to when a Google doodle links to one of our articles, and Google doesn't give us advance notice or use only featured articles. It would be nice if the twitter account making the designation was labeled WMF and the title was "Wikimedia Foundation Article of the Week" to avoid reader confusion. (talk) 16:07, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
    Why should it be? I don't think the world needs to be dragged into wiki-politics. They highlighted an interesting article. As a separate thought, I think it'd be interesting to develop a little script which automatically features the WP:TFAs onto the @Wikipedia Twitter, or give the community some control to feature articles too, but this section seems like a bit of an overexaggeration for something that isn't much of a problem. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 18:31, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
  • It would have been nice if they had asked the volunteer community what we thought of this and collaborated with us; I think we should vote democratically for the article of the week rather than just ?one person picking it. Disappointed but not surprised. Acather96 (click here to contact me) 09:01, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Featured article of the day isn't democratic. As long as the person running the account has a reasonable ability to access the quality of what they are linking to letting them get on with it is the most productive approach.©Geni (talk) 21:26, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
  • This is a teachable moment for the foundation: when you do something like this, communicate with the editors first. I'm a bit disappointed, I would have thought that lesson had been learned by now. The "Wikipedia article of the week" (less capitals please) tweets are an okay idea, if the social media team indicates which article it's going to be two days in advance for future picks. PJvanMill)talk( 14:08, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Well its been more than a week and there hasn't been another one. So it being a one off appears to be a reasonable conclusion. Either way pretty harmless.©Geni (talk) 21:26, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
  • I have no objection to the WMF picking an article they find interesting and plugging that on social media (though a rotation of languages would be cool). However, a few days notice would seem to be win-win: they get a better article to point to, we don't get a deluge of coverage onto a potentially fatally flawed article. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:03, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Hello all: We have updated the Meta social media page to reflect a recent reorganization within the Foundation's Communications department, and I will be the primary contact for Wikipedia and Wikimedia social media questions going forward.
In response to the questions raised above, the "Article of the Week" is not an official designation. It is simply a timely Wikipedia article that we are calling attention to on social media. Its objective is to connect Wikipedia content to current events, engage our current followers, and bring in new followers. It does not replace or replicate TFA. Also, we will be sharing articles from all language Wikipedias.
I appreciate the interest in the Article of the Week. Going forward, every week, I will share the selected article on Meta here for your awareness. I’ll do my best to share the article at least 12 hours in advance of posting it to the Wikipedia social accounts. We will be sharing articles from all language Wikipedias.
You’re welcome to submit any articles you'd like to see on these channels via the process described on Meta. While I cannot promise that we will post everything that is submitted, we will do our best to respond to each submission. AJohnson (WMF) (talk) 22:52, 14 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Thank you for the helpful response. I'm looking forward to seeing what articles get posted in the coming weeks. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 16:01, 15 July 2020 (UTC)
  • This is a helpful response, Thank you for providing mechanisms for both community notification and community input. (talk) 17:37, 15 July 2020 (UTC)

Launch of the Diff blog

I learned today that the foundation has launched a new blog and is inviting editors to join and submit content. You can read more about it from the welcome post. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 16:50, 17 July 2020 (UTC)

And this suggests they would welcome volunteer participation in the editorial board.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:01, 17 July 2020 (UTC)

Branding event - 16 June

The rebranding team has Announced naming convention proposal discussions starting 16 June. Two proposals will centered on Wikipedia, one will be a Wiki/Wikipedia hybrid, plus an open response area to suggest other naming proposals. A live presentation is planned on 16 June at 15:00 UTC, via youtube. There will be two weeks of feedback to help remove, refine and recombine elements from the proposals into a single, synthesized proposal.

Note: The community-initiated RFC[4] "Is it acceptable for the Foundation to use the name Wikipedia to refer to itself?" has over 90% opposition. There seems to be some question by staff whether this RFC has any relevance to the upcoming proposals.

Anyone is welcome to steal or adapt my question during the live discussion: Given the overwhelming level of opposition to a Wikipedia-based re-branding, it is easy to foresee this may become an issue in the next Board of Trustees election. Has your risk analysis considered the cost and impact of a rebranding rollback by the new Board of Trustees? Alsee (talk) 16:47, 5 June 2020 (UTC)

Lol at "next Board of Trustees election". You really think "as soon as practicable" translates as something other than "when you pry it from my cold dead fingers"? ‑ Iridescent 17:01, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
Now we only have three community trustees, and only two of them are eligible to run again, and only because they have given themselves a third term earlier. I am not sure either of them wants to run again though.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:18, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
But whether or not they want to run again is moot because they quietly cancelled the election and voted to keep themselves in office…17:56, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
To be fair, they abstained from voting, but, yes, the term is effectively extended by a year. However, the resolution does not say that they are prohibited from running for the third term (after this one year).--Ymblanter (talk) 18:05, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
Not surprising that they cited COVID-19 as justification for this democratic backsliding. Doesn’t make as much sense as, say, postponing the Olympics, simply because this is a website and the Board election might actually see increased turnout due to people being stuck at home. The WMF has a lot of money[citation needed], and I'm sure they would be able to put together a Board election if they weren't so busy stomping on the community per usual. Of course, China recently tried to ban Hong Kong’s Tiananmen Square massacre memorial vigil for a similar reason — so if this Wikimedia→Wikipedia renaming goes through, then there's only one thing left to say...pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 22:04, 6 June 2020 (UTC)
Concerning the "community feedback", I think we should go there and remind them that the community discussion already happened,. and the result was an overwhelming no.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:20, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
Ymblanter, Ha! Fair point. Guy (help!) 22:07, 6 June 2020 (UTC)
  • The way en.wp works has always seemed a little magical to me ... though that may just be because I lack the skill sets and data sets to understand it properly. But I'm pretty sure that if you added a lot of the wrong kind of editors to the mix, things would go downhill fast ... I mean editors whose interests and skill sets aren't relevant to encyclopedia-building. So I can understand why this proposal is rattling a lot of people ... and with everything that's going on in the world right now, why anyone would think it's a good idea to accelerate the timetable on rebranding is beyond me. Still, I don't want to prejudge it ... if we can get a preview of what's coming on June 16, great, and if not, I guess I'll wait and see what they have to say. Thx for posting this, Alsee. - Dank (push to talk) 17:44, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
    • Inserted later: when I wrote about people without the relevant interests and skill sets, I wasn't targeting any person or group in particular (though now I see that it might have looked that way). I meant that if you start using the word "Wikipedia" to refer to any individual or group that wants to think of themselves as "Wikipedia", then it may confuse people about what's expected on the encyclopedias. Ideals like reliable sourcing and neutrality and verifiability are often unenforced or sporadically enforced elsewhere. - Dank (push to talk) 19:29, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
  • The YouTube presentation linked above starts in two minutes. - Dank (push to talk) 14:58, 16 June 2020 (UTC)
    And all three proposals are "Wikipedia". This is, to be honest, ridiculous.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:30, 16 June 2020 (UTC)
    So the WMF is just pretending what is possibly the most overwhelming majority for anything in its entire history never happened? Ridiculous doesn't even begin to describe it. ‑ Iridescent 19:05, 16 June 2020 (UTC)
    (edit conflict) The problem there is that the rebranding project was set up solely to examine alternatives to "Wikimedia". It's not even in their remit to consider keeping the status quo. I've now asked if they will commit to a run-off survey between the winner of the 3-option survey and "Wikimedia". If they are so sure of the benefit of change, it should be simple for them to provide the convincing reasons for it. --RexxS (talk) 19:06, 16 June 2020 (UTC)

Active WMF naming discussions

(Moved from below, but still relevant. --Mdaniels5757 (talk) 16:36, 17 June 2020 (UTC))

Hi. As you may be aware, the WMF has proposed three options for renaming of the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia Movement. For reference, the three proposed names for the Wikimedia Foundation are "Wikipedia Network Trust", "Wikipedia Organization", and "Wikipedia Foundation"; the three proposed names for the Wikimedia Movement are "Wikipedia Network", "Wikipedia Movement", and "Wiki". Full details are available at subpages of m:Communications/Wikimedia brands/2030 movement brand project/Naming convention proposals.

There are a few things you can do to make your opinion heard:

I know that's a lot, but I think the WMF needs to hear the community loud and clear on this. Best, --Mdaniels5757 (talk) 16:23, 17 June 2020 (UTC)

Look up. ‑ Iridescent 16:25, 17 June 2020 (UTC)
I saw that :). I thought it would be prudent to link to current action items. Moving it up. --Mdaniels5757 (talk) 16:36, 17 June 2020 (UTC)
  • As you may be aware, -- How would I? Que pasa? -DePiep (talk) 21:40, 28 June 2020 (UTC)

An uninformed question

I haven't been following the rebranding discussion closely, so I'll apologize for making someone repeat or link to something that's probably been explained a dozen times—but having read the above, I have to ask, why is there any need or desire to rebrand anything? Newyorkbrad (talk) 16:56, 17 June 2020 (UTC)

The reason most often cited is that external parties do not know what Wikimedia is and confuse it with Wikipedia anyway.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:25, 17 June 2020 (UTC)
Thank you. That much I understand, but I guess my question should have been why is this being pursued given the feedback so far? Newyorkbrad (talk) 17:42, 17 June 2020 (UTC)
The official WMF (or should that be WPF?) dogma is Since 2003, we have used the term “Wikimedia” to refer to this movement. However, after 15 years, the name “Wikimedia” remains unknown and confusing to the outside world. This makes it an ineffective tool for explaining who we are, demonstrating the impact of our work, and inviting new people in. By contrast, Wikipedia is globally-recognized, but it is not widely understood as part of a larger ecosystem of projects and communities. if you want chapter-and-verse. Regarding "why is this being pursued given the feedback so far?", it's surely no surprise to you that the WMF consider themselves infalliable and genuinely believe that when their opinions are at odds with reality it must be reality that's wrong? The cynic in me feels obliged to point out that there are lucrative consultancy fees to be made in rebranding whereas maintaining the status quo doesn't provide any opportunity for someone to get rich on donor funds. ‑ Iridescent 17:47, 17 June 2020 (UTC)
The obvious reason is that there are people whose jobs depend on doing the busywork caused by rebranding. If we don't rebrand then there will be nothing for them to do. Phil Bridger (talk) 18:43, 17 June 2020 (UTC)
@Phil Bridger: It's the broken window fallacy all over again. - Alexis Jazz 08:39, 22 July 2020 (UTC)

Why do we oppose this branding proposal

It is probably good to summarize here the opposition argument. What I do below are not necessarily my arguments (though I agree with all of them to some extent) but what I have seen in numerous discussions, mainly on Meta and on wikimedia-l, but not exclusively. Please add whatever you feel necessary.--Ymblanter (talk) 07:42, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

In short: The rebranding is not needed. If the rebranding is needed for some reasons what have not been communicated to the community (for example, legal issues, which were not important for 13 years but suddently became important) the new name should not be the Wikipedia Foundation or similar.--Ymblanter (talk) 07:42, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

