Today, we are excited to announce the start of our building of a new
department called the “Legal and Community Advocacy Department.” This new
alignment recognizes that we can combine the best of legal and community
advocacy to foster new ways to advance the interests of the community
consistent with the goals and strategies of the Foundation. For details,
please go to http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Legal/LCA_Announcement.
As part of this reorganization, I’m pleased to announce that Philippe
Beaudette has been promoted to Director of Community Advocacy. We will
start engaging our community shortly and enter into a consultation period
with it to brainstorm how to build the department. We anticipate that it
will take us about 6-12 months to get the right team and drive the new
department at full speed.
The community is invited to join us on Friday for office hours to discuss
the new Legal and Community Advocacy Department. Details for the IRC chat
can be found at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/IRC_office_hours.
Please note: all replies sent to this mailing list will be immediately directed to Foundation-L, the public mailing list about the Wikimedia Foundation and its projects. For more information about Foundation-L:
WikimediaAnnounce-l mailing list
Since Wikipedia started in 2001, great effort has been put into
ensuring that it is readable, clear and understandable by visitors.
Good Wikipedia writing is clear, concise, comprehensive and
consistent. Excellent Wikipedia writing is, according to English
Wikipedia's featured article criteria, "engaging, even brilliant, and
of a professional standard". Wikipedia editors work hard to remove
buzzwords, unnecessary jargon, peacock terms, marketing-speak, weasel
words and other similar clutter from their work.
And it's not just Wikipedia: all of the Wikimedia projects aspire to
write clearly, neutrally and factually. English Wikinews says simply:
"Write to be easily understood, to make reading easier."
Sadly, documents and communication from the Foundation, from chapters,
from board members and so on often fall far short of these sentiments.
There are certain places where it is to be expected that communication
won't necessarily be clear: I wouldn't expect a non-programmer to be
able to understand some of the discussions on Bugzilla or
mediawiki.org, but the Foundation's monthly report is something
editors should be able to understand.
>From January 2012, under Global development's list of department highlights...
"India program: Six outreach workshops in January in partnership with
the community as part of an effort to increase outreach and improve
conversion to editing"
An outreach workshop... to increase outreach. Is that a workshop to
train editors on how to do outreach? Or is it a workshop for newbies
teaching them how to edit? Enquiring minds want to know.
Later on in the same document: "We concluded an exercise on distilling
learnings from all Indic communities and started the process of
seeding ideas with communities."
I was bold and changed "learnings" to "lessons". What is a learning?
How does one distill a learning? And "seeding ideas with communities"?
The idea, presumably, is the soil, into which one puts each different
community. I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.
This one is a howler from a subpage of the movement roles discussion:
"At the same time, for Wikimedia to adopt the best of the Olympic
movement would probably raise the bar on accountabilities for chapters
and other organizations"
Accountabilities, plural? I can understand accountability, the state
of being accountable to another. But I have no idea what
accountabilities are. Can you collect them like Pokémon cards? And how
would one raise the bar on accountabilities? Would that mean some
accountabilities can't quite reach the bar? (Also, the idea that we
could learn anything about accountability, singular or plural, from
the Olympics strikes me as hilarious given the extensive history of
corruption at the IOC.)
If you search on Meta, it is possible to find lots and lots of other
documents from the Foundation filled with corporate lingo. Projects
are 'scoped', and there is a list of 'deliverables' -- not just any
deliverables but 'specific deliverables' -- along with 'next steps' to
deliver, err, those deliverables while 'going forward'.
I can't be the only one who reads these things and whose brain stalls
or goes into reverse. There have been numerous things where I've had
to ask Foundation contacts to explain things in clear and simple
language to me. I don't think I'm particularly stupid or uninformed.
