Ray Saintonge wrote:
Todd Allen wrote:
On 7/13/07, WikipediaEditor Durin
Several people have noted on en.wikipedia that
consensus on this
policy can not override Foundation resolution.
Hmm? Should be the other way around. Foundation resolutions cannot
override community consensus.
The Foundation pays for the servers, and owns the trademarks. If you'd
like to play by different rules than theirs, you can certainly arrange
your own hosting and grab a database dump, but you can't call it
Wikipedia and I doubt they're going to pay your hosting bill.
Sometimes I wish that people who responded to this kind of question did
not take a tone suitable to crushing a rebellion.
Certain issues are belt dealt with by the Foundation, and others are
best dealt with with by the separate communities. Whenever either goes
too far into the other's territory problems can arise. Because there
are assets and revenues involved there is a need for a corporate legal
structure that can manage the budget, and establish general policies
about what it will support. If it begins to micromanage the projects,
if it fails to provide them with the latitude needed to manage their own
affairs, if it accedes to the demands of some community members to make
decisions for the communities it will destroy those communities thereby
leaving itself in command of a single gigantic project without a soul.
In a sense the Foundation needs to remain a specialized internet service
provider. The communities need to develop their own policies through
the activities of their own members, and nothing requires any two
communities to have identical policy sets. Co-ordination and
co-operation between communities is nevertheless to be encouraged. If a
community is overrun by rampant anality it's up to that community to
pull itself out of the pile that builds up below that anus. The
Foundation can adopt a policy that it will not condone any illegal
activity within the communities, but it should avoid being the one that
searches out such activity or unilaterally determining that an illegal
activity has taken place. It must, however, act on specific complaints
in compliance with the procedural requirements set forth in law in such
a way as will allow both the complainer and the apparent offender their
The relationships are more complex than what can be expressed in a
simplistic statement about one having the right to override the other.
As anyone resident in a country with a federal system will know the
relationship between a central government and the governments of its
components is a rich source for conflicting opinions.
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I didn't say that the Foundation -should- micromanage, or that it would
be a good idea, and indeed I agree with you that in most cases it should
not. However, it should be supportive of those individual users which do
uphold those few policies which it does insist on (and realistically,
there are -very few- issues considered to be Foundation issues.) The
point I'm trying to get across here, however, is not that I think the
Foundation -should- micromanage, but that if it wants to, it can. This
is not the case of a federal system with a constitution, it's a case of
"I pay the bandwidth bill, so play by my rules on my server or hit the
Now, granted, if enough people take that invitation and hit the road,
there's a big problem. I think the current situation works very well-the
Foundation leaves very nearly everything up to the respective
communities, but has decided on a few non-negotiable issues, and
enforces those strictly. One of those issues is that we are a
free-content project. That's not negotiable, and that's also not
happening if we scatter nonfree material all over the place. They can
and should enforce that strictly; I'd be happy myself to see them say
"The Germans got it right folks, this is the FREE encyclopedia and
nonfree content has no place here." Until and unless that should happen,
we must at least keep it to a minimum.