This paper (first reference) is the result of a class project I was part of
almost two years ago for CSCI 5417 Information Retrieval Systems. It builds
on a class project I did in CSCI 5832 Natural Language Processing and which
I presented at Wikimania '07. The project was very late as we didn't send
the final paper in until the day before new years. This technical report was
never really announced that I recall so I thought it would be interesting to
look briefly at the results. The goal of this paper was to break articles
down into surface features and latent features and then use those to study
the rating system being used, predict article quality and rank results in a
search engine. We used the [[random forests]] classifier which allowed us to
analyze the contribution of each feature to performance by looking directly
at the weights that were assigned. While the surface analysis was performed
on the whole english wikipedia, the latent analysis was performed on the
simple english wikipedia (it is more expensive to compute). = Surface
features = * Readability measures are the single best predictor of quality
that I have found, as defined by the Wikipedia Editorial Team (WET). The
[[Automated Readability Index]], [[Gunning Fog Index]] and [[Flesch-Kincaid
Grade Level]] were the strongest predictors, followed by length of article
html, number of paragraphs, [[Flesh Reading Ease]], [[Smog Grading]], number
of internal links, [[Laesbarhedsindex Readability Formula]], number of words
and number of references. Weakly predictive were number of to be's, number
of sentences, [[Coleman-Liau Index]], number of templates, PageRank, number
of external links, number of relative links. Not predictive (overall - see
the end of section 2 for the per-rating score breakdown): Number of h2 or
h3's, number of conjunctions, number of images*, average word length, number
of h4's, number of prepositions, number of pronouns, number of interlanguage
links, average syllables per word, number of nominalizations, article age
(based on page id), proportion of questions, average sentence length. :*
Number of images was actually by far the single strongest predictor of any
class, but only for Featured articles. Because it was so good at picking out
featured articles and somewhat good at picking out A and G articles the
classifier was confused in so many cases that the overall contribution of
this feature to classification performance is zero. :* Number of external
links is strongly predictive of Featured articles. :* The B class is highly
distinctive. It has a strong "signature," with high predictive value
assigned to many features. The Featured class is also very distinctive. F, B
and S (Stop/Stub) contain the most information.
:* A is the least distinct class, not being very different from F or G. =
Latent features = The algorithm used for latent analysis, which is an
analysis of the occurence of words in every document with respect to the
link structure of the encyclopedia ("concepts"), is [[Latent Dirichlet
Allocation]]. This part of the analysis was done by CS PhD student Praful
Mangalath. An example of what can be done with the result of this analysis
is that you provide a word (a search query) such as "hippie". You can then
look at the weight of every article for the word hippie. You can pick the
article with the largest weight, and then look at its link network. You can
pick out the articles that this article links to and/or which link to this
article that are also weighted strongly for the word hippie, while also
contributing maximally to this articles "hippieness". We tried this query in
our system (LDA), Google (site:en.wikipedia.org hippie), and the Simple
English Wikipedia's Lucene search engine. The breakdown of articles occuring
in the top ten search results for this word for those engines is: * LDA
only: [[Acid rock]], [[Aldeburgh Festival]], [[Anne Murray]], [[Carl
Radle]], [[Harry Nilsson]], [[Jack Kerouac]], [[Phil Spector]], [[Plastic
Ono Band]], [[Rock and Roll]], [[Salvador Allende]], [[Smothers brothers]],
[[Stanley Kubrick]]. * Google only: [[Glam Rock]], [[South Park]]. * Simple
only: [[African Americans]], [[Charles Manson]], [[Counterculture]], [[Drug
use]], [[Flower Power]], [[Nuclear weapons]], [[Phish]], [[Sexual
liberation]], [[Summer of Love]] * LDA & Google & Simple: [[Hippie]],
[[Human Be-in]], [[Students for a democratic society]], [[Woodstock
festival]] * LDA & Google: [[Psychedelic Pop]] * Google & Simple: [[Lysergic
acid diethylamide]], [[Summer of Love]] ( See the paper for the articles
produced for the keywords philosophy and economics ) = Discussion /
Conclusion = * The results of the latent analysis are totally up to your
perception. But what is interesting is that the LDA features predict the WET
ratings of quality just as well as the surface level features. Both feature
sets (surface and latent) both pull out all almost of the information that
the rating system bears. * The rating system devised by the WET is not
distinctive. You can best tell the difference between, grouped together,
Featured, A and Good articles vs B articles. Featured, A and Good articles
are also quite distinctive (Figure 1). Note that in this study we didn't
look at Start's and Stubs, but in earlier paper we did. :* This is
interesting when compared to this recent entry on the YouTube blog. "Five
Stars Dominate Ratings"
I think a sane, well researched (with actual subjects) rating system
well within the purview of the Usability Initiative. Helping people find and
create good content is what Wikipedia is all about. Having a solid rating
system allows you to reorganized the user interface, the Wikipedia
namespace, and the main namespace around good content and bad content as
needed. If you don't have a solid, information bearing rating system you
don't know what good content really is (really bad content is easy to spot).
