News and notes
RfC on joining lobby group; JSTOR accounts for Wikipedians and the article feedback tool
WMF RfC on lobbying
On June 28, the Wikimedia Foundation started a request for comment (RfC) on whether the community feels the foundation should participate in the Internet Defense League, a proposed lobbying organization with the goal of protesting future anti-piracy legislation.
According to the RfC, the organization to be launched aims to build a network of stakeholders interested in activism against legislation such as SOPA and the PROTECT IP Act. League members would be notified if protests such as the SOPA blackout (Signpost coverage) are proposed, but no one would be bound by their membership to take part in any action. The proposed network is a cooperative effort of Mozilla and Fight for the Future. Organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, WorldPress, and Reddit have already joined.
The WMF's legal and community advocacy department published an evaluative statement. While the proposal could turn out to be "very valuable", it says, the initiative involves many uncertainties yet to be clarified, and joining such a network might lead to perceptions that Wikimedia projects are becoming more political.
At the time of writing, two users have supported membership of the league, while more than 30 are opposed. Supporters pointed out that it is possible to deal with the problems raised and that membership would not be politically problematic. The opposers tabled reasons such as negative implications for the perceived character of Wikimedia as an educational organization and the questioning of our neutrality. Eight users were undecided, primarily saying that insufficient information is presented to judge the merits of such an initiative appropriately. The WMF asks editors to share their views at RfC's discussion page to ensure wide participation from its communities.
- 100 JSTOR for Wikipedians: On June 26, it was announced that the WMF is looking at an agreement over 100 JSTOR-accounts for Wikimedians. Applications for access can be filled at the project page.
- Article feedback tool: The fifth version will be expanded from 0.6% to 10.0% of the English Wikipedia's articles by July 3. Central notice information for the release will soon be available.
- Zedler Award: The VroniPlag Wiki, a wiki community examining and documenting the extent of plagiarism in German doctoral theses, has won the German Wikimedia chapter's Zedler award for free knowledge as the best external project in 2012. More details on the work of this community can be found in this week's Signpost analysis. The other two main category prizes – article of the year and internal project of the year – were awarded to the German Wikipedia article on the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the Austrian monument list project, aiming at the improvement and creation of Austrian monument articles. Two special rewards went to the flower of the week, an award for significant contributions to the project and its community, and the authors of the good article pizza boxes.
- WMF board resolution on board visitors: The WMF board of trustees published a resolution on its visitors. It was decided to formalize the 2011 experiment and have up to two visitors taking part in the board's meetings. Visitors will have significant content, financial or other relevant expertise.
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