New RfC  has been opened on Meta. Here is the description and one suggestion.
* * *
Stewards had short discussion at their list and came to the conclusion
to start the discussion how stewards could help to make life of
Wikimedians easier. It is mostly about small wikis and rules around
them. The idea is to make those rules more simple and more accessible
to editors of small wikis. Other ideas are welcome, as well.
''(Make your own suggestion inside of separate section.)''
== Admin and bureaucrat permissions ==
As admin and bureaucrat permissions shouldn't be a big deal, I suggest
* Regular temporary adminship could be given once on three months. If
user is active and willing to keep admin permissions, after three
months she or he would get permanent permissions.
* Bureaucrat permissions shouldn't be a big deal as well. One
long-term active user should get them if necessary. Otherwise, let's
say, if wiki has at least three active users and at least 80% support
(in the case of less than 5 users, 100% support is needed), bureaucrat
permissions would be given.
* Inactivity: all permissions on small wikis could be lost due to
inactivity. Let's say, no edits for 6 months would be treated as
[[Category:Requests for comments]]
I just recieved this e-mail while I'm not enigble to vote and not able to
remove myself from the list.
I guess if I recieve it more people that aren't engible will recieve it.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Wikimedia Referendum, 2011 <improve(a)wikimedia.org>
Subject: Image filter referendum
To: Abigor <Abigor(a)forgotten-beauty.com>
You are eligible to vote in the image filter referendum, a referendum to
gather more input into the development and usage of an opt-in personal image
hiding feature. This feature will allow readers to voluntarily screen
particular types of images strictly for their own accounts.
Its purpose is to enable readers to easily hide images on the Wikimedia
projects that they do not wish to view, either when first viewing the image
or ahead of time through individual preference settings. The feature is
intended to benefit readers by offering them more choice, and to that end it
will be made as user-friendly and simple as possible. We will also make it
as easy as possible for editors to support. For its development, we have
created a number of guiding principles, but trade-offs will need to be made
throughout the development process. In order to aid the developers in making
those trade-offs, we need your help us assess the importance of each by
taking part in this referendum.
For more information, please see
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image_filter_referendum/en. To remove
yourself from future notifications, please add your user name at
Webhosting the wicked way.
Just a quick notice that this Thursday the 18th at 17:00 UTC there will be
an IRC office hours with Sue Gardner. We haven't set a specific topic, so
feel free to come with your burning questions in mind. ;-)
As usual, instructions and other notes are available on Meta.
Fellow at Wikimedia Foundation
On 8/16/2011 12:51 PM, wjhonson(a)aol.com wrote:
> I don't believe your claim that you can take something which is PD, make an exact image of it, slap it up in a new work of your own (enjoying copyright protection automatically) and then claim copyright over that PD image in your work.
> Copyright applies to the presentation of your work, showing creativity. An image that you reproduce faithfully shows no creativity and can enjoy no new copyright, no matter how hard you push your view. That's it. Period.
> So I can freely copy any PD image, from any source, and not need to worry about copyright violation. PD doesn't change simply because a PD item is republished. The presentation of the item is copyright, not the item itself.
I personally agree with that. However, it often costs more to prove your
right to use something in court than to knuckle under if an aggressive
rights owner comes after you. This is especially true when you are
planning to distribute your own work worldwide - just getting a letter
from the publisher telling you that they either give you the right to
use an image or have no rights over that image is necessary before your
work will be accepted by a publisher or distributor.
> An additional minor quibble. At least in the US a person does*not* need to reapply for copyright each time they revise an item. Copyright is an automatic process, merely by the fact of presenting something in a fixed media. You*can* file a copyright. You do not*need* to file a copyright, in order to enjoy copyright protection under the law.
I also agree with you - except that the registered version has an
ironclad protection you can protect in court while revised versions
afterwards may not be so easy to protect unless they are also
registered. It becomes a kind of "chain of custody" issue. If I were to
create something original and show it to no one else for 50 years until
I published it and died 5 years later, which would apply to the
copyright expiration date - date of author's death, date of creation or
date of publication?
In the real world there are many examples of published books and
screenplays that could clearly be seen as derivative - even plagiarized
works from one or more unpublished sources. This is a big deal within
the Writer's Guild and the reason for their online system of protecting
manuscripts by registering before a work is shown to others.
One of the most (in)famous books in American Religion is "The Book of
Mormon", parts of the first edition of which were (alleged to be)
plagiarized from the "Manuscript Story" and arguably violated the 1790
Copyright Act. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon_Spalding The work
has been revised at least nine times (not counting translations) to make
it "fit" the theology of the modern day church.