  1. Wikipedia foundation makes a false impression that WMF deals with the content of Wikipedia. In fact, communities create the content and deal with it.--Ymblanter (talk) 07:42, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
  2. The rebranding is not needed. The complaints that the brand "Wikipmedia" is unknown are not justified because nobody ever tried to advertise and market this brand.--Ymblanter (talk) 07:42, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
    @Ymblanter: I think you mean 'the brand "Wikimedia" is unknown'. --RexxS (talk) 16:41, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
    Indeed, thanks for catching--Ymblanter (talk) 16:57, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
  3. There is a feeling in the community that WMF wants to sell the things they have not created and they do not own (identity theft).--Ymblanter (talk) 07:42, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
  4. WMF projects not only include Wikipedia but also other projects some of which are large and relatively successful. Rebranding to Wikipedia will alienate them.--Ymblanter (talk) 07:42, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
  5. (my adds from here) Having every site branded "Wikipedia" will cause an influx of inappropriate complaints at the Village Pumps, Help Desks and Talk:Main Page of the individual Wikipedias, since readers who've spotted a copyright violation on Commons, a mistranslation on Wikisource and so on, will quite reasonably assume that Wikipedia is the correct place to raise issues about the content of "Wikipedia". That will in turn actively damage editor recruitment and reinforce the public stereotype that Wikipedia is incomprehensible to all but a hardcore of insiders; the people raising concerns, who under normal circumstances would be prime candidates for recruitment (many if not most people got their start here when they came to fix an error), will be greeted by some variant of "Sorry, this is Wikipedia and we can't help with enquiries about Wikipedia, you'll need to ask at Wikipedia instead of Wikipedia".
  6. Use of the same name and branding throughout has a strong likelihood of compromising Wikipedia's hard-won reputation for neutrality, sourcing, and conciseness. Search engine queries will regularly take people to "Wikipedia" pages from the former Wikivoyage which are obviously based on personal opinion, to pages from the former Commons which present obviously contentious material without enough text to provide a context, to pages from the former Wikisource that cut-and-paste entire texts, and readers will reasonably assume that Wikipedia has relaxed its quality standards and is now taking an "anything goes" approach as it won't be clear that these are different sites with different purposes.
  7. The proposal that includes the term "Wiki" on its own will cause bad feeling among non-WMF wikis who will feel we're trying to assert dominance over the entire sector, and will make it even harder to explain to readers that we're not responsible for the content of those wikis (in particular Wikia).
  8. A similar problem with "Movement", which will cause people to reasonably assume that the sites are entirely independent bodies which share a similar aim (c.f. Black Lives Matter movement, Impressionist movement, Anti-war movement, Evangelical movement…) rather than aspects of a single entity, and that any home-made wiki can call itself part of the "Wikipedia Movement". ‑ Iridescent 08:41, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
    re: #4/5 @Iridescent and Ymblanter, I had read around the time of the community survey that there was no intention to rebrand the sibling projects, that this was just about renaming the Foundation. I'd be curious where you read otherwise. czar 21:08, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
    Sure, but as an active Wikivoyage user I would not expect anything good from the Wikipedia Foundation (not that the Wikimedia Foundation is doing much either).--Ymblanter (talk) 21:16, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
    @Czar: centering our brands on Wikipedia is literally from the first sentence of the Executive Statement. It's not something we've just plucked out of the air, nor is the alternative (that what the WMF have in mind is e.g. "Wikimedia Commons by Wikipedia") credible. (Yes, Facebook and Google do that with Instagram and YouTube, but that's because Facebook and Google are toxic brands and they're intentionally dissociating their products from their ownership, quite the opposite of what the WMF envisages.) ‑ Iridescent 2 19:21, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
    I'm reading #4/5 above as explicitly saying sister projects will be rebranded when the Executive Statement and everything else I've read (e.g., FAQ) suggests that it's solely "Wikimedia" to "Wikipedia" (i.e., centering our [Wikimedia] brands on Wikipedia—the WM orgs and WM Commons; not "Wikisource" to "Wikipedia Source"). If the argument is that the WMF could suggest rebranding sister projects or that their stated intentions are untrustworthy or that they were advantageously vague in their Exec Statement, that's fine/reasonable but different from how the sister project rebrand is written above as fact. czar 20:06, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
    No, I do not think at this point anyone is seriously suggesting rebranding any sister projects.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:32, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
    @Ymblanter, Iridescent, and Czar: I know I'm reviving an old thread here, but I do feel like it's worth noting that not only has the WMF advocated rebranding sister projects, they actively want to fold as many as possible into Wikipedia itself. That screencap is taken directly from this 2019 WMF-produced strategy PowerPoint, which also contains this slide which I think finally actually explains the end goal of all of this: they want to compete with Google and Facebook, two massive for-profit companies, despite ostensibly being a non-profit. I don't think I need to explain why that's a terrible idea in every conceivable way. Nathan2055talk - contribs 22:48, 30 June 2020 (UTC)

End of the circus

Well, now we got a very clear statement by Heather Walls that the rebrtanding will happen does not matter what we are thinking about it meta:Communications/Wikimedia brands/2030 movement brand project/Executive statement. I am afraid the only option we have is to open an RfC stating that we do not recognize the rebranding including banning of all User (WPF) accounts and taking down the fundraising banners which aim to get funding for WPF (can we do it technically?). --Ymblanter (talk) 19:45, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

And I understand that people need to get salary, to feed their families etc, but a person responsible for this happening must be idenbtified and, well, evaluated whether they fit their job.--Ymblanter (talk) 19:49, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
If this goes through I will seriously consider whether I should continue contributing here. I can easily spend all my free time elsewhere.--Ymblanter (talk) 19:49, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
I strongly suspect that things are going to look different soon, actually. The Board seems to think that they just asked the WMF to look into branding issues together with the community, and the WMF thinks the Board told them to implement a change to "Wikipedia" regardless of community opinion. (The liaisons' understanding seems to match the Board's, strangely.) I'd wait until things resolve before planning any drastic steps. --Yair rand (talk) 19:51, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
I can give them a benefit of the doubt, but if we do not get a clear Board statement acknowledging that the rebranding is not going through, on a scale of a week, I think we should proceed.--Ymblanter (talk) 19:54, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
I'd give it more than a week. Some quotes: "I definitely support us exploring the options. I believe that the survey is meant to find out which of the NEW pathways are most desirable, and not to make a final decision about the outcome, and as such it makes sense that it does not include the status quo (as it is not an alternative). ... Once there is a solid proposal it'll make sense to discuss if it is better than the existing naming convention, AFAIK." - Pundit, yesterday. "[W]hat I wouldn't support, is either of these options: "There was an RfC and people expressed significant opposition, so we should immediately drop the whole concept rather than explore more deeply to see if there is a solution that works for people" nor "There was an RfC and people expressed significant opposition, so we ram it through regardless."" - Jimbo, today. --Yair rand (talk) 19:57, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
I think it is pretty clear that in some other situation running a survey could have made sense, but now it obviously does not. Whatever the survey results could give, it is not going to be accepted by the community. Then there is no need to wait until 30 June, and the Board can convene tomorrow - they do not (and can not) convene physically anyway. I do not see why they should wait longer than a week risking negative publicity. I already had my son asking me today whether I know anything about rebranding, and not that I am discussing Wikmedia issues with him on a regular basis.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:06, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
Just to make sure nobody misses the point of the message, since the message buries the lead:

We should have been clearer: a rebrand will happen. This has already been decided by the Board. The place where we seek consultation and input is on what an optimal rebrand looks like, and what the path to get there will be.

--Izno (talk) 20:00, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
I agree with the sentiments expressed above. Wikipedia is an incredibly important project and we must safeguard its long-term viability. We should think carefully about what organisation(s) we want to partner with as a volunteer community to run it. When the community started the WMF, did we ever anticipate them writing sentences like this:

"when community discussions began to sway toward attempting to prevent a rebrand, we failed in clearly and consistently responding that a rebrand itself was not up for debate. "

Does this sound like an organisation we can trust with the long-term viability of this project? At least they are being more brazen than they've been previously, and no longer hide their contempt for volunteer communities' autonomy. The latest meta straw-poll has virtually universal opposition to their plans, and the over 500-strong RFC was a landslide. When community discussions 'began to sway toward attempting to prevent a rebrand' (itself an understatement), they should have realised they made a mistake - not ploughed on whilst pretending nothing was decided. If the only leverage they are willing to grant us is to consider measures such as restricting/removing fundraising banners etc., then so be it. Acather96 (click here to contact me) 21:13, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
They can rebrand the Wikimedia Foundation / Wikimedia Movement / MediaWiki to a million things and that would be fine. WikiMovement Foundation would be good. Free Knowledge Foundation would be good (or something similar, like WikiKnowledge Foundation since FKF is already a thing). The only thing that is not acceptable is rebranding to Wikipedia anything. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 21:48, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
That. As far as I'm concerned the WMF can rebrand to whatever they like (Jimmy can hand over the "Wikia" name and trademarks and they can just use that as far as I care); what they can't do is call non-Wikipedia sites "Wikipedia". I honestly don't think they (or their expensive management consultants) appreciate just how raw a nerve this is; if they stick to their guns I wouldn't be surprised if at minimum Commons and Wikidata fork and resign en masse rather than accept being ordered to refer to themselves as subsidiary to Wikipedia. ‑ Iridescent 22:07, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
So far it looks like neither Commons nor Wikidata care. Communities who somewhat care are either from large Wikipedias (en, de, nl, it, haven not yet seen fr or es), or small project (I am myself a Wikivoyage admin and I know that we are tolerated on the servers but to get even crucial programming work done by WMF is impossible).--Ymblanter (talk) 17:40, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
  • The 2019 Community Wishlist closed in November 2018. A year and a half later, of the ten chosen suggestions, three have been completed. Five have not yet even been started. The 2020 Community Wishlist closed more than six months ago. Only a single proposal has even been started at all. None have been completed.
But it's good to know that the Foundation has apparently spent five years on branding. GMGtalk 15:08, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Depiction of Wikipedia Foundation Wikimedia Foundation destroying Wikipedia with the Fram ban, VisualEditor, and the 2020 rebrand instead of making obvious but boring improvements to what we have. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 19:52, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
    Friendly reminder that this is coming from the same people that thought "Wikipedia Forever" was a good fundraising slogan. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 19:52, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
  • It is disappointing. The three naming convention options don't make sense. The third naming option: "Wiki..." on an email on 7 May, a brand project representative clearly wrote that "Wiki" naming convention is going to be difficult for legal and other reasons. It is also noted briefly in the survey. I am quite sure that the third option is a dead-end, and it is not going anywhere. Then you have 2 options. That's it. Wikipedia network, and Wikipedia movement – the two options. They "know" the end point. Actually after the executive statement, it is pretty clear that they "knew" the end point. The decision was followed by a discussion, a long RfC process, etc. The RfC was called Should the Foundation call itself Wikipedia. As some of you have pointed out "when community discussions began to sway toward attempting to prevent a rebrand, we failed in clearly and consistently responding that a rebrand itself was not up for debate" is a horrible statement. It clearly states that they thought that the community would love and welcome the idea, and they could show that as a democratic, consensus-based process. It didn't work.
    I am wondering what made them to post this Executive Statement all of a sudden? Is it really an apology or just a step of the plan? --Titodutta (talk) 17:17, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I added a link to the survey on Template:Cent - spread it everywhere. In the medium term, maybe we should hold a RFC where the question is a no-confidence motion on the WMF. Depending on consensus, there are avenues for external escalation if the WMF still doesn't change. MER-C 18:29, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
    The board statement should be out today or tomorrow. We need to wait until it is out. So far, people started to appreciate that this is not just a handful of particularly vocal users, but that the opposition to the decision and to the way it was communicated is so significant that it can not go through.--Ymblanter (talk) 19:13, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
    In the meanwhile, I am keeping this at my uner page. When the decision has been reversed and ideally apologies issued I will take it down.--Ymblanter (talk) 19:15, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
@MER-C: All due respect, but the proposal has already been rejected by the community on the order of 10 or 11 to 1. The CN proposal on meta is dead in the water. When they've already said they don't care about our opinions, I'm not sure a notice on CENT is exactly justified. GMGtalk 20:01, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • We need to elect trustees who will actually turn the WMF around. Ridiculous that every option on that survey still had "Wikipedia" in it. I support an RFC that, in whatever way is best, disavows this. But really change won't happen until we get serious about electing trustees that are serious about changing the WMF. And if we really want to kick them where it hurts, ban all fundraising banners from enwiki. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 18:49, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I may just be a very casual unregistered editor, hanging about for years now. But i have to say this is an absolute joke. Why even have a survey when one cannot even say no change. Especially given that the community, not just the english language one, has already decided that it is not wanted. It sends an awful message in regards to consensus building, something that is at the very heart of Wikipedia and related projects. Why should pov pushers, or anyone for that matter, care about consensus building if the people that run the site (and i use that phrase extremely loosely, for lack of better words so to speak) do not care one bit about it. When things get dictated and not agreed on it seems counter to the very core of how this place should work. Took part in the survey and some of the questions were almost bizarre. The one regarding the legal protection or what it was in particular (cannot recall the wording as i cannot look it up again). And the way they framed to rate 1-4 which is best... thats how they cheese the survey in the end. "But that was everyones second favorite! You all said it was second best so we just do what you wanted!". Sadly i could not do more than strongly disagree with almost everything. Feel free to remove anyway, i am more an onlooker than active part in the community after all. 2003:D6:2714:3741:D471:A1B0:53F7:22B6 (talk) 21:23, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

Board statement

The Board just posted this: m:Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard/Board Update on Branding. --Yair rand (talk) 01:35, 22 June 2020 (UTC)

However, it is important to be clear: the Board absolutely can change the name of the Wikimedia Foundation, even to the “Wikipedia Foundation,” if it decides. I disagree with this legal analysis. :-) Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 02:50, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
I think there is no urgent need any more to start an RfC about taking the fundraising banners down, we can wait till August. However, the option is clearly still on the table.--Ymblanter (talk) 06:53, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
Reading from the Board's statement, plus some of their members' comments on the exec statement TP, the tl;dr seems to be "There isn't a firm decision on what exact renaming to do, with some different viewpoints within the Board, but we definitely reserve the authority". Definitely no dramatic cause for action, we'll see what the next 6 weeks bring. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:01, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
"In the end, the Board, Brand team, and Legal team agreed that Wikipedia was the change which supported the goals of the change while also meeting practical legal and financial constraints", "this process is exploratory and nothing has been decided yet", "The Board has not approved any specific recommendations yet". Someone is lying (or at best, intentionally obfuscating) here; the only issue is whom. Either the Board have agreed on "Wikipedia" or they haven't. ‑ Iridescent 10:43, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
..or perhaps after the recent executive mess up they understood things have become a lot worse suddenly, and trying to control the damage to some extent. If it so, I feel that's also a positive thing. The rebranding idea does not make sense (it is not a WP:ILIKEIT or WP:IDONTLIKEIT statement, I know I should explain "why", but the reasons are told many many times.). My good wishes and regards. --Titodutta (talk) 12:55, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
As I said somewhere in this mess, rebranding isn't a bad idea per se; most people have had the "no, Wikimedia isn't a version of Wikipedia that covers the media" conversation at some point. What is a bad idea per se is addressing the problem either by subsuming everything into "Wikipedia" or by claiming the name "Wiki" and cementing in the public mind the idea that we're responsible for Wikileaks and Wikia, and what's an equally bad idea is issuing mutually contradictory statements that by definition can't all be true. ‑ Iridescent 15:19, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
I think "running around like headless chickens" describes thing better than deliberate lying. I subscribe to the theory that most things that go wrong are cock-ups rather than conspiracies. Of course that doesn't make them any more acceptable. Phil Bridger (talk) 15:28, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
I'd lean more towards "intentional misrepresentation", since it's not credible the board haven't been talking to each other. I assume that when an explanation is eventually squeezed out of them, it will be along the lines of "technically it was correct to say we hadn't approved a specific recommendation, as although we decided we were going to rebrand as 'Wikipedia Foundation' come what may, we hadn't signed off on the font to use on the new logo yet". ‑ Iridescent 15:34, 22 June 2020 (UTC)

Should we sign the open letter as a community?