Nor do I think that the people who write in the manner I've described
do it consciously. But we do need to fix it. If well-educated,
informed native English speakers struggle with learnings and
accountabilities and so on, what about those who don't natively speak
English? When people see sloppy, buzzword-driven language, they wonder
if this reflects sloppy, buzzword-driven thinking, or perhaps
obfuscation. Clear writing signals the opposite: clear thinking and
I'm not suggesting we all need to write as if we're editing Simple
English Wikipedia. But just cut out the buzzwords and write plainly
and straightforwardly like the best writing on Wikipedia.
What can be done about this?
There seem to be two possible solutions to this problem: one involves
hiring a dominatrix with a linguistics degree to wander the San
Francisco office with handcuffs, a bullwhip, a number of live gerbils
and plentiful supplies of superglue, and given free reign to enforce
the rules in whatever way she deems fit. The other, which involves far
fewer embarrassing carpet stains, is to empower the community to fix
these problems. Have a nice little leaderboard on Meta, and encourage
community members to be bold, fix up bad writing, bad grammar and
buzzwords. Reward their efforts with barnstars and the occasional
thank you messages on talk pages.
Commit to clear writing by adopting a policy of "copyediting almost
always welcome" for chapter wikis, Foundation documents and as close
to everything as possible. There are volunteers in the movement who
happily spend hour after hour copyediting on Wikipedia and Wikinews
and Wikibooks and so on. Give them the opportunity to fix up the
language used by the Foundation and the chapters.
Remember: how can community members support and become more deeply
involved with the work of the chapters and the Foundation if they
can't understand what you are saying?
Yes, you are right! I forgot to mention you guys, so sorry! I'll punish
El 18-02-2012 22:31, "Mateus Nobre" <mateus.nobre(a)live.co.uk> escribió:
Wikimedia Brasil also have a project of indigenous language, the nheengatu
MetalBrasil on Wikimedia projects
(+55) 85 88393509
> Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2012 18:50:20 -0300
> From: osmar(a)wikimediachile.cl
> To: foundation-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org
> Subject: [Foundation-l] EFE: Indigenous languages entering Wikipedia
> Hi everyone!
> Yesterday, news agency EFE published a note about the work done mainly by
> foundation-l mailing list
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
foundation-l mailing list
JADP, but there's no keyboard-related reason for people to misspell my
last name as "Goodwin," which is something I've encountered my whole
life. My view is that it's normally best to tolerate the misspelling,
unless there's some particular reason I want to ensure that my surname
is spelled correctly. As someone who frequently must type in French,
German, or Spanish, I wish it were a little easier to get access to
accents and umlauts than it is on most keyboards I have to use, but I
also think there are bigger issues to worry about, most of the time.
The anglophone convention of typing, e.g., "Kurt Goedel" instead of
"Kurt Gödel", is common enough that English-language versions of
search engines will normally produce results for Gödel if you type in
The general rule of etiquette is, I think, simply to try to get
spelling (and pronunciation, and other things) right, and to ask the
person in question if you're unsure.
For example, although I don't believe I ever addressed Jan-Bart as
"Jan", I do know that I was uncertain early on whether there is a
hyphen in "Jan-Bart" (obviously, I figured out the answer to that
I had wanted to keep out of this, but this is the third or fourth time
that Jan-Bart has been referred to as "Jan". It was an understandable
enough mistake to make the first time, but it's been pointed out
enough now that that is no longer an excuse. We do not all have to be
best of mates, but it is not unreasonable that we all should show some
basic courtesy towards each other, and taking the time to get each
other's names right would be a good start.
If you feel that Jan-Bart is being condescending towards you, the best
solution to that problem is not more condescension thrown back in the
> Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2012 16:07:23 -0200
> From: B?ria Lima <berialima(a)gmail.com>
> To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Movement roles letter, Feb 2012
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> Provide me a link to work and I will gladly tell on wiki how much your idea
> sucks and how I come up with a better one without dismiss community opinion
> and being condescending like you.
> Here we can't solve anything.
> *B?ria Lima
I am sorry. I didn’t know this is your name and present you publicly my
more sincere apologies for misstyping it.