My attention being caught by the sitenotice to the image hiding
referendum, I came to read the 29 May 2011 board "Controversial
content" resolution . And I was astonished. I have two main
A) The principle of least astonishment was one compound in a set of
balanced principles, limited to a very specific scope: the management
of redirected titles . It was not meant for contents other than
titles. I am afraid the WMF board is adulterating a good limited
principle into a broad obscurantist ideology. I am afraid some people
will read "content (...) should be presented to readers in such a way
as to respect their expectations" as meaning that they are entitled to
censor anything that does not fit their preconceived ideas.
B) Is there a philosopher aboard the plane ? Did-it not occur to
anybody in the board that astonishment and knowledge are synonymous ?
If you are against astonishment, you are against knowledge. Learning
is about being astonished. When you are told again something you
already know, you are not learning. When you are told something
important you did not previously know, you are astonished. If you
believe that the Earth is the center of the world, and Galileo tells
you that it is not, you are astonished. Galileo raised a controversy
and his theory was a controversial content. In Plato's dialogues, the
master never stops astonishing his students .
Chapters are geographic entities, I don't think they have a role in disputes
about Commons templates. As for the controversial content referendum, I
suspect some chapters or proto chapters in Islamic countries will be
strongly for having such filters. But the content filtering thing is a
Foundation initiative. If you want to judge the chapters look at the things
they are achieving - I'm a Londoner and I think that having a chapter helps
with our collaborations with the British Museum and other UK Museums. Yes
you can have a GLAM initiative without a chapter, but sometimes it makes a
difference - some institutions want to talk to a local organisation not a
local volunteer or a US organisation.
Details as to what the United Kingdom chapter has been getting up to are at
http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/Reports - I don't know where you are from but
if there is a chapter there I suggest you look up their reports.
As for the money issue, we need local national if we are to get charity
status in different tax jurisdictions. In some countries that may not mean
much money, but here in the UK it is a big opportunity. If you look at other
international charities you will find that creating national organisations
is not an unusual strategy.
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2011 14:14:11 +0200
> From: Teofilo <teofilowiki(a)gmail.com>
> Subject: [Foundation-l] Wikimedia chapters' raison d'?tre?
> To: foundation-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> Wikimedia chapters are not only an example of what should not be seen
> in Wikimedia projects (an "institution[...], of any kind, [...]
> claiming to represent [...] individuals" ) they also absorb funds
> and hire people, pushing with more weight the goal to make money (a
> salaried person expects his/her salary to be increased by X % each
> year) which is different from what a volunteer based project should
> They aslo are de facto put in a position where people expect them to
> perform decision making. It is already bad that they deprive the
> communities of a decision making of their own, and take volunteer
> seats at the WMF board of trustees, but they don't do the job. See
> . If the chapters showed that they are helpful in doing things better
> than what volunteer communities alone can do, they could prove that
> they are useful. But I am afraid they are not doing this. If they are
> not present when we need them...
Wikimedia chapters are not only an example of what should not be seen
in Wikimedia projects (an "institution[...], of any kind, [...]
claiming to represent [...] individuals" ) they also absorb funds
and hire people, pushing with more weight the goal to make money (a
salaried person expects his/her salary to be increased by X % each
year) which is different from what a volunteer based project should
They aslo are de facto put in a position where people expect them to
perform decision making. It is already bad that they deprive the
communities of a decision making of their own, and take volunteer
seats at the WMF board of trustees, but they don't do the job. See
. If the chapters showed that they are helpful in doing things better
than what volunteer communities alone can do, they could prove that
they are useful. But I am afraid they are not doing this. If they are
not present when we need them...
Re "(is anyone really going to say that they don't think it's important to
be culturally neutral?)" That depends on what the referendum means by
If it will be interpreted as meaning that the setting of filters will be
neutral between all cultures, so Moslems will be able to use it to filter
out pictures of Mohammed and those cartoons; whilst other religious groups
will be able to filter out things that offend them, then I would have
But if it is meant to be read literally as for example a culturally neutral
porn filter that somehow comes up with a common denominator between a Saudi
Arabian definition of porn and a Papuan one then I would oppose it. Some
cultures regard breasts, faces, ankles and midriffs as erotic and require
then to be covered in ordinary wear, others don't. A single culturally
neutral porn filter would probably be far more prudish than some cultures
would expect, and insufficiently prudish for others.
The Mahomed cartoons are a good example of something that is monoculturally
offensive as opposed to multiculturally so (arguably they have become
multiculturally offensive because they are known to be offensive to Moslems
- but there will be other things that are offensive to various individual
cultures but are not multiculturally offensive because people from other
cultures would need an explanation as to why one culture found them
> Message: 3
> Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2011 19:57:25 +0100
> From: Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton(a)gmail.com>
> Subject: [Foundation-l] Image filter referendum
> To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> I've just been looking at the image filter referendum. Could someone
> from the Foundation please explain what you hope to gain by holding
> it? The questions are extremely leading, so I doubt you will learn
> anything useful from it (is anyone really going to say that they don't
> think it's important to be culturally neutral?). Are you hoping to
> determine people's priorities by seeing which ones they rate as 10 and
> which as merely 8 or 9? If so, why? Can you not just implement them
> My understanding was that this referendum was intended to give the
> community some say in what happened with this proposed feature. The
> questions you are asking don't do that in the slightest. If you want
> to be able to say the feature has community support, you need to
> actually ask the community whether or not they support it.