On m:Community open letter on renaming there is a new sub-section now "Wikimedia community". Should we (English Wikipedia) sign there, in case, most of us agree with the idea/letter? On Wikisource mailing list they created a poll and decided to sign. Regards. --Titodutta (talk) 17:32, 30 June 2020 (UTC)

I would not do it without having an RfC here first, and by the time we could close an RfC the rebranding hopefully will be fully dead.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:49, 30 June 2020 (UTC)
No real opinion on this one way or another but an RfC only needs to be open as long as it takes to determine consensus. In other words an rfc does not have to be open 30 days assuming consensus is clear before then. See Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment#Duration. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 18:55, 30 June 2020 (UTC)
On the other hand, closing a high-profile RfC after two days is a direct way to ArbCom.--Ymblanter (talk) 19:38, 30 June 2020 (UTC)
My preference would be not to do so. I have signed the letter, but that is because I personally agree with it, whether or not other editors of the English Wikipedia do so. I prefer to say what I think myself rather than have it assumed that I agree with consensus. Phil Bridger (talk) 18:35, 30 June 2020 (UTC)
I believe having individuals sign this open letter is far more powerful. (And having just looked, I see as of this moment 586 individuals have signed this open letter, as well as 46 affiliates. If the rebranding process doesn't stop at this point, then the Foundation is undeniably operating in bad faith.) -- llywrch (talk) 21:21, 1 July 2020 (UTC)
@Llywrch: Now up to 711, but take a look at these more detailed stats (slightly outdated): m:Talk:Community open letter on renaming#COLORSTATISTICS! ~280 sysops, ~80 intadmins (!, we don't have many of them), ~90 crats,.... --Mdaniels5757 (talk) 02:32, 4 July 2020 (UTC)
@Mdaniels5757: & several former Foundation Trustees/board members. This is trending to the point where either the re-branding process pauses -- or stops entirely -- or someone will decide to spend more time with their family. (An excuse often given in the US when an executive finds it necessary to quit his or her job.) -- llywrch (talk) 07:41, 4 July 2020 (UTC)

A minor gesture of protest: W?F

As a minor gesture of protest against the Wikimedia foundation's decision to rebrand itself with Wikipedia's good name, until they back down I choose to call them "the W?F".

Feel free to assume that this stands for "WMF", "WPF", or "WTF".

I call on those who oppose the rebranding to start using "W?F".

"We should have been clearer: a rebrand will happen. This has already been decided by the Board."[6] -- Heather Walls, head of the Communications department at the Wikimedia Foundation and executive sponsor of the Brand project.

Sometimes it is the small things that tip the scales. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:30, 1 July 2020 (UTC)

@Guy Macon: I certainly like this idea. Given the fact that there's literally no "M" anywhere in "Wikipedia Foundation", the fact that some people have said that we could just keep using the WMF acronym, even though it would no longer have any non-legacy meaning, is laughable. Plus, it would also easily get around the confusion that will inevitably result when the word "Wikipedia" refers to the website, the community, and the foundation. At the same time.
And, of course, it's a small act of civil disobedience to help delegitimize the organization that has already started calling it's leader the "CEO of Wikipedia" at public events: see this and this, Katherine Maher is prominently referred to as the "CEO of Wikipedia" and the "Wikipedia CEO" with only the most minor mention in the fine print for her on the main speakers list of the Foundation being a separate organization from the community and the community consensus that is supposedly what actually manages the site's operations. Nathan2055talk - contribs 23:03, 1 July 2020 (UTC)
Brilliant. Levivich[dubious – discuss] 17:54, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
Although there has been no formal transition, the comments above show that many editors perceive the W?F gradually shifting its role from servant to partner to master. Unwanted editing software, an editor ban, short descriptions and the proposed usurpation of our brand name all suggest a transition from facilitator to controller.
The W?F's relationship with its projects, especially enwiki, reminds me of a similar case. As well as selling computers, Sun Microsystems was a pioneer of free software such as OpenOffice. A decade ago, Oracle acquired Sun. The new manager, host and trademark owner diligently put its shareholders before freeloaders. The open-source community overcame that difficulty by migrating to LibreOffice, which soon replaced OpenOffice as the major free office suite.
Plan A should always be to work harmoniously alongside the W?F, but it may be prudent to start considering alternatives. We hope that they will never be necessary, but their feasibility might help concentrate minds on restoring a relationship which everyone considers fair and which encourages editors to remain. Certes (talk) 11:21, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
@Certes: The nice thing about Wikipedia is that it doesn't require the Foundation in order to continue running at all. MediaWiki is completely open-source and Wikipedia's content itself is also freely licensed. Database dumps are also freely provided, and they aren't even that big on the scale of modern hard-drives: the current versions of every mainspace page is 51 GB, it goes up to 94 GB if you include user pages and talk pages, and if you include the full edit history of every page, the result is only about 10 TB. Obviously dealing with files, especially those hosted on Wikimedia Commons, would add to the complexity somewhat, but forking Wikipedia is not a difficult task at all. The biggest issue in forking is always bringing the community with you, but considering that opposition to the Foundation renaming itself has gathered one of the biggest majorities in Wikimedia history, I don't think it would be a major problem at all. Again, it's worth repeating for the people in the back: Wikipedia does not, and never has, needed the Foundation. The Foundation, on the other hand, definitely needs Wikipedia. Nathan2055talk - contribs 21:48, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
Now, imagine you have successfully forked the project and do not need WMF any more. Who is going to be legally liable for the edits? You personally? Or may be every user making it?--Ymblanter (talk) 05:54, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
It would be the "new" WMF. There is no way to fork without creating some kind of legal entity (a trust, a non-profit corporation, something) who will pay for the servers (and collect donations). That entity is going to be legally responsible. If we fork and create a new WMF, we'll end up in the same place unless we learn from past mistakes and correct them. And we can do that (correct mistakes) without forking: we still vote for WMF trustees, after all (in theory). Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 21:43, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
Which is precisely my point.--Ymblanter (talk) 21:48, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
If the next fork specifically is chartered to consider contributors as members with voting rights, then you could have a foundation own the servers and not run into this situation where decisions can be made by a central authority over the express wishes of the editors. A foundation like that with no "founder" and with 100% of the board elected wouldn't be tempted to violate the sovereignty of individual projects or the movement as a whole. We're stuck in this situation because SanFran usurped authority and each editor, bent on contributing for free, decided to let W?F rake in the dough and appoint their own board with only token editor involvement. Chris Troutman (talk) 23:06, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
I remember discussing this at WP:FRAM. But a fork is not a necessary prerequisite; contributors with voting rights already have control over the WMF, and could amend the bylaws to strengthen that control, but only with time and trustees. The solution to the community's problem with the WMF is trustees. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 07:59, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
W?FThis Wikimedian opposes rebranding the WMF as Wikipedia.
We need a userbox I think. Just add {{right|{{User:Alexis Jazz/W?F}}}} and enjoy. (also available on meta for your global user page) - Alexis Jazz 08:39, 22 July 2020 (UTC)
Alexis Jazz: Apologies for editing an archive, but the instructions need modification. That markup causes a lint error, category Miscellaneous issues, type div-span-flip. Please use <div class="floatright">{{User:Alexis Jazz/W?F}}</div> instead. —Anomalocaris (talk) 22:55, 19 October 2020 (UTC)

Survey extension and notices

Noting here for completeness: the W?F Brand Project Team has sent (2 July) a multi-wiki message with a link to the survey, now giving the closing date as 7 July. For English Wikipedia, it is posted at WP:VPM#Feedback on movement names. — Pelagicmessages ) Z – (09:39 Sun 05, AEST) 23:39, 4 July 2020 (UTC)

Letter to the Wikimedia Foundation

Dear Wikimedia Foundation,

Why are you going to rename?

" Wikipedia Foundation " implies that the sister projects are not important when they are, and you guys don't want to lie, do you? The sister projects are important. Wikipedia couldn't be of this quality without them, unless all of them are merged in, wich is practically impossible. Do you see my point? Don't rename just because the name is more recognized.

Rename because of issues, not recognizeablitty.

Your community member,

Another Wiki User the 2nd (talk) 22:35, 13 July 2020 (UTC)

Announcing a new wiki project! Welcome, Abstract Wikipedia

Moved from WP:VPM
 – pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 14:17, 11 July 2020 (UTC)

Sent by m:User:Elitre (WMF) 20:06, 9 July 2020 (UTC) - m:Special:MyLanguage/Abstract Wikipedia/July 2020 announcement