I personally know the sensitivity about this kind of issues. My name in
Catalan sounds completely different with accent than without. “Gomà” is a
quite extended and ancient Catalan surname while “goma” in Catalan means
rubber. I had to get used with this many years ago because in Spanish they
don’t have accents for capital letters that’s how many official documents
are written and more recently because in many computer keywords there is no
way to write "à".
I assure you that this mistake has been because I didn’t know and that this
won’t happen never again.
>Béria Lima berialima at gmail.com
>Thu Feb 16 04:09:27 UTC 2012
>Gomà called him Jan at least 3 times today and no one complained.
Thomas Morton writes:
> Politics is a game, a game that politicians are bred to play. I know this
> because, having spent several years helping fight stupid law making, I've
> seen all the tricks. And, boy, have we been played.
Dude, what am I? Chopped liver? I spent a huge part of my professional
life as a Washington. What's more, I actually know Cary Sherman of
RIAA. As in, I know him personally. We would recognize each other on
the street. My headline should be obvious -- I don't think we we were
played. Being effective in public-policy discussions is a learnable
skill, it turns out. You learned it. Perhaps you will allow for the
possibility I learned it too.
Of course the media companies are spinning this. The spin that Google
really is evil after all was an obvious if unimaginative choice.
But rather than declare this to be Amateur Hour (r), can't you allow
for the possibility that mass action got something right? Politicians
didn't think internet mass action mattered. Now they think it does,
and not just for fundraising or MoveOn or Tea Party campaigns.
Copyright and technology policy in Washington has been deeply screwed
up for some time. One path to fixing it it may be fine-tuning a phrase
or excising it from a bad law. On the other hand, there was this guy
named Martin Luther King who did not rule out mass action -- drew
inspiration from, amazingly enough, a lawyer from India. Who know that
lawyers could change public policy in a fundamental way, without
playing an inside game? The "inside" is as much literal as figurative
-- I'm talking about the Beltway, of course.)
Right now, best guess among policy experts is that SOPA and PIPA are
dead for the rest of the (political) year. That is not nothing. That
is something. And while preaching about the importance of Beltway
politics is almost always helpful, one occasionally comes across some
piece of writing that that has a foot in both worlds. I assume you
didn't enjoy the analysis written by this guy --
-- but he actually seems to make in that very piece. the point you
believe is so revelatory and breathtakingly iconoclastic. Maybe you
would find the piece interesting if you gave it another read.
Wikimedia Polska (Poland) has just launched its own scholarships
programme for Wikimedians willing to attend Wikimania 2012 in
Washington, D.C. This year, apart from up to 10 scholarships for
Wikimedians from Poland, we are also going to grant up to 6
scholarships for Wikimedians from other countries. Only countries
which have lower national income per capita than Poland (according to
World Bank 2010 stats) are eligible. We are particularly willing to
reach out to the Wikimedians from the former USSR countries (except
Estonia, which doesn't meet the income criteria) and from the Balkans
(except Greece and Slovenia, for the same reason). The scholarship
covers travel and accommodation expenses, as well as conference fee.
More details are available here: http://pl.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania_2012/en
The closing date for applications is March 9.
Tomek "Polimerek" Ganicz
> Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2012 18:12:46 +0100
> From: Sue Gardner <sgardner(a)wikimedia.org>
> And -- in the event the OP is still here, Joan Gom?, how are you
> properly addressed in person? I have heard people say things like
> "When does Gom? arrive in Paris" and I have also been using that. But
> you should presumably be addressed as Joan -- and presumably with the
> J sound pronounced as a Y?
Well I am a bit ashamed by all this attentions to this off topic issue. I
am used to many changes in my name but if you are curious this is the idea:
It is indifferent to use the name or surname. In Catalan it is much more
common to use the surname even among friends because the names are repeated
a lot but either is correct and usual.
"J" in Catalan is pronounced exactly the same as in English. It is
perfectly correct to pronounce Joan as in English. It sounds like if you
came from Valencia. In Barcelona it is pronounced Jooan the “o” sounds like
“oo” in book.