:* My Wikimania talk was all about gathering data from people about articles
and using that to train machines to automatically pick out good content. You
ask people questions along dimensions that make sense to people, and give
the machine access to other surface features (such as a statistical measure
of readability, or length) and latent features (such as can be derived from
document word occurence and encyclopedia link structure). I referenced page
262 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to give an example of the
kind of qualitative features I would ask people. It really depends on what
features end up bearing information, to be tested in "the lab". Each word is
an example dimension of quality: We have "*unity, vividness, authority,
economy, sensitivity, clarity, emphasis, flow, suspense, brilliance,
precision, proportion, depth and so on.*" You then use surface and latent
features to predict these values for all articles. You can also say, when a
person rates this article as high on the x scale, they also mean that it has
has this much of these surface and these latent features.
= References =
- DeHoust, C., Mangalath, P., Mingus., B. (2008). *Improving search in
Wikipedia through quality and concept discovery*. Technical Report.
- Rassbach, L., Mingus., B, Blackford, T. (2007). *Exploring the
feasibility of automatically rating online article quality*. Technical
I have asked and received permission to forward to you all this most
excellent bit of news.
The linguist list, is a most excellent resource for people interested in the
field of linguistics. As I mentioned some time ago they have had a funding
drive and in that funding drive they asked for a certain amount of money in
a given amount of days and they would then have a project on Wikipedia to
learn what needs doing to get better coverage for the field of linguistics.
What you will read in this mail that the total community of linguists are
asked to cooperate. I am really thrilled as it will also get us more
linguists interested in what we do. My hope is that a fraction will be
interested in the languages that they care for and help it become more
relevant. As a member of the "language prevention committee", I love to get
more knowledgeable people involved in our smaller projects. If it means that
we get more requests for more projects we will really feel embarrassed with
all the new projects we will have to approve because of the quality of the
Incubator content and the quality of the linguistic arguments why we should
approve yet another language :)
NB Is this not a really clever way of raising money; give us this much in
this time frame and we will then do this as a bonus...
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: LINGUIST Network <linguist(a)linguistlist.org>
Date: Jun 18, 2007 6:53 PM
Subject: 18.1831, All: Call for Participation: Wikipedia Volunteers
LINGUIST List: Vol-18-1831. Mon Jun 18 2007. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.
Subject: 18.1831, All: Call for Participation: Wikipedia Volunteers
Moderators: Anthony Aristar, Eastern Michigan U <aristar(a)linguistlist.org>
Helen Aristar-Dry, Eastern Michigan U <hdry(a)linguistlist.org>
Reviews: Laura Welcher, Rosetta Project
The LINGUIST List is funded by Eastern Michigan University,
and donations from subscribers and publishers.
Editor for this issue: Ann Sawyer <sawyer(a)linguistlist.org>
To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at
From: Hannah Morales < hannah(a)linguistlist.org >
Subject: Wikipedia Volunteers
-------------------------Message 1 ----------------------------------
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 12:49:35
From: Hannah Morales < hannah(a)linguistlist.org >
Subject: Wikipedia Volunteers
As you may recall, one of our Fund Drive 2007 campaigns was called the
"Wikipedia Update Vote." We asked our viewers to consider earmarking their
donations to organize an update project on linguistics entries in the
English-language Wikipedia. You can find more background information on this
The speed with which we met our goal, thanks to the interest and generosity
our readers, was a sure sign that the linguistics community was enthusiastic
about the idea. Now that summer is upon us, and some of you may have a bit
leisure time, we are hoping that you will be able to help us get started on
Wikipedia project. The LINGUIST List's role in this project is a purely
organizational one. We will:
*Help, with your input, to identify major gaps in the Wikipedia materials or
pages that need improvement;
*Compile a list of linguistics pages that Wikipedia editors have identified
"in need of attention from an expert on the subject" or " does not cite any
references or sources," etc;
*Send out periodical calls for volunteer contributors on specific topics or
*Provide simple instructions on how to upload your entries into Wikipedia;
*Keep track of our project Wikipedians;
*Keep track of revisions and new entries;
*Work with Wikimedia Foundation to publicize the linguistics community's
We hope you are as enthusiastic about this effort as we are. Just to help us
get started looking at Wikipedia more critically, and to easily identify an
needing improvement, we suggest that you take a look at the List of
Many people are not listed there; others need to have more facts and
added. If you would like to participate in this exciting update effort,
respond by sending an email to LINGUIST Editor Hannah Morales at
hannah(a)linguistlist.org, suggesting what your role might be or which
entries you feel should be updated or added. Some linguists who saw our
on the Internet have already written us with specific suggestions, which we
share with you soon.