  • Nice to have a little bit of good news mixed in with the chaos and failures to communicate. Would have been appropriate to actually have come from WMF, but I guess that would be expecting too much at this point. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 18:15, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Can someone give me the short version. Not sure I understand this, except insofar as it seems to be cementing the position of Wikidata perhaps before we've even got that project in a half-decent state? - Sitush (talk) 18:19, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
Not Wikidata, a way of using wikidata, that will not necessarily be used by any given Wikipedia, but can be if they want to as and when found appropriate by the Wikipedia. I don't think en: will be using it much at first, but there may be uses where we don't have an article on a topic. My guess is that en: will be more a source of the material, which I guess will be stored on Wikidata, and published where it is wanted. I think this is the short version. I doubt it could be shortened much without losing something important. Cheers, · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 18:22, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
@Sitush and Pbsouthwood: As far as I can tell from m:Abstract Wikipedia, this has two parts. The "Abstract Wikipedia" part seems to be intended as a separate site from actual Wikipedia, generating its articles based on data from Wikidata. It seems it will depend on a second site called "Wikilambda" to store much of the code implementing that generation, with the idea that someone somehow writes the "code" for generating an article and it can then generate articles in any language by transforming the Wikidata data.
Wikilambda seems like an idea to build up some sort of programming language from first principles (e.g. lambda calculus). It looks like it will represent concepts in much the same way as Wikidata, so for example the concept of "3" might be Z176, "5" might be Z256, and the function "add(a,b)" as Z1034. The "code" Z1034(Z176,Z256) would represent "add(3,5)", or "3+5". Depending on the language you have configured for the interface, you might see that as "add(three, five)", or "sumar(tres, cinco)", or whatever. When you save, it would get transformed back to the Z-representation for storage. It looks like there's more detail on that at Anomie 00:23, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
As with Wikidata, it's a fascinating idea...but whether or not it's practical or usable by an average editor remains to be seen. GeneralNotability (talk) 01:44, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
Thank you all for the guesswork! My summary of it seems likely to be: clear as mud, through no fault of anyone who has commented here. If it is machine-learning for generation of abstracts etc, I'm with Tony Ballioni below. It sometimes seems people come up with ideas just to spend the money and so justify the jobs. If they're going to do that, they could spend it on more books etc for proven contributors. - Sitush (talk) 05:04, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
@Sitush: The Foundation stated in a few of their previous strategy documents than "AI-driven content creation" was one of their long-term goals. I think this sort of thing is what they meant by that.
As I said below, even Google, a company that's commonly joked about being 95% AIs behind the scenes, opted to just scrape Wikipedia articles for their "quick information" boxes, rather than trying to create a strange combination of big data and a Star Trek universal translator. Given that this is the same Foundation who continues to insist (rightfully so, honestly) that learning Wikitext is one of the biggest hurdles we throw at new potential editors, I'm having a hard time reconciling that statement with a project that can only be described as "Wikidata, but even more complicated." Nathan2055talk - contribs 00:30, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
  • If this was recommended by LangCom it is the perfect example for why we need to shutdown LangCom and replace it with the project closing committee. This is ridiculous. And I’m the guy who is usually criticized for being too “pro-WMF”. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:26, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
Follow-up looking at this closer, why was this not advertised more widely on content projects? I see it received a lot of support on the meta talk page, but I see virtually no participation from active editors? I’ve long been an advocate for helping projects in other languages grow, and do my best to assist other projects behind the scenes as I can. I have very real concerns, however, about a project that looks to be people attempting machine translations of ideas to write core articles based on Wikidata.
The problem is that Wikidata, while a powerful resource, isn’t always accurate and is fairly bad at getting nuances right, which for an encyclopedia presenting information is usually important. Wikidata is a powerful tool for smaller language projects, but it needs to be used with caution.
The other issue is that we already have a resource for all of these articles: the English Wikipedia. In order to make use of the Wikidata concept you almost have to have some baseline knowledge of English since it is the de facto language of cross-wiki communication. If you talk to some people on non-English projects that are developing they will tell you building a stronger English Wikipedia is one of the best things you can do to help other projects develop: it’s the source for the translations. It’s also a better starting point than Wikidata.
If this had been better advertised, I’d have made these points on meta and I suspect many others from would as well. Now we have a project with a name that is going to be mocked if any of the press picks it up, and that’s a very difficult concept for most people to understand. This is not the way to go about something like this. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:47, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
  • I'm a programmer and I skimmed the docs for the project. As I understand it, Abstract Wikipedia works approximately as follows. It's kinda like Mad Libs translated into many languages. You make a bunch of things like "sentence templates". You make something like "Blank1 is a Blank2" and translate that sentence template into many languages. Then someone grabs that particular template and says Blank1=Wikidata:ThisArticle:Title and Blank2=Wikidata:ThisArticle:Profession. That results in something like "Donald Trump is a President of the United States, real estate developer." So Abstract Wikipeda has the sentence template in many languages, and Wikidata can often pull up other language versions of the noun Blanks "Donald Trump", "President of the United States", and "real estate developer". So Abstract Wikipedia can show that sentence in lots of languages. As I understand it, the intent is to have entire articles encoded this way, so you build the article once in Abstract Wikipedia and it is readable in all languages (at least to the extent that Abstract Wikipedia has all of the needed "Sentence templates" for that language and so long as Wikidata has translations for all of the needed Blanks used in those sentences).
My opinion: The first issue is that I expect few people will be willing or able to encode things in this way. It's kinda like Wikipedia articles could only be written by template-authors. Maybe not quite that bad, but it will make the Foundation's concerns about "Wikitext is too hard for normal people" look like a joke. Next, I expect they can probably get the text equivalent of an Infobox, listing Trump's profession and date of birth etc etc. I anticipate the sentence quality will usually be adequate but with clearly awkward portions. However I find it unbelievable that they think they can do body of the article this way. To the extent that they can try to do the body of the article, I expect the prose is going to be atrocious and it will be damn near impossible to continue to edit the article in that form. Wikidata may have translations for many nouns, but you would need to build a unique "Sentence template" for most sentences in the Trump article. (Even if you can sometimes reuse an existing sentence template, I expect it will be easier to translate the sentence than to find the right template to reuse & to define all the blanks required in that template.) It's easier to just translate the sentence itself without needing to know template coding. The big idea is that it's a "write once system" that gets the article into all languages. However I think the write-once system is going to be terminally close to an edit-never system. Heaven help you if you get in an edit war across two or more languages. If all you want is a Trump-infobox in Swahili-plaintext form, ok.
TL;DR; Every sentence either requires defining a new template or finding the right existing template, and filling the proper values for that template (generally with Wikidata elements). Alsee (talk) 10:44, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
@Alsee: The most hilarious thing about this is that we literally have a policy that says to avoid Google Translating articles on other language wikis and dumping them over here, and yet this project is essentially that but with extra steps.
Yes, I get that each of the "template sentences" are going to be pre-written in the other languages with the spaces for item insertions then defined, but it's still going to be a grammar nightmare most of the time since a lot of items have been dropped into Wikidata without regard for how the grammar would work if it was dumped back into an article. I mean, for pete's sake, we can't even figure out whether short descriptions should be capitalized or not, with most people on enwiki saying they should be for display reasons while Wikidata's policy is that they should not be except in cases where uppercase would normally be required (take special note of the quote "Essentially, you should pretend that the description is appearing in the middle of a normal sentence, and then follow normal language rules." on that page). Basically, we're going to end up in a never-ending version of the Star Trek: into Darkness edit war, except now it actually applies to things that readers are actually going to see and care about because for some reason the Foundation wants to use Wikidata items for a whole laundry list of purposes that are all but mutually exclusive.
I don't want to drag more Foundation conspiracy theories into this, but I feel like this might be the first iteration of the "AI-driven content creation" projects that they've spoken about in some of their previous long-term plans. If that's the case then...why? I mean, even Google, a company that's commonly joked about being 95% AIs behind the scenes, opted to just scrape Wikipedia articles for their "quick information" boxes, rather than trying to create a strange combination of big data and a Star Trek universal translator. Nathan2055talk - contribs 00:24, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
  • As a specialist in projects that get a reaction of "that would never work" when they're proposed, this project seems a little implausible even for me. I remember debating the basic idea of Abstract Wikipedia with a friend a couple of years ago; the friend was a natural-language processing specialist and thought it would be trivial, but I was much more pessimistic. Just one of the many obstacles for this project: if we thought getting consensus on just enwp was hard enough, try getting all the language wikis to agree on a canonical cross-language set of facts. While Abstract Wikipedia could be a very exciting and educational research project, I feel that what looks like a high level of institutional resources from the WMF may be a bit much for the project at this stage. I don't think coding will be the hard part here. Enterprisey (talk!) 07:49, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
  • I remain reticent that this project would work, for the feasibility, clarity and effort points raised above. However. I can see the benefits (above and beyond conventional machinetranslating) if it's pulled off. Given our reasonable financial state, and some intelligent souls involved in its startup, I think it's reasonable to give it a go. It will probably never help us, but for the smaller wikipedias it might add an aid (though if it ever does prove successful, there might be some clashes there). Nosebagbear (talk) 08:55, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
    • This is basically my view on this. And besides, having another project won’t hurt us. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 12:29, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
      • It will quite probably hurt us if the next phase is some sort of integration, as with Wikidata. - Sitush (talk) 12:38, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
        • The currently stated intention, as I understand it, is that use of content generated by this project will be available to Wikipedias if they want to use it, as it will be compatibly licenced. This could change, of course, but shooting down every proposal on the basis that it might possibly be misused at a later date doesn't allow much to be done. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 15:28, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
          And, to make it clear, Wikidata was also not imposed on the English Wikipedia. The community has full authority to reject any use of Wikidata, or to reject some use of Wikidata. The community actually had a series of RfCs and outlawed any use of Wikidata in the body of the articles, as well as any use of unsourced or poorly sourced data. If there is consensus at this point, it can outlaw any use of Wikidata at all, or to restrict it to interwiki links.The only really contentious thing imposed by WMF was short descriptions (which is currently in the process of being solved), but, to be honest, this is really a minor issue (especially in the context of thegeneral mobile editing) which most users do not even see.--Ymblanter (talk) 15:42, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
        • Given how they have tried to impose stuff in the past, I'm cynical. Look, the WMF does some good things - the Wikipedia Library has helped me enormously, so too have their legal team (don't ask) - but when it comes to the tech they tend to try to impose and then backtrack after a lot of hassle for everyone concerned - VE, Flow etc - or have grandiose but dodgy backstories, notably the Knowledge Engine. Wikidata enthusiasts, who are an even smaller number than people who can handle the non-VE WP interface, are constantly trying to impose stuff here across multiple forums and that will continue. It will be no different with Abstract WP. (Fixing indents below this as Sm8900's post throws things out, I think - feel free to revert.) - Sitush (talk) 18:15, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
  • I am opposed to this. it really does sound like the goal is to automate the process of writing Wikipedia. I do not see a benefit to this, in any way. --Sm8900 (talk) 18:00, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
    • That has always been the goal; the idea isn't new. Chris Troutman (talk) 18:05, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
    • Not "automate the process of writing Wikipedia" (or not solely so), "automate the process of writing one Wikipedia rather than 280-some-odd". --Izno (talk) 18:26, 13 July 2020 (UTC)
      • Where do our sourcing, BLP and NPOV policies fit into this? 10:47, 15 July 2020 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Doug Weller (talkcontribs)
        They do not. It is like with Wikidata, it should be up to us to adopt the elements with are compatible with our policies, and reject other elements.--Ymblanter (talk) 13:00, 15 July 2020 (UTC)
    Since there is already a massive encyclopedia in english its unlikely to impact us one way or the other.©Geni (talk) 23:23, 15 July 2020 (UTC)

I think this sounds like quite a challenge, but I'll wait and see what happens. The early days of VE were very rocky, but I find it useful now.--S Philbrick(Talk) 20:45, 20 July 2020 (UTC)

  • My main question about this is the same as I have had about wikidata from the start: quality control, I may not be up to date, but there seems to be no systematic mechanisms for this Not that we do all that well in Wikipedia , but at least the topics of general interest get looked at by many people. I don't think that;s likely in wikidata. DGG ( talk ) 17:04, 21 July 2020 (UTC)
    • It is something new and interesting. Who knows where it will go. Give it a chance and make constructive suggestions (and pointing out possible failure points is a constructive suggestion). My guess is that each statement should be linked to one or more references - it does not matter so much in which language a reference has been published, as that at least one is recorded. Several should be possible in many cases, ideally one in each language, but for most things that will not be practicable, so whatever is good enough is a good start. Dubious references can be challenged and flagged when identified. (A robust referencing system is one of the things the developers should look at from the start). All this can be stored in Wikidata. English Wikipedia should only consider linking to content from Abstract when their article is better than ours, until ours is better than theirs. Other Wikipedias can do the same if that is what they want to do. I would imagine the reading public will be able to go directly to Abstract when they want to, in whatever language they choose. Google and other re-users will also have the option. One day it may be good enough, and without trying, no-one will get there. We have the advantage of a large number of eyes which can look out for bugs, and some quite intelligent people. Maybe we can help it work. Cheers, · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 11:58, 22 July 2020 (UTC)

Following up about Status Labs abuses

Hi WMF! Back in January, we held a discussion, WP:TOUSL, which was closed with overwhelming near-unanimous community support. Copying the proposal:

The January 27 Signpost "From the editor" column describes the several years-long and ongoing paid advocacy abuse by Status Labs (formerly Wiki-PR), including their community ban from the English Wikipedia, their global ban imposed by the Foundation, a cease-and-desist letter sent in 2013, and six recent and ongoing paid advocacy abuses reported by the Wall Street Journal last month. Foundation officials told the Signpost that they would only take further action if the English Wikipedia community requests such "through its usual governing processes." Accordingly, this RFC asks the Wikimedia Foundation to enforce the Terms of Use against Status Labs violations, such as by reporting infringement of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, seeking civil penalties for those violations, and any other actions which the Foundation's attorneys believe will most likely halt the ongoing abuses. 07:30, 27 January 2020 (UTC)

I believe this discussion was shared with the WMF board, so I was wondering whether anyone from the legal department might be able to give us an update. No worries if there are sensitive aspects that shouldn't be discussed publicly, but I think many of us in the community would appreciate having at least an acknowledgement of receipt and some reassurance that the suggestion is being given serious consideration. And to the extent it's possible/desirable, I'm sure many editors would love to help out with whatever's needed to move this forward.

Courtesy pinging proposer EllenCT, closer Jmabel, and Signpost author Smallbones. I'm not sure who to ping on the WMF side, but hopefully someone else will. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 19:09, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

  • I have emailed user:Kbrown (WMF) as she might be the relevant WMF person - although I don't know whether she'll see the email before next week. That email also went to the functionaries in case any of the CUs can saying anything useful or know who better to talk to at the WMF. Thryduulf (talk) 21:37, 22 May 2020 (UTC)
    • I got a response quicker than I was expecting, which is good. They (Karen Brown specifically and the Foundation more generally) are aware of the community's request and have confirmed to the Functionaries they are looking into it. The request for a public message has been noted and they'll see what they can do but they (entirely understandably) want to be careful about what they say and how they say it, so we wont get anything immediately - not least because it's Memorial Day weekend in the US meaning Monday is a public holiday. Thryduulf (talk) 11:05, 23 May 2020 (UTC)
Hi all. I want to confirm from the Foundation legal team that this is noted and we're still working on it. This is a particularly hard topic to give details on publicly, both given legal privilege and not wanting to give away too much before we do anything publicly. What I can say is that we finished an initial investigation and we're working on some legal research at the moment. I'm hoping to have another update sometime around end of June. -Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 02:13, 28 May 2020 (UTC)
Great, thank you Jacob for the work and for this update.--Ymblanter (talk) 07:00, 28 May 2020 (UTC)
Seconding this thanks - perfectly understand not in a position to share, good to hear proper consideration of it. Enjoy the long weekend! Nosebagbear (talk) 21:34, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

WMF Updated posted

Legal has posted their response to the status labs RfC over at VPP. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 03:31, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

Thanks for the link, Barkeep, and for the communication on this, WMF Legal. I'll remove the pin from this post. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 07:46, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

Some recent activities

  • Executive:
    • Strategy: The Transition design group is designing a series of online events to discuss implementation of the strategy. A draft of the events plan is intended to be shared early this month, and the events themselves are scheduled for September-October.
  • Advancement: Schedule for banner testing and fundraisers is posted at m:Fundraising#Current_fundraising_activities. The big English campaign doesn't start until the end of November.
  • Communications:
    • Branding:
      • The Board's briefing on the rebranding was scheduled for July 28th. No further information is available, afaik.
      • The director of Wikimedia Russia and a WMRU volunteer put forth an alternative brand architecture proposal, proposing rebranding around the letter "W" while keeping the Wikimedia identity. See m:Talk:Brand_Network#Brand_architecture_proposal.
  • Legal:
    • The WMF appointed the UCoC Drafting committee.
    • T&S is "in the process of finalizing" the Case Review Committee, which will run an appeals process for "borderline" T&S cases at the edges of T&S's scope. (I made a proposal for an alternative means of appointing the committee.)
    • Update on Status Labs: The Legal team found that the material available "was unfortunately insufficient to take legal steps at this time", and requests that anyone aware of ongoing paid editing activity associated with Status Labs please send evidence to Legal.
  • Operations:
  • Product:
  • Talent & Culture: (Nothing to see here. T&C doesn't hear or speak.)
  • Technology:
    • Pilot deployment of the JADE system is planned for Q1 FY20/21. (It's a system for editors to help train AI for things like ORES, I think?)
    • New Mediawiki versions continue to be deployed on the English Wikipedia every Thursday. Upcoming: version 1.36/wmf.3, on August 6, release notes to be posted at mw:MediaWiki 1.36/wmf.3.