One element of the discussions on "Movement Roles" was about other /
new entities within our movement, aside the already existing
Foundation and the Chapters, which I prefer to call "national
Wikimedia organizations". I would like to present to you here my idea
of "Language Contact Persons" who form a link between the Foundation
and the Wikipedia language versions.
== New entities?==
James Forrester and his group (sorry, I don't remember who was the
official primus inter pares) presented in/before Haifa a list of new
kinds of Wikimedia entities:
* Chapters not based on national boundaries, but subjects such as
railways, art, ethnic cultures, mathematics etc.
* informal groups
* Official partners, e.g. a museum we (the Foundation? a national
Wikimedia organization?) that already exists outside our movement
I myself, and also some people I have talked to, are very sceptical
about such new entities. I believe that in theory it is possible to
create and maintain them, but in practice there can come up a lot of
problems. Imagine that a group wants to join that is occupied with
Marxism, or Zionism, or other potentially controversial subjects. And
then groups with antimarxism, antizionism etc. What subjects exactly
(and what kind of behavior) do we want to allow? And what actual
problem we would try to solve with such new entities?
One particular question is the organization of ethnic or linguistic
groups which cannot have a national Wikimedia organization (chapter),
but which also cannot or don't want to integrate into existing
national Wikimedia organizations. The best known example are the
Catalans together with the Scottish Wikipedians (or just some of
== A concrete problem to be solved ==
I must mention here my personal interests. I am an editor of Wikipedia
in Esperanto, a small, transnational language that never can have a
national Wikimedia organization. We Esperanto-Wikipedians can also not
easily integrate into existing national Wikimedia organizations
because we live in many different countries, where other (national)
languages are dominant. So, as an Esperantist I would like it very
much to see a Esperanto "chapter" of Wikimedia, but as a Wikimedian in
general I am afraid that it would open a box of Pandora.
Thinking of practical problems, I remember that we small language
Wikipedians often don't have good connections with the Wikimedia
organizations. We don't know well how to make use of the existing
material and other ressources. And the Foundation and the national
Wikimedia organizations know little of us. When I go to the Foundation
and ask whether we are allowed to use the logos for a flyer in my
small language, then the Foundation might ask itself: *Who is this
Ziko, can we trust him, does he speak for more people than only
== Language Contact Person (LCP) ==
I would like to suggest a small solution to solve a part of the
problems. Every language version of Wikipedia should designate a
"Language Contact Person" for relations with the Foundation (and
national Wikimedia organizations). This LCP is to be elected by a poll
with the same requirements as for admins.
A deputy LCP is also to be elected, in order to replace a LCP when
necessary. If one of both is no longer active, it will be the task of
the remaining one to take care of a new election of that other
You know, originally it is often an admin who represents a language
version in one way or other. But that is not really the task of an
admin, and other people might be a suitable LCP but are not
interesting in becoming an admin. The LCP would be only a liaison
officer, he won't "officially represent" the language version. Like
adminship it will be less a position of honour but of work.
The LCP has to report to the Foundation about the language version and
its community and outreach, monthly or at least once a year. (Think of
my "Tell us about your Wikipedia" project on Meta.) And when the
Foundation wishes to contact that language version, for example when
it needs a translation or wants the whole movement to know about
something important, the LCP is the best way to take care of that. The
LCP knows the village pumps and mailing lists etc. of his language.
So, in future, Casey Brown does not have to search and contact all
those language versions and their activists, but will simply post to a
common mailing list of all LCPs and they will do the rest.
On the other hand, when the Wikipedians of a particular language
version have a specific problem and seek for help from the Foundation,
they can do that most efficiently via their LCP.
Of course, a LCP is not only useful for small languages. Think of
Spanish, a global language. Some Spanish speaking countries have a
national Wikimedia organization, others have not. A Spanish Wikipedia
LCP can be the coordinator of a flyer in Spanish for all of the
Spanish speaking countries.
== Experimental phase ==
My suggestion is that the Foundation asks the Wikipedia language
versions to elect LCPs (and their deputies). After a year, the
Foundation evaluates the experiences with the LCPs, whether they
really make communication more efficient or not. Then,
* the LCP system can remain the same as it is,
* or has to be abolished because it caused more work than it helped,
* or the system will be given a more formal basis, with the LCP
getting a higher status or more tasks, or even becoming the nucleus of
language based formal Wikimedia organizations.
Maybe the LCP experiences can be of value with regard to Wikimedia
projects such as Wikisource, Wikibooks etc.
Please let me know what you think about the possibility and potential
usefulness of Language Contact Persons.
Ziko van Dijk