This update project will take major time and effort on all our parts. The
result will be a much richer internet resource of information on the breadth
depth of the field of linguistics. Our efforts should also stimulate
students to consider studying linguistics and to educate a wider public on
we do. Please consider participating.
Editor, Wikipedia Update Project
Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable
LINGUIST List: Vol-18-1831
Given the large reserves that the WMF carries, and the savings from
cancelling events such as Wikimania 2020, I would have thought that the WMF
was one organisation that could afford to pause its fundraising for a few
months. At least in countries where the economy is in freefall.
In a few months time lots of people will still be in a financial mess. But
the large number of people who are currently going to be worried about
their financial future will hopefully be divided into those who have kept
their jobs. or got new ones and those who were right to be worried.
Hopefully some of those who come through this financially OK will be in a
position to donate.
On Tue, 5 May 2020 at 11:25, <wikimedia-l-request(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
> Send Wikimedia-l mailing list submissions to
> To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
> or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to
> You can reach the person managing the list at
> When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
> than "Re: Contents of Wikimedia-l digest..."
> Today's Topics:
> 1. Annoying ads (John Erling Blad)
> 2. Re: Annoying ads (Benjamin Ikuta)
> 3. Re: Annoying ads (Robert Fernandez)
> 4. Re: Annoying ads (Pierre-Yves Beaudouin)
> 5. Re: Annoying ads (Nick Wilson (Quiddity))
> 6. Re: Annoying ads (Samuel Klein)
> 7. Re: Annoying ads (Paulo Santos Perneta)
> 8. Re: Annoying ads (Paulo Santos Perneta)
> Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 4 May 2020 16:55:50 +0200
> From: John Erling Blad <jeblad(a)gmail.com>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
> Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Annoying ads
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> Often I surf Wikipedia without being logged in, and so I did right now. I
> got the usual banners, but this time they popped up repeatedly in several
> locations. This quickly gets extremely annoying, and I find it unwise.
> Create one banner, and stick with that. Several banners are simply way over
> the top.
I am writing to share some good news! After two years of brainstorming and
planning, our instructional website in Arabic is out! This is yet another
step for Wikimedia Israel in developing instructional tools.
We’re thrilled to introduce Wiki Warsha ويكي ورشة <http://wikiwarsha.org/>!
Wikiwarsha.org <http://wikiwarsha.org/> is a multimedia instructional
website designed to introduce Wikipedia to Arabic readers, to invite new
editors to write and edit content on Arabic Wikipedia, to assist teachers
in school activities, and instructors in editing workshops.
Warsha is the Arabic word for ‘workshop’, the website includes short
instructional films, texts and images and is divided into 13 informative
and instructional lessons:
Wikipedia homepage structure
About Wikipedia articles
Sign in to a registered account
Create a userpage
Create a new article
Edit an article
Formatting the article
Request edits approval on Arabic Wikipedia
Adding internal and external links
In addition to those lessons, the website contains informative sections
about copyright issues, FAQs, good article criteria, and talk pages, all in
order to facilitate understanding how Wikipedia communities function.
For further details and info:
Bekriah Mawasi [[user: bks-WMIL]]
I would like to share with you some updates on Wikimedia Foundation Board
governance, concerning board composition, annual planning, and more.
The past few weeks and months have been difficult for many of us as
COVID-19 changes our schedules and lives, but we are being really true to
the vision of “the world in which every single human being can freely share
in the sum of all knowledge”—on the whole the visits to Wikimedia projects
have increased by more than 30% over the past month. It is impressive that
the volunteer communities continue to produce the information that informs
everyone through graphs and data seen by millions and careful synthesis of
the medical and administrative facts. Wikimedia volunteers’ work is present
in top stories on the novel coronavirus. We volunteers do this despite the
need to tend to home chores, take care of kids and the elderly, probably
feeling depressed or fearing for our jobs, economy, health and the lives of
relatives and friends all over the world.