--Yair rand (talk) 00:45, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

Update on Status Labs from Foundation Legal Team

Hi all,

This is to follow up in response to the community’s request for the Foundation to look into taking legal action against Status Labs, as per this RFC. The Legal Department has reviewed material on-wiki, shared by volunteers, and mentioned in the press and we found that it was unfortunately insufficient to take legal steps at this time. As a result of this case, however, we are working on an update to our internal processes for cease and desist notices, which we believe will allow us to communicate directly with a broader range of firms that are disrupting Wikipedia, even when our trademarks are not directly at issue. This may include Status Labs in the future should we receive new evidence that they are engaging in paid editing activities. Based on our review, we are not aware of any active accounts associated with Status Labs or the agents identified by the Wall Street Journal. However, if any community members are aware of ongoing paid editing activity associated with Status Labs, please send us any evidence you have and we will look into the matter. We’ll be continuing to review options for the upcoming year. We are committed to taking appropriate legal action to support community efforts to prevent undisclosed paid editing and will continue to evaluate our options as further evidence becomes available. If you’d like to get in touch with info, please contact us at legal@ - Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 22:54, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

  • That is disappointing to hear, hopefully some progress can be made in this area. There's no single step that could even halve PAID issues, but as one of a fan of techniques it's beneficial to have. Nosebagbear (talk) 15:01, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
Jrogers (WMF), Can you give us an overview of what actions the Foundation can take against paid editors, what evidence is necessary, and how the community can best support the legal team? CaptainEek Edits Ho Cap'n! 07:43, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

UCOC drafting committee

In case anyone is interested, the WMF announced the members of the Universal Code of Conduct Drafting committee a couple of days ago. Four Affiliate stalwarts, a trio of WMF staffers (none from T&S), a Steward and a 'crat from Italian Wikipedia. The draft UCOC is supposed to be released on the 24th, so presumably they're either going very busy or T&S has been doing some preliminary drafting. --RaiderAspect (talk) 10:58, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

No preliminary drafting, RaiderAspect. They are already at work. :) However, the movement strategy committee recommended basing it off of the Contributor Covenant, so it might not be exactly the same as building from scratch and part 1 of the UCoC might not be that long. That said, they have latitude to work from that base, so who knows? Part 2, where we talk about methods to address issues, is likely to require a lot more conversations. And, yes, we did not select anyone from T&S for the drafting committee. Our role is not to create the policy, but to guide the process to creation and ratification. We have support from this from the Foundation's Learning & Development team. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 13:35, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

There also is a survey about the UCOC[7], but it is only sent to members of affiliates. However, nothing stops you from filling it in if you aren't an affiliate member but "just" an editor of course. I'm probably missing a lot of things here, but here is how the timeline looks:

  • Initial consultations were done with (mainly) smaller communities, and didn't include large ones like enwiki, dewiki, svwiki (well, many articles, smaller editor base), frwiki, nlwiki, itwiki, plwiki... Of the ten largest wikipedia versions, only Spanish and Russian were consulted it seems. Still, it seems that this was considered a general preliminary survey, where % of support and opposition are given (even though 90% of the responses come from one language group only), and claims are made that "The facilitators had constructive discussions even with communities that are not historically known to engage well with WMF." even though the most vocal (and largest) recurring opponents of WMF interference weren't heard...
  • "In July 2020, a Universal Code of Conduct Drafting Committee will start working on the actual draft language of the UCoC. The Committee will be taking into consideration the findings from these consultations, as well as upcoming conversations, to adapt a base text into a language that reflects the needs and concerns of Wikimedia communities."
  • Early August 2020, the survey of the affiliates is started[8]

Sp, prior to the drafting, a survey of all but the largest and most critical wikipedia versions has been done (no idea if cross-language projects like Wikidata and Commons have been engaged), then the drafting starts, and then a survey of affiliates starts. What seems to be rather glaringly missing is a consultation of the largest groups of people who would be affected by this and may have an opinion about this as well. These are at the same time some of the communities which, IIRC, have some first-hand experience of T&S interference gone bad relatively recently.

When exactly in this process is the consultation of these missing groups planned? Fram (talk) 14:29, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

Hi, Fram. Consultation is set to start August 24th and run through September 23rd. The drafting committee will bring their draft for review and comment prior to modification and presentation to the Board. That consultation will happen on Meta, and the timeline will be adjusted if necessary here. I'm not sure what the rollout plan is to make sure that communities are aware, but I'll find out. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 15:07, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
Thanks. Seems to me like a strange way to do this (not trying to get a fair, representative overview of your "customers" before you start drafting, but instead deliberately ignoring a large group, and then giving "support" and "oppose" percentages from an extremely unevenly distributed response pool as if these numbers have any value), and a good start to give the so far unheard groups extra fuel if they would disagree with the UCOC (in general or as drafted), but perhaps things will improve and there really will be a meaningful consultation, and not a pro forma one as was attempted with the branding. Fram (talk) 15:15, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
Hi, Fram. It's challenging to do consultations with international communities in a way that is fair and equitable. When consultations start on Meta, people who aren't fluent in English frequently fall behind rather quickly, because even if people attempt to translate those conversations that takes time. We've heard from some in non-English communities that they feel it isn't even worth bothering for them to try and that they feel disconnected from the larger movement because of it. When we realized that a good many Wikimedia communities have no behavioral policies or barely developed policies, we felt that starting with talking to some of those communities to understand their circumstances might be more equitable than beginning a conversation that would prioritize input from communities where policies are more developed and with more broad community input. That doesn't mean that those larger, more robust communities shouldn't have input into the code of conduct, but for phase 1 at least I expect that the code is likely to have far more impact on communities that haven't had the capacity or numbers to build up their policy space. The intention is to bring what they struggle with to the drafting committee for their attention, but that's not the only input that the process will have. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 15:55, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
That doesn't really explain why the consultation you had, and a consultation with the other communities, couldn't be had in parallel of course. One of the things you did was a genral survey (in Persian, I presume), and now one in English (and other languages) for the affiliates. Drafting already started, and when the draft is finished you have only given yourselves one month to contact the communities, gather their input, redraft, and present to the board. That isn't even enough time to e.g. organise an RfC here to get a community consensus opinion on the draft, if that is what we would want to do. It doesn't really fill me with confidence that our input will be more than a token "but you were consulted as well", as has happened too often. Fram (talk) 07:21, 5 August 2020 (UTC)
I wish we had the resources to roll out to all communities at once. Unfortunately we don't. We made the choice to start where we did, which excluded many of the medium-sized communities we would have liked to have reached to understand their challenges with crafting such policies locally and their input on concerns about policies. Our intention is to hold an international RFC, as was done with the Terms of Use rewrite some years back, not RFCs in each project. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 12:58, 5 August 2020 (UTC)
@Mdennis (WMF): The unfortunately seems to be a pattern here. The call for applicants for the T&S CRC was started on 6th July and ended on 18th with no proper announcement anywhere. If the intention is to be exclusionary or just get a box ticked off, it's working well, otherwise not so much. --qedk (t c) 13:37, 5 August 2020 (UTC)
User:QEDK, it was announced on Wikimedia-L, on Meta, and here. I'm sorry if I missed a better place to announce it! --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 13:51, 5 August 2020 (UTC)
@Mdennis (WMF): It seems that I missed the most pertinent place it was announced ("here"). My apologies. --qedk (t c) 13:55, 5 August 2020 (UTC)

One issue I hope is considered, perhaps the most important one, is how any UCoC is presented to the communities. As we all know, many volunteers are not happy with the Foundation, & react to any new announcement/suggestion/decision/rule-making with something between skepticism & outright hostility. This is regrettable, & obviously shouldn't be the case. Nevertheless, if this committee was to draft the perfect code of conduct unless it was presented to the communities in the proper way, enough people would object to it & leave to make the projects enter into a death spiral. Maybe these people would start up a competing fork, or maybe they would simply stop supporting any free knowledge project ever again. Now I've looked at the Contributor Covenant mentioned above, & while it would need some tweaks to make it work for an Internet forum like any of the current Wikimedia projects, I did not find anything important wrong with it. So there is a good start there. Yet it could be rewritten very easily into a weapon against the average contributor (viz., male, white, middle-class, Euro-American outlook, etc.) either intentionally or accidentally. That would be a grave mistake. -- llywrch (talk) 18:03, 7 August 2020 (UTC)

