This week, the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees unanimously
passed a resolution addressing the issue of controversial content on
the projects. The Board also unanimously passed a resolution
addressing images of identifiable, living people on the projects. The
resolutions are posted at:
These topics have been the subject of active debate on the Projects,
and particularly on Commons, for a long time. Last June, following
extensive community debate, the Wikimedia Foundation Board requested
the Executive Director undertake a study of the issue of controversial
content on the projects, acknowledging the difficulty of the issue
Robert and Dory Harris were commissioned to do this study, which they
did on meta in consultation with the community, publishing
recommendations in September 2010. Their report is available at:
At its October 2010 meeting, the Board was presented with this report.
The Board discussed the recommendations in depth, and developed a
working group to act on them. The working group's report was presented
at the Board's next in-person meeting, in March 2011; and these
resolutions were subsequently drafted and voted on. The working group
report has also been posted on meta, at:
Note that the controversial content resolution uses the term
"curation." We are using this term to refer to all aspects of managing
images and other content on our projects, including recruiting and
acquiring contributions and uploading, categorizing, placement of
images in articles and other pages (including gallery pages and the
main page), featuring or highlighting, flagging for improvement, and
deletion and removal. All of our projects are curated in line with
broad editorial principles; this is an essential feature that
distinguishes our projects from indiscriminate or general-purpose
Not all of the Harris recommendations are addressed in this
resolution. In particular:
* At this time, we refer the recommendation to create a WikiJunior
project to the editing community; the Board would like to see
demonstrated community support before creating such a project.
* In agreement with the Harris report, we do not recommend that
changes be made to current editing and/or filtering regimes
surrounding text in Wikimedia projects; we feel editorial mechanisms
regarding text are working well.
Finally, we urge that the community, the Foundation and the Wikimedia
movement continue to discuss the appropriate scope of Commons for
fulfilling Wikimedia's mission; this is a difficult and important
Thank you to everyone who has worked on this issue, and special thanks
to Robert and Dory Harris for their hard work.
-- Phoebe Ayers, on behalf of the Board working group and the Board
I'm taking part in an images discussion workshop with a number of
academics tomorrow and could do with a statement about the WMF's long
term commitment to supporting Wikimedia Commons (and other projects)
in terms of the public availability of media. Is there an official
published policy I can point to that includes, say, a 10 year or 100
If it exists, this would be a key factor for researchers choosing
where to share their images with the public.
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There is a request for a Wikipedia in Ancient Greek. This request has so far
been denied. A lot of words have been used about it. Many people maintain
their positions and do not for whatever reason consider the arguments of
In my opinion their are a few roadblocks.
- Ancient Greek is an ancient language - the policy does not allow for
- Text in ancient Greek written today about contemporary subjects
require the reconstruction of Ancient Greek.
- it requires the use of existing words for concepts that did
not exist at the time when the language was alive
- neologisms will be needed to describe things that did not
exist at the time when the language was alive
- modern texts will not represent the language as it used to be
- Constructed and by inference reconstructed languages are effectively
We can change the policy if there are sufficient arguments, when we agree on
When a text is written in reconstructed ancient Greek, and when it is
clearly stated that it is NOT the ancient Greek of bygone days, it can be
obvious that it is a great tool to learn skills to read and write ancient
Greek but that it is in itself not Ancient Greek. Ancient Greek as a
language is ancient. I have had a word with people who are involved in the
working group that deals with the ISO-639, I have had a word with someone
from SIL and it is clear that a proposal for a code for "Ancient Greek
reconstructed" will be considered for the ISO-639-3. For the ISO-639-6 a
code is likely to be given because a clear use for this code can be given.
We can apply for a code and as it has a use bigger then Wikipedia alone it
clearly has merit.
With modern texts clearly labelled as distinct from the original language,
it will be obvious that innovations a writers needs for his writing are
This leaves the fact that constructed and reconstructed languages are not
permitted because of the notion that mother tongue users are required. In my
opinion, this has always been only a gesture to those people who are dead
set against any and all constructed languages. In the policies there is
something vague "*it must have a reasonable degree of recognition as
determined by discussion (this requirement is being discussed by the language
subcommittee <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Language_subcommittee>)."* It
is vague because even though the policy talks about a discussion, it is
killed off immediately by stating "The proposal has a sufficient number of
living native speakers to form a viable community and audience." In my
opinion, this discussion for criteria for the acceptance of constructed or
reconstructed languages has not happened. Proposals for objective criteria
have been ignored.
In essence, to be clear about it:
- We can get a code for reconstructed languages.
- We need to change the policy to allow for reconstructed and
We need to do both in order to move forward.
The proposal for objective criteria for constructed and reconstructed
languages is in a nutshell:
- The language must have an ISO-639-3 code
- We need full WMF localisation from the start
- The language must be sufficiently expressive for writing a modern
- The Incubator project must have sufficiently large articles that
demonstrate both the language and its ability to write about a wide range of
- A sufficiently large group of editors must be part of the Incubator
*Please distribute widely*
*Call for referendum*: The Wikimedia Foundation, at the direction of the
Board of Trustees, will be holding a vote to determine whether members of
the community support the creation and usage of an opt-in personal image
filter, which would allow readers to voluntarily screen particular types of
images strictly for their own account.
Further details and educational materials will be available shortly. The
referendum is scheduled for 12-27 August, 2011, and will be conducted on
servers hosted by a neutral third party. Referendum details, officials,
voting requirements, and supporting materials will be posted at
For the coordinating committee,
Head of Reader Relations
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
415-839-6885, x 2106 (reader relations)
At the beginning of 2011, a group of us began working on a project to
explore alternative methods of citation on Wikipedia. We were motivated
by the lack of published resources in much of the non-Anglo-European
world, and the very real difficulty of citing everyday aspects of lived
reality in India and South Africa.
We are now at a stage where the project is almost complete, and we'd
like to share our work with the broader movement, especially within
India and South Africa.
There are three languages we worked within: Malayalam, Hindi and Sepedi.
The project page documents the process and logistics employed, as well
as the findings and results:
A film made on the project is available here:
There have been discussions on oral citations for some time now within
the language communities we worked with for the duration of the project.
At this stage, we are really interested in *your* feedback, either on
this list, or on the Discussion section of the project page.
There are still some things to come, namely:
- Updates on events, meetings and discussions held around the project
(as they happen)
- Updates on articles created in Malayalam, Hindi and Sepedi as a result
of the project (as they happen)
- English transcripts of the interviews and a full English subtitle track
for further translation (we could use some help here).
We would be very grateful to hear your feedback, and begin a broader
There has been a long discussion, with a certain lack of good faith,
after Seddon posted a geonotice intended to attract last minute
applicants from the UK Wikipedia community for the position of WM-UK
Chapter CEO. It would be helpful if someone from the Foundation could
confirm whether guidelines that might result from such discussions
would be considered binding in the future for WMF and whether the
geonotices service as supported by the Foundation might have
restrictions on how it can be used or expectations for how it should
be used and who ought to have final responsibility for the nature of
the content of such geographically related notices.
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