In these circumstances, it may seem odd to be hearing about board
governance updates, but those are still important, for the long-term
thriving of our movement. I joined the Board because I wanted to explore
ways of improving understanding between the Foundation and the communities,
and to help the trustees provide what was needed to our communities. No
Board will ever do this perfectly, and I know, as do we all, that there
have been occasions in the long years of the movement on which the Board
had not supported the Foundation and communities in the ways we all hoped
and needed. We as Board members want to play our part in building a
Wikimedia that will sustain our mission far into the future. Please forgive
the length of this message—it is a lot of things to share in one letter.
== Designing a better Board for Wikimedia ==
One of the most significant initiatives the Board worked on collectively
over the last year was to run an official Board governance review. In large
part this review was a response to direct requests for clarification from
the community over several years. I will explain a few of the
recommendations that came from this review, and the changes we are making
based on these recommendations.
In early 2019, the Foundation Board Chair and Executive Director
commissioned Board Veritas (named Taylor Strategic Partnerships at the
time) to review how the Board might more effectively support the goals of
the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia movement. Board Veritas was
chosen because of their expertise in the governance of U.S. nonprofits with
global operations and internationally diverse boards, as well as their
background in developing strategic comparisons with other not-for-profit
The resulting recommendations  centered on increasing the Board’s
effectiveness in fulfilling its governance responsibilities, including
improving the process for selecting Board members; developing greater
clarity around Board roles, responsibilities and accountabilities; better
leveraging the talents and skills of trustees in service to the
Foundation’s mission and strategic goals; improving trust and interactions
between the Board, the ED/CEO, and staff; and strengthening strategy and
The Board began taking steps to respond to the recommendations right away,
at a special meeting in July 2019 . At that meeting, we lengthened the
terms of Board officer and committee chair positions from one year to three
years, and we tasked the Board Governance Committee with the preparation of
proposals for how to implement additional changes.
We will have more to share in the near future when the Board will be
engaging broadly on the outcomes, but the first big planned change is
expanding the number of seats on the Board, from 10 to 16. This includes
increasing the current number of seats sourced from the wider Wikimedia
community (including affiliates) by three, for a total of eight
community-sourced seats. The majority of the Board and I feel that this
overall growth is necessary for us to increase our capacity to meet the
governance needs of the Foundation—and better reflect the growing and
diverse communities we serve with the increased number of voices from
== Community-selected Board seats ==
The voting process to select nominees for three Community-selected Board
seats was intended to open candidate submissions soon. In normal
circumstances this selection process occurs every three years and would run
this month. However, we feel that the widespread global impact from the
ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting strain on resources make it
unwise and unreasonable to continue the voting process on its planned
The selection process requires extensive effort from community members (to
read proposals, ask questions, be engaged and informed, and of course
vote); candidates (to write statements and engage with community
questions); the Elections Committee (to run the process, including
responding to questions and engaging across languages); Foundation staff
(to support the Elections Committee in running the process and coordinating
the work across all stakeholders); and the Board (to make high-level
decisions and follow the process, also across languages). Given the public
health crisis and the many extraordinary demands on every person’s time and
attention, we believe we can not expect or require the level of sustained
effort and engagement needed to hold a successful trustee selection.
We do not want to delay the trustee selection process any longer than we
have to, and we will continue to evaluate whether it is appropriate to
proceed based on the best information available to us. It takes time to
plan and run the selection, so once the postponed process can resume we
will still need to work out the best timing for it. It does not currently
seem likely that the process will resume before August 2020, but we are
committed to completing it before the end of June 2021.
In order to ensure sustained community representation on the Board, we are
extending the terms of the three community-selected trustees currently
occupying those seats (María, Dariusz, and James) for up to a year until we
are all ready to run the postponed process. I would like to thank them for
their service to our communities and dedication to our shared mission.
Note: The selection process is mandated by the Bylaws to happen every three
years according to a schedule and process set by the Board of Trustees. The
process last occurred in 2017, so if we determine that it is best to
postpone the process past 2020, this will require a modification of the
Bylaws. The necessary modification of the Bylaws will be part of
forthcoming recommendations as we learn more about when we can all dedicate
the necessary time to the selection process.
== Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan timeline ==
The Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan would normally be completed in April
and posted for your feedback in May. This year, the Board has provisionally
approved an extended and revised timeline for annual planning in order for
us to remain sensitive to global economic conditions and revenue
We are also adjusting the timelines and expectations for our affiliates
during this time. Our affiliates and user groups hold a lot of in-person
events and are transitioning some of their