  • I have to echo what's been said here. The Foundation has absolutely bungled public communications with astonishing regularity in the past. It is blatantly obvious there is little in the way of understanding of public relations and how best to manage them. This is part of the culture of the Foundation, as was grossly demonstrated last year with Framgate. That incident was hardly isolated. Rather, it's the norm for how the Foundation handles public relations. This is one of many symptoms of the amateurish management of the Foundation. Looking at the Foundation's staff listing, the head person responsible for public relations apparently has no training or experience in that field. I don't fault this person for not having this experience or training. I directly fault the Foundation for not understanding the serious role of public relations and hiring appropriate people to manage it. As llywrch has noted, it doesn't matter what you have to sell. Even if it's perfect in every conceivable way, it will fail if the Foundation doesn't do an about face on how it manages public relations. Before a UCoC ever sees the light of day, we really should be seeing a code of conduct for the Foundation, and what their plans are for re-engaging the community in a trustworthy way. A UCoC at this point is a cart before the horse scenario, and will be a disaster. --Hammersoft (talk) 18:22, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
  • I would in any case encourage everyone interested to have a look at the draft when this draft has been presented to the community (24 August? In any case, someone will post an announcement here).--Ymblanter (talk) 22:01, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
  • As stated in our policy WP:Harassment#What harassment is not, there is an endemic problem on Wikipedia of giving "harassment" a much broader and inaccurate meaning. Tracking the contributions of an incompetent and/or policy-violating user is not stalking, is not harassment. It is also not harassment to criticize and attempt to enforce policy against an incompetent or policy-violating user.
    The Board ordered the Foundation to run a community consultation as a core part of the resolving Framgate. There was a clear consensus that Trust&Safety had absolutely no business stomping around outside of their traditional role, and the Foundation explicitly committed to returning to that role. It doesn't matter what their proposed code of conduct says, the Foundation has absolutely no business passing judgement on content, content disputes, enforcement of content&related policies, or on the related routine squabbles trying to resolve those disputes. Any Trust&Safety code of conduct is an automatic hard-oppose given the established Global Consensus.
    The worst thing is that The Foundation has been actively sabotaging our ability to fix things ourselves. There was consensus on Meta to get rid of the abusive gang of admins on AzWiki, and the Foundation literally handed a Steward a check to close it contrary consensus and protect the abusers. Alsee (talk) 22:15, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
    I do not think we ever had any RfC rejecting (or approving, or making any decision about) UCoC. If we had such an RfC I might support or reject UCoC depending on what it contains. Of course some people would blanket oppose (we have people who see forking as the only way forward, for this matter), but I do not see any evidence they in any way represent the majority. My position here that we should whit what concept of UCoC they would come up with then decide (possibly have an RfC if needed).--Ymblanter (talk) 22:22, 8 August 2020 (UTC
  • One thing I think important to recognize is that even if the drafting committee drafts the perfect document and perfectly rolls it out to the community is that there will still be dissent and criticism. We are just too heterogeneous of a community - on enwiki alone let alone across the entire Wikimedian movement for it to be any other way. Now I doubt that either of those things will be perfect - humans are involved after all. Even so I think we, the volunteer committee, need to be careful that we don't let those imperfections from seeing the legitimate value and the foundation needs to be careful not to dismiss legitimate criticisms because of the value that they recognize. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 23:06, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
  • Not to drag up Framgate yet again, but one of the main "theorized causes" given was that Fram had been following around a user and reverting a lot of their changes. I regularly mass revert changes from vandals, LTAs, and well-meaning but not up-to-par new editors. Is that harassment? If I have reason to believe a user is vandalizing many pages, am I not allowed to go through their contribs and rollback all of the bad edits (not even all edits, I'm specifically saying all bad edits)? I get that Framgate may or may not have devolved into actual harassment, either on or off-wiki, and that's definitely not okay. But where is the line where anti-vandalism work goes from everyday patrolling to WP:HOUNDING? Is any mass reversion WP:HOUNDING? If so, is the Foundation expecting me to just leave unsourced statements, BLP violations, and even just childish vandalism around; purely so that some other editor can take care of it to avoid the appearance of impartiality? If so...then we've officially hit the point where the Foundation is asking us to just throw the whole encyclopedia in the trash for fear of making someone, somewhere, upset. That's just absurd.
There must be a legitimate definition of harassment. This is a complaint I've had about the Contributor Covenant for a long time (to be perfectly frank, while I think the Contributor Covenant is a nice idea and I like the thought behind it, it's simply too vaguely written to be applied to any community larger than a few dozen people as-is, and certainly not a community like enwiki with its ~40 million registered editors and ~130k active monthly contributors), and it's not even a difficult complaint to fix. But the fact that it is a complaint shows something very important: it is absolutely, patently ridiculous to create one single ruleset to unilaterally apply to every single Wikimedia community. If the Foundation wants to come up with a "bare minimum" set of rules to apply to all wikis in the event that there isn't an active self-governance on one, that's totally fine. But creating a set of rules to serve as the primary conduct restrictions for all of Wikimedia, having said rules drafted by a committee of nine people who weren't representatively selected from the communities (one bureaucrat from itwiki, one steward, four affiliates with seemingly very little recent history of actual editing that I can find, and three Foundation staffers (none of whom are even from the trust and safety department; we have the Foundation's senior lawyer, a creative director from the Foundation's "Brand Studio" (I'm assuming that means someone from marketing), and the "Information and Knowledge Liaison" for the "Movement Strategy Core Team" (as best as I can tell, that's a ton of words that basically distills down to "public relations")); why are the other stewards not involved, why isn't the trust and safety team who will be enforcing these rules involved, and why is there only one local admin from one project involved?), and then putting up the rules to a consensus vote in a method that wouldn't even be an acceptable way to run a first-line RfC on a basic content issue here on enwiki.
I'm gonna hold further comments until we actually get a draft to look at (when we do, I'm planning to go through it line-by-line and comment on whatever issues it has), but overall I'm not getting my hopes up considering what we've heard so far. Again, fighting harassment and trying to make Wikimedia a more open and tolerant community is a great goal. But considering the Framban was done under that same justification, I'm not exactly looking forward to anything that has a chance to expand the justifications under which the Foundation can disappear somebody with no recourse on either their end or the community's end.
Finally, @Alsee: if you could link me the thing about azwiki you were referring to that would be great; I haven't seen that and would like to know what the justification was for not ejecting abusive admins considering what we went through over here with Fram a year ago. Nathan2055talk - contribs 23:17, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
Nathan2055 regarding the AzWiki incident, see Meta:Requests for comment/Do something about azwiki. The close asserted mild support to desysop all admins on azwiki, which is rather an understatement if you check the responses and discount the opposes by the abusive admins themselves. The close further says I will be traveling to Azerbaycan this month (with WMF support). Discussions on the closer's talk page clarified that prior to closing, someone at the Foundation came up with a back-room deal offering the Steward an undisclosed sum of money for travel, food, lodging and expenses for a vacationeducational-trip to gather all Azwiki admins in summercamp clubhouseclassroom to teach the holocaust-deniers to stop being holocaust deniers, to explain that they shouldn't run literal summercamps training youth to use Wikipedia for (I quote) "information warfare", and that it is naughty naughty for them to block people who cite Reliable Sources representing the mainstream global record of history on the grounds that the admins believe the mainstream global record of history is fraud and conspiracy. The steward agreed to the deal, and then selected-themselves to preform that massively-COI close which directly delivering themselves that undisclosed sum of money. Even if one somehow agreed with resolving the AzWiki situation in that fashion(?!?), it was grossly corrupt for that steward to select themselves to close the RFC preform that closure and effectively assert a global community consensus that money be allocated to themself. And if the Foundation were remotely competent dealing with the community, they should have posted their proposal in the RFC for proper discussion rather than bribingincentivizing a steward to disregard consensus and make a COI close.
Circling back to the original subject, we don't need Trust&Safety becoming a weapon for incompetent/abusive/disruptive editors to harass and banish good editors who (for good reason) are exasperated and criticize the problem-editor harshly. (Frambans.) What we really need is help from the Foundation in dealing with rouge/dysfunctional wikis. Stewards are loath to desysop a wiki because it dumps the mess in their laps personally and language is generally a big obstacle. When the community determines a cohort of admins are being abusive, or failing to deal with harassment, or are committing harassment themselves, we need the resources of the Foundation to step in and help clean up the mess. Instead the Foundation steps in and considers it easier, more convenient, and presumably cheaper to cut a check to protect the abusers. Alsee (talk) 02:01, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
All I have to say after reading that is YIKES. Was there any follow-up on what actually came out of that trip? bibliomaniac15 03:12, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
For what it’s worth, that wasn’t the WMF, that was the stewards deciding on their list that they weren’t going to do it. Basically it was too large a project and no one wanted the hassle of playing admin on a project in a language only one of them spoke but that also had a large community. Stewards are most active on projects that arguably have no community at all, so it wouldn’t have been a comfortable role for many of them. Not making an excuse, I think they were wrong to close it that way, but the counter argument is that if they’d all commented publicly there wouldn’t have been a consensus. TonyBallioni (talk) 03:57, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
  • I volunteered for that committee, but didn't get the gig. I wish I'd kept my application, I can remember pointing out at least a couple of problems they have in getting from where they are to anywhere that makes sense for this movement. Just to quote one bit of the Contributor Covenant "Examples of unacceptable behavior include: The use of sexualized language or imagery, and sexual attention or advances of any kind". Aside from topics such as porn, we have whole articles on notable erotica including various paintings and sculptures (for example, this FA would meet most culture's definition of sexualised content. Yet it is one of our Featured Articles, we are an encyclopaedia, lots of sexualised content is very much in our scope. As a global site we have editors and I expect entire language communities who would be likely to interpret a ban on sexualised imagery as banning depictions of the female form that would make it difficult to illustrate many sports other than cricket and American football. As for a ban on sexual advances within a volunteer organisation, I have been to one wedding between two Wikipedians and recently saw an episode of Wikipedia weekly where two Wikimedians were joined for a while by their children..... The covenant sounds like something borrowed from the HR department of an American company that doesn't deal in the sort of topics that we do, and is used to dealing with employees and not volunteers. ϢereSpielChequers 16:08, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
    • You volunteered too? (IMHO you would have likely made a better choice than me.) WereSpielChequers, you express the same concerns about how this could fail. One is that I don't identify anyone selected for that committee that I trust: it's become reflex to suspect any unfamiliar volunteer on a committee like that to either be somehow making money from their work, or angling for a paid Foundation position. Another is having someone there who can explain why the way a proposed policy is written might not work in practice, as you did about "sexualized content" above. And a third is that this committee is so heavily balanced to "diversity" that I worry that unless one belongs to a defined minority group, a poorly-written UCoC will result creating a hostile environment. The track record of the Foundation does not suggest any or all of these problems will be successfully avoided. -- llywrch (talk) 22:09, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
      • Thanks Llywrch, ah diversity. Given a choice between getting a diverse subset of the community, a diverse subset of humanity, or a diverse subset of the community that the WMF would like to have, I think I know where they are going. The ones who have pictures up all seem very young, I suspect someone with an HR background has calculated the diversity mix based on the ideal employer. The problem is that we are a volunteer organisation with a global audience, and a diverse panel needs some members with a bit more life experience, and to answer your point about the temptation in this group to look for a WMF career; I assume you'd feel more comfortable if there were a couple of retirees around that table. This is not an easy project, in an area where the WMF isn't exactly playing to its strengths, I'm hoping that we can at least get something that is compatible with us writing a general interest encyclopaedia; Ideally with a global commitment to being open to people regardless of their race, gender, religious or philosophical opinion etc. And there's one of the difficulties, they are a "woke" organisation on the US West coast trying to come up with a global code of conduct that works for a global organisation, and the option of don't discuss "religion, sex or politics" won't work because all three of those topics are big parts of what we do. At some point I expect them to come up with something that works for me and the people I care about, but for much of the world looks like an American organisation imposing "western values". One risk is that they do it in such a way as to endanger Wikipedians in some of the more violent parts of the world. I fear that in some countries we are closer than we imagine to the day when the religious people who hunt down and murder atheist bloggers move on to Wikipedians. If the result of this project is to make explicit what has previously been implicit then our risk from terrorism is accordingly increased. ϢereSpielChequers 08:28, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
        To expand a bit on the last part, we (I am not sure who "we" is, the WMF, the English Wikipedia, the Mediawiki or somebody else) must be very clear that editing under own name is strongly discouraged. I am from the generation which actively started using internet for hobbies in the 1990s, and we were always told that one needs to be responsible for their own words, and a part of this responsibility is to sign by the real name. Then it was kind of forgotten with all the fora, and then blogs, and only then FB started to require real name (I am not sure why). And I still think that the best practice is to sign what you say, however, when last year someone sent to FB three false copyright reports against me and had my account disabled, then sent two false reports for my instagram account - prompting me to purge and close it and to ban all followers I was not sure about, and then sent me and my family threats to all e-mail addresses they could find, explaining that they are unhappy by my activity as the English Wikipedia administrator, so that I had to report to the police and to warn the dean of my faculty and the general university security service - and I do not even know who the asshole is, because they were using throwaway addresses - the choice is not between being responsible or not responsible, the choice is between being safe or not being safe. It is obviously too late for me (I can of course abandon my current account with 165K edits and in a couple of years grow another one to get an admin flag, but currently I am not planning to do it), but the new users, not only in sensible countries but everywhere, must know that access to their real credentials is precious, is a guarantee for safety and should not be given away. This must be clear every time someone tries to register an account.--Ymblanter (talk) 11:23, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
        I'm sorry to hear that. I have had one email from a banned editor to a work email account of mine, and that at a time where I hadn't made the connections as obvious as I do now. I live in a country where I think I am pretty safe from the people who are most likely to take exception to my being here, and I am approaching a stgae in my life where I am beyond threats to my career. But I'm conscious that puts me in a safer position than most Wikimedians. Absolutely I agree we should discourage real name accounts. ϢereSpielChequers 15:10, 12 August 2020 (UTC)
        • WereSpielChequers, I wasn't thinking of a specific racial or age demographic when I pointed out the irony in the committee's "diversity". The group I wished I saw represented was what could be considered the community of established editors, be they Wikipedians or another project. (BTW, I'm repeatedly surprised at how many regulars from here have ended up at other projects, like Commons, Wikisource, etc. The lessons we have learned here do percolate into other projects.) None of us are against the idea of a Code of Conduct, nor are any of us in favor of harassment -- to state the obvious. But we know what won't work, & what may work. (I'm still trying to figure a plausible reason I would send an unwanted sexualized message to anyone on Wikipedia: I'm here to write an encyclopedia, not get laid. And experience has shown any possible sexual partners online are more likely to be living in a different continent than in the same town as me. So I have no problem banning someone who sent an unwelcome sexualized message to another person; it can't be interpreted as anything other than harassment.) Further, having someone from this group would help convince the rest of us to at least give the proposed UCoC a try before getting out the torches & pick forks. The level of trust between the volunteers & the Foundation is very low, as many have observed; including one of the more visible long-term established editors would build trust. It's this desire to be "woke" over practicality that I'm concerned with.
          BTW, I am getting a little annoyed at this tagging of the Foundation's "woke" behavior as "West Coast". I'm a native of one of the West Coast cities that has been mentioned in the news a lot lately, while I consider myself socially progressive, I find the politically correct behavior of the Foundation as obnoxious as anyone else here. I worry that by constantly promoting members of "ignored" minorities as the Foundation does will not solve the problems of underrepresented peoples & cultural traditions, at best will only advance the careers of those few who exploit their membership in one of these groups, & at worst drive off the rest of us who actually do the work that has made Wikipedia succeed. -- llywrch (talk) 17:38, 12 August 2020 (UTC)
          • I did a quick look through the committee members, from what has been said about them we seem to have a geographically scattered bunch, so I'm assuming that racial diversity has been looked at as has gender. My perception is that there is an age skew as half of them had pictures and they all looked young to me. As for how much experience they have within the community, I didn't recognise any names, or assume anything from that. There are lots of people in this movement who I have yet to come into contact with. As for sexual advances, if they changed the rule about sexual advances to add the word unwanted then I'd be happy. My concern about banning sexual advances, unwanted or otherwise, is that we are a movement that includes not just online activity but offline activity such as meetups and outreach events. As someone who has been a trainer at several events and I suppose a cohost of the London meetup, I don't see a "no sexual advances" rule as appropriate, or something I am OK being expected to promote as a meeting organiser or trainer. I have no problem with a rule about not chatting up volunteers or course attendees etc if you are paid to be there or somehow "in charge". But if I'm a trainer at a university outreach event I don't want to have to impose a "no fraternisation" rule on a room full of students who have signed up for a Wikipedia editathon. ϢereSpielChequers 19:09, 12 August 2020 (UTC)
            • Having a "no fraternization" rule would be a definite kiss of death for any editathon! -- llywrch (talk) 23:01, 12 August 2020 (UTC)
    Don't you mean the platonic-handshake-of-no-more-than-three-seconds-or-else of death? –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 23:04, 12 August 2020 (UTC)
    • @WereSpielChequers: It's worth noting that the Contributor Covenant was specifically written for open source software projects, not an encyclopedia. That's one of the main reasons I wanted to wait and see the "final draft" before passing too hard of a judgement. If it actually addresses these points, then that's great. Obviously unwanted sexual advances are something that should be against the rules, but, as an encyclopedia, blanket banning all discussion of sex would be completely absurd. Sex is a major part of human culture, like it or not, and a complete encyclopedia needs to cover that. After all, Wikipedia is not censored, right? But if it's just a copy-paste of the Contributor Covenant with the names changed, that's going to be a major problem. It absolutely makes sense to ban sexualized discussion in a coding project, but it makes significantly less sense to do so in an online encyclopedia project. Nathan2055talk - contribs 23:24, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
      • I didn't mention "unwanted sexual advances". Perhaps I come from a pre Tinder generation where a large proportion of relationships started at work or in some shared volunteering or club, but to me there is an important difference between "unwanted sexual advances" and "sexual advances", how one stops one without stopping the other is the complicated bit. As for sexualised content, we have ways to keep it in its place, and I'd like to see something like the Principle of least astonishment - again tricky. But the bigger problem in a global community is how you define sexualised content, and if you go with "anything that is deemed sexualised content by 1% or more of humanity" then few but the Wahhabis will be happy. Purveyors of prudishness software don't go with a global setting, instead you have software that can be tuned for different parts of the world, including ones where female faces, legs and arms are sexualised and not allowed to be displayed. Currently we go with a wiki level of autonomy on this, and I am hoping that our universal code of conduct does something like that - such as allow each of our language level communities to set a prudishness level appropriate for the culture they operate in. ϢereSpielChequers 00:37, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
The timeline was shifted by two weeks, the draft is currently expected to by up for the comments on 7 September.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:47, 24 August 2020 (UTC)

Strategy transition design draft

I have been working for more than a month in the Strategy transition design group - a body of about 20 people who were working together to establish the principles to be used to design the events to implement the strategy recommendations. (Do not even ask me how I ended up to be part of the group). Anyway, now we have produced the draft: meta:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Transition/Events Outline/Draft. It is written for the whole movement, not just for the projects, and certainly not just for the English Wikipedia, so the language from our perspective can look a bit bureaucratic, and the text a bit (or sometimes too) unspecific. However, I would encourage all the users interested in the relation between projects and WMF, and generally in the development of the Wikimedia movement, to have a look, and, specifically, to look at whether the communities (in the language of the document, online communities) will be involved enough, how they will be involved, and how this involvement can be stimulated and improved. Whereas obviously there were many people involved in the creation of the draft, and these people have very different interests, the importance of involving the projects has been recognized by everybody as a crucial issue. What we are trying to avoid is the (unfortunately, common) situation when the projects are completely decoupled from the process, the process runs on, and at some point some decision taken without even thinking about the projects comes out of the blue and gets a (predictable) very negative reaction.

The draft has been posted on Thursday 6 August and will be open for comments until 20 August (my apologies for posting here only now, I was on holidays this week and just returned home). You are welcome to leave the comments on the talk page of the draft on Meta (where it will be directly read by the WMF people running the process), or here. I will be watching both pages anyway, and will somehow make sure that useful comments do not get lost. I can probably clarify things if needed.

For the full disclosure, whereas the process has been run by the WMF, I was never paid by the WMF, nor ever been a member of any affiliate. I participate in the group solely in my volunteer capacity.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:39, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

I did see this draft last week. I remember reading it, scratching my head, then wondering if it was possible for people, either as individuals or as a group, to simply opt out of this transition. I honestly don't understand how this is supposed to change things, only a vague dread that someone is going to use this to force me to change how I write articles & how I interact with other editors in ways I won't like. (And I wish I could say something constructive about this.) -- llywrch (talk) 05:48, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
If you had a look at the strategy recommendations earlier, there are quite a few things there which could affect our everyday life (I myself was very much worried, for example, by recommendation 9, which says we need to identify those project policies which are obstacles to increasing participation of underrepresented groups, such as notability). These things will be discussed at some point and we will better get ourselves involved in these discussions than do nothing and then have somebody coming to say we now need to amend our notability policy (with predictable consequences). The current draft is not about these recommendations and processes, but on how we organize the processes - which are two steps before someone will discuss the notability policy, but we better design the processes in the optimum way now.--Ymblanter (talk) 05:57, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
Reading that page and linked pages, it doesn't seem as if there is any option to discuss these "recommendations" any longer, the only discussion is on "how to implement them". Seeing that there was near-universal condemnation of many of these recommendations, including e.g. the "notability" thing, but that despite this, this is still included explicitly in the recommendations (which otherwise seem mostly interested in revenue, safe spaces, affiliates and as an afterthought content), I don't see why we should participate in a transition process towards recommendations which at best don't interfere with editing, and at worst make it harder to maintain a somewhat trustworthy encyclopedia.
See e.g. the Recommendations page: "On the following pages, you will find the final version of the movement strategy document" (emphasis mine): so no, these things are not open for discussion anymore, the best we can hope for is to remove some of the rough edges. Fram (talk) 08:13, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

For example, because of an inability to comply with notability and sourcing policies, some topics regarding under-and unrepresented communities, like indigenous people who have not historically held positions of power and could not build the infrastructure to document it by the same methods, are left out.

From meta:File:Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy Recommendations in English.pdf. Is this not the exact same thing that was proposed in the 2016 systemic bias RfC that was roundly shut down, and for good reason? Don't get me wrong, I completely understand why this is an issue, and it's an issue that needs to be looked at closer, but the one thing everyone on-wiki universally agrees on is that blowing up WP:GNG and WP:V is absolutely the wrong precedent to set to try and help that issue. And yet now the Foundation appears to be planning to just go ahead with it, seemingly unilaterally? That's extremely problematic. Nathan2055talk - contribs 08:28, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
See my reply below.--Ymblanter (talk) 08:36, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
(ec) Recommendations are itself indeed not open for discussion, we are talking about the implementation. Let me however use the same notability example to show why it could be useful. The notability (at least in my view, may be it is more complicated in the end, but let us stick to my version) made it there because there are groups saying that their history is not documented in reliable sources properly, and they want to use oral histories. This oral history proposal has been around since at least the 2009 strategy exercise, and was rejected as part of encyclopedia. We see that it made here again, as a result of advocacy of these groups. It can be implemented by creation of the dedicated project for oral histories, by hosting them at Wikibooks or Wikisource, or by requiring Wikipedias to relax their notability criteria. I guess most of us understand why the last route is not really acceptable, and if such a decision has been imposed on us it is going to be rejected. I am not sure everybody in the Wikimedia universe understand this (in fact, I am pretty sure of the opposite). But to make sure this decision has not been taken there must be some community feedback to the (yet to be defined) group created to work on this decision. If the group does not get this feedback, it may very well decide that this is a nice solution to a long-standing problem. Similarly, if the feedback is "all strategy recommendation is crap, we are not going to accept any of those" it is likely to be ignored (unless backed up by some consensus building mechanism such as RfC). What we are discussing now is the principles according to which such groups will be formed and according to which such feedback will be provided. People of course can decide that it is not worthwhile to do anything at this stage, but things can go wrong (similarly to how they have gone wrong in the past on so many occasions) so that I think it is more reasonable to follow the process from the beginning.--Ymblanter (talk) 08:35, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
But the "notability is needed for the encyclopedia" (as well as "but this could be a separate project, or part of Wkisource or some such) has been made in every single round of drafting by the people commenting there. And has been ignored by the drafters every single time and has now made its way into the final recommendations. The issue is not that they haven't received the feedbck, the issue is that they don't care about the feedback. Fram (talk) 08:48, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
Sure, and I was very vocal about this. I was myself not involved in the drafting of the recommendations, I guess this is just where the balance given the composition of the drafters. However, the choice is to either continue trying to influence the decisions (of which comments on this draft could be one important step) or just wait until the next thing comes out of the blue like rebranding. The choice is individual, my personal experience in this round is good, and I will be happy if there is constructive feedback on the suggested processes, but I also understand that some people may want to spare their time for something else and face the issues when they actually appear.--Ymblanter (talk) 08:58, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
I know, I'm not blaming you for any of this, I just have little faith in the process when one sees the history both of this, and of things like indeed the rebranding. Fram (talk) 10:30, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
  • Honestly, this is all sufficiently vague so as to be nearly meaningless. Bridge local contexts and individual perspectives. I mean... okay? I...I guess I agree with that? It's got about as much substance as saying "everyone is awesome". I keep getting told that "the substance is coming, just wait", but I'm still waiting...and it's been like a year. GMGtalk 22:57, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
    • I mean, feel free to ping me whenever we transition to something beyond verbose uselessness. We need a plan. So we planned to form a committee to plan a plan. And our committee decided we should form a committee to plan a plan for the plan. We've so far drafted 248 pages of guidance, and our plan to plan our plan is to form a committee to plan a plan. They recommend a series of committees, and also lots of buzzwords, so... uh... stakeholder, inclusivity, dependencies, contingencies, underrepresentation. And then everyone get's mad at me, like I'm being a jerk, as they motion to their ball of tape and string and say but we put lots of work into this useless thing and it's very multi-syllabic. GMGtalk 23:12, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
      • I mean, reading the outreach plan itself, it reads better than the "address-your-criticism-to-/dev/null" approach that the WMF has been taking. I trust that the WMF will take all feedback from this process into consideration, and reconsider as warranted. —Mdaniels5757 (talk • contribs) 23:24, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
        • Do you? I don't. What I've seen is that the only parts that are specific and actionable are the parts where the Foundation says "You can go to hell. We're doing it regardless." And the rest are just lots of words that say nothing. GMGtalk 00:07, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
          • Perhaps I didn't lay the sarcasm on that last sentence thick enough :). —Mdaniels5757 (talk • contribs) 00:53, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
    It took me three times, I'm not exaggerating, before I could finally read this document in a way that conveyed meaning to myself. In the end my assessment is largely along GMG's lines. Who can argue with things like "Ensure the possibility of participation for everyone in the movement." or "Create multiple opportunities for providing input to overcome barriers to contribution:" There's a whole bunch of bytes spent on small and large events, which sure. I guess ultimately there doesn't seem to be any substance to find objectionable so I do indeed find it basically unobjectionable. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 00:57, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
    Thanks to everybody here, very useful feedback so far, please continue.--Ymblanter (talk) 11:24, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
  • The problem with saying both "We intend to organize the events with the Movement Strategy principles at heart." and "Value all contributions in the Transition events." or "Ensure ideas are carried through, even if people join one event or are able to provide offline input only." is that you aren't saying whether this is a top down communication event where the WMF will communicate its new strategy to a wider audience, or a bottom up event where the community can challenge some of the things coming out from the strategy. At some point the intentions of the WMF will be clearer. I suspect that the true meaning is that "the WMF welcomes supportive comments and examples of where the strategy can be applied, but it will take a lot more than "join one event" to make a meaningful impact that challenges the WMF'd preconceptions and intentions". As ever the WMF has an extremely large turning circle for an organisation of its size. ϢereSpielChequers 11:47, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
Dear WereSpielChequers, thank you for sharing your concerns and trying to clarify the scope of the events. Transition events are not designed to be communication events. It is meant to be a platform for interaction across the stakeholders, including individuals from project communities and different sizes of affiliates. The idea is not to have all these conversations at one big event, but the plan is to have a series of events for deeper discussions building on each other. With the work on the recommendations the attempt was to get to a higher level where it is possible to reach a certain level of wider agreement or consent regarding the general direction of actions that would help us to overcome longstanding challenges or seize new opportunities. However, this means that the recommendations as they are, are somewhat theoretical / abstract and it needs to be clarified what the implementation would mean either globally or in different contexts (including online projects).
This is what the transition events are about - defining clearly and concretely how will the changes and actions be taken forward. I believe that there is a lot that people from project communities can contribute to these discussions, as we are now getting more grounded and practical. Implementation of the recommendations means real actions and some of them will affect in one way or another (as also Ymblanter highlights) your community. This means that it does not really make any sense to have these conversations without different perspectives coming from your community. This will help us all to make informed decisions on implementation.
I hear the concerns regarding previous engagement and integration of feedback. Or rather lack of it in our previous work. We really tried to learn from the shortcomings of the consultations in last August and September and I believe that some of the things were significantly improved for January-February consultations. I have shared some of my thoughts regarding challenges in community and online engagement so far on another thread on meta, which you can read and react to, if interested. Overall, we are trying to overcome the shortcomings with a more collaborative model of the design and this discussion about the events plan is exactly about that. Basically, we are trying to figure out how to have these conversations across the projects and organization in a better way and your feedback will help us to improve the design and plan, both for the virtual events themselves and possibly for on-wiki engagement around that. I hope it makes sense and I am available for further clarifications. --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 19:08, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
Hi KVaidla and thanks for the reply. Just to depersonalise things, I should explain that my involvement with the WMF goes back at least to the 2009 strategy process, and my comment about the size of the WMF turning circle is something I might have said several times over the years - it wasn't intended as a specific comment on the earlier stages of this strategy process. I have not been particularly involved in this particular strategy process other than as a GLAM and Commons person I'm aware that part of that project seems to have been written by someone who doesn't understand why NC and ND files are not a good fit with our movement. The problem as I understand it with this consultation is that at some point you will make it clear what elements are being consulted on, what elements are being communicated, and to what extent can members of the community continue as before. The risk for both the WMF and the movement is that the earlier stages of the Strategy process may have "baked in" some elements that would never have passed an RFC and got consensus in the community, and which may now be hard to stop even if there is a consensus to do so. ϢereSpielChequers 06:51, 12 August 2020 (UTC)
Yes, one of the ideas was indeed to have community feedback atintermediate stages to exclude this, the problem is of course that the English Wikipedia is the largest project but by far not the only one, and the question is how do we reach at least a majority holding representative views. (For example, I got a few questions at the Russian Wikivoyage, and they are about very different things than people are worried here).--Ymblanter (talk) 05:36, 13 August 2020 (UTC)
Thank you so much for following up and clarifying your concern and sharing further thoughts WereSpielChequers! Really helpful. Also thanks for chiming in here Ymblanter.
The choice not to have RfC on the recommendations was intentional. I feel that RfCs function well to tackle a specific and concrete topic, but do not really serve as well in a rich discussion that spans across a variety of themes and topics, which the 10 recommendations and 10 principles of movement strategy is about. For example, if you run a referendum in democratic society, usually the question is really well defined to prevent ambiguity and ensure that people who come to vote can get up to speed regarding the topic at hand to make an informed decision. Looking at the scope of the movement strategy process the peer review model seemed more fitting. I am happy to discuss this further as to improve or change the approach for the transition. Constructive engagement of people here and on other projects is really helpful.
Now to get back to the recommendations, even if we came short in responding to the community feedback, especially with the first iteration of the recommendations, the feedback was taken back to the working groups and it was considered. This resulted in significant changes in the recommendations, e.g. the proposal regarding licensing is no longer in the recommendations. This also meant that most of the recommendations were brought to a higher level where it was possible to get a sense of direction across the communities. At the same time there are indeed some controversial topics still in the recommendations. The reason for this is not that we did not hear the community feedback and simply overruled it, but the feedback from different communities and channels was conflicting. Also regarding many of these topics it became clear that the questions are not so much related to the concept, but rather on the how of implementation.
We have gone through an extensive process of creating the recommendations and we do not plan to change the recommendations. However they are recommendations - advise for action. This does not necessarily mean they will be fully implemented as they are and to be fair, as they are they are not detailed enough to guide a clear implementation. This means we need to have further conversations on them and this might include RfCs and will definitely result in further global conversations around specific topics (e.g. Universal Code of Conduct). This is much more meaningful and manageable than trying to tackle the recommendations in detail as a one whole set with the whole movement. In addition, the principles that serve as a guiding framework for the implementation, suggested by the diverse range of people who worked at the recommendations, include the principles of subsidiarity to make decisions at the most immediate or local level wherever possible and contextualization to recognize that there is not a single set of processes that are efficient and effective everywhere. It is essential to keep these principles in mind when working on the implementation plans.
For me the key point here is that when we discussed these topics on a theoretical level, it was ok to have the conversations with a smaller representative group to make progress (and it was challenging enough to work on the recommendations with nearly 100 people across 9 thematic areas). Also in this more theoretical stage we could afford some mistakes in consultations with the communities. Now that we come to the implementation, we can't really afford that and need to figure out how we can constructively engage a wider circle of people in these conversations to come up with contextually sound solutions for implementation. In addition we do need have the tough discussions about controversial topics and make difficult decisions that have been postponed so far in the process. This is why we have created collaborative transition design group and are consulting on the draft plan across the wikis. For example the discussion here is really helpful for finding better engagement models for the conversations ahead. I hope it makes some sense, and as said before - I'm happy to discuss things further. --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 09:16, 13 August 2020 (UTC)
I get the idea that an RFC needs to be focused on something much narrower than the whole of the strategy. But that shouldn't be a problem, you would just have the complexity of many different RFCs on the many different reccomendations. One drawback of not having an RFC at some point in the process is that an RFC requires a super majority, so an intent to skip them looks like a process that aims to impose some solutions that only have a bare majority of support or less. Combine that with the Strategy process having taken some obvious non starters far further than was sensible and at this stage you are playing catchup - telling people like me that the NC and ND issue has been dropped (in the 2009 exercise we had some real howlers that got through the first phase, but we then had an exercise that let "host the servers in space" and "an anthem for Wikipedia" be filtered out of the priority list). One tactic you might find worth investing in is going back through some of the debates from the last few months and updating people who insisted on free content that the NC/ND proposal has been dropped. For example a signpost article on the changes you have made due to community feedback would reassure some people that the dialogue was worthwhile, and reassure those people whose main concerns had been addresed. One of the problems that the WMF has to face is that bad news about it spreads rapidly as people try to mobilise against the latest WMF mistakes, but we are far less good at publicising uturns. ϢereSpielChequers 19:58, 18 August 2020 (UTC)
On the other hand, we have to be very cautions with RfCs: those which succeed are typically very specific and are very well prepared. If the question is not specific, people would start projecting their own expectations, some just because they do not trust the WMF, some because the question is not specific enough, or because they have some other ideas whatever - and then if RfC fails what do you do? (And this is not even talking about the complexity of having RfC involving many projects of different size and different governance structures). I think RfC should be hold when a specific product (like partial blocks) is to be implemented on a specific project, and for approving / killing strategic directions we might need some other instruments.--Ymblanter (talk) 07:10, 19 August 2020 (UTC)
Concern about "Events". Thanks for posting here, KVaidla (WMF). I am extremely concerned by the heavy emphasis on events and little on asynchronous communications. (Disclaimer: this is an original impression based on your comment above and skimming the document that YMB linked. I haven’t yet gone to the discussion that you linked, so might be reacting a little prematurely.)
The Foundation and affiliates seem to love their 'manias, conferences, get-togethers, office hours, and live clinics. But that's not how the online communities "in the projects" work. We operate through ongoing discussions and allow time for for people to engage when they are able. Events that require you to be available at a specific time that suits the timezone in one part of the world are not inclusive.
I would like to feel reassured by "we are trying to overcome the shortcomings with a more collaborative model of the design". But your phrase "possibly on-wiki engagement" (emphasis added) doesn’t fill me with optimism that community voices will be heard any more than they were earlier in the Strategy process.
Asking Ymblanter, since you were involved in the drafting process, whom do I thank for the inclusion of the following?

Keep spaces for on-wiki engagement where: People can use talk pages for discussion; Pages are open for editing on a continuous, wiki-basis


How can we get more online communities involved?

Pelagicmessages ) – (17:13 Thu 13, AEST) 07:13, 13 August 2020 (UTC)
I indeed stressed the importance of on-wiki engagement, but it is not that anyone objected, people are generally reasonable and understand the importance, it is just that not everybody right now actively involved with the projects, and thos who do not may have a different optics which might lead to different priorities. I do not know who has written this version of the draft, in any case one of our WMF coordinating team members. Today we have the next session, and the things might change (or might not change) based on the feedback we have received. In any case, I would not single out persons, the draft should be viewed as a result of the discussion of the whole group. In this sense I am responsible, as well as all other members, not only for the parts which are considered here as positive, but also for those perceived as negative.--Ymblanter (talk) 08:57, 13 August 2020 (UTC)
@Pelagic: I would add that the specific passages you have quoted were added to the document based on Meta comments in response to the Design Group's work session updates (specifically by Yair rand). I really hope we can pull as many perspectives as possible into the process, so kindly feel free to participate in the ongoing conversations on Meta as well --Abbad (WMF) (talk) 13:31, 17 August 2020 (UTC).
Dear Pelagic, thank you so much for ensuring that your concerns get clearly across (words "extremely concerned" really make the point :) ). As Ymblanter already noted, it has been a discussion topic in the design group and generally people understand that there needs to be clear space for on-wiki engagement. Big +1 from my side to "allow time for for people to engage when they are able" from your point, which is especially relevant during COVID times. This will definitely help us with the engagement, especially from project communities.
Regarding the design this means that we need to build information architecture to support a good flow of information from on-wiki to conference meetings and back to keep the conversations well synchronized and up-to-date. This will probably continue to pose language and translation issues - we have struggled in refining the language to be clear and concise, overuse of jargon words has been a constant feedback that we need to overcome - need for rapid transfer to online space will reduce the capacity of copy-editing even more, which is not helpful and creates a barrier for participation. Also there is turnaround time for translations, which makes timely publishing tricky and we lose out on a number of communities. Do you or others have suggestions how to tackle these issues? Do you foresee further issues that we need to keep in mind and plan for? Looking really forward to further work on the design for parallel event and on-wiki engagememt during the movement strategy transition. Thank you again for prompting this! --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 16:56, 13 August 2020 (UTC)

Finalists for the Wikipedia 2021 Main Page redesign.

This is a page for constructive collaboration between the English Wikipedia community and the Wikimedia Foundation. Anything unrelated to that goal, including jokes, belongs elsewhere (or in some cases, nowhere).
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

ANNOUNCE After an exhaustive search, the W?F has found two web designers who really understand what we are trying to do with our main page. Here are the finalists out of 1337 submitted front page designs:

We wish to thank all of those who voted.

Wait! Where was this vote?
We made it easy to find.
Easy? I had to go to W?F headquarters and go down to the cellar to find it.
That’s the user feedback department.
With a flashlight.
Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.
So had the stairs.
But look, you found out where to vote, didn’t you?
Yes. Yes I did. The ballot was on in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Leopard."

--Guy Macon (talk) 11:05, 8 February 2021 (UTC)

It is April 1 already? – Jonesey95 (talk) 14:25, 8 February 2021 (UTC)
The above joke was originally projected to be posted on 01 April 2019, but there were delays at the W?F end. No doubt they were busy working on this:
Extended content

On February 3 2006, it was reported to the WMF that our CAPTCHA system discriminates against blind people. See [ ]

This appears to be a direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and leaves Wikipedia open to discrimination lawsuits.


National Federation of the Blind v. Target Corporation was a case where a major retailer, Target Corp., was sued because their web designers failed to design its website to enable persons with low or no vision to use it. This resulted in Target paying out roughly ten million dollars.

I have been told that the proper way to present a proposal is through phabricator, but clearly this was not effective in this case. I do not consider 15 years of no answer to be reasonable behavior on the part of the WMF.

--Guy Macon (talk) 15:11, 8 February 2021 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.
It was nevertheless funny! – SD0001 (talk) 09:51, 12 February 2021 (UTC)
What makes it funny is that our main page is far too cluttered. The best parody is based upon truth, but taken just a bit too far. Alas, some Wikipedia editors hate fun. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:01, 15 February 2021 (UTC)
  • It's disappointing that an editor of Guy's tenure lacks the maturity to understand that openly mocking the WMF on a page designed to foster collaboration between the community and the WMF is not going to be productive. Yes, there are very real issues to resolve. No, making attacks here won't help solve them. If you really need to vent, go do it elsewhere. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 22:10, 14 February 2021 (UTC)
    • Although I have no problem with mocking the W?F when they deserve mocking (and despite the objection of apologists like yourself they sometimes do deserve mocking) you missed the target this time. It isn't the W?F that decides what goes on the main page. It is a small group of entrenched volunteers who get a lot of attention from creating clutter on the main page. The W?F gives us the page, but we can choose to put whatever we want on it. (presenting it as a W?F decision was part of the joke -- a part that went over your head with a mighty whoosh.)
As for the standard debating tactic of recasting legitimate criticism as some sort of moral failing, nobody is buying it. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:55, 15 February 2021 (UTC)
  • It was kind of funny though. PackMecEng (talk) 02:16, 15 February 2021 (UTC)


The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Hello, I just downloaded mw:Extension:DeleteUserPages and I don't understand what the instructions mean and what they want me to do. Is it because the extension is disabled on this wiki? If not, can I get help from someone? 54nd60x (talk) 11:45, 5 February 2021 (UTC)

  • This is a feature on the Wikimedia software itself that requires that an installation of the software (like the English Wikipedia) has this feature enabled. The English wiki doesn't allow users to delete their own page or any page, and it is against policy to ever delete a user's talk page except under exceptional circumstances. If you download the software and install it on a server, you can build your own Wiki and setup your own rules, but my guess is that all the Wikipedia language wikis do not allow users to delete any page directly, and require you tag your page instead, and an admin will delete it. The Mediawiki software is going to have a lot of features that are not enabled on this Wiki, which is common for large and complicated software packages. If you are wanting to delete your user page here, you need to tag it with {{speedy|u1}} at the top of the page. As for your talk page, admin won't delete it simply by request. Dennis Brown - 12:27, 5 February 2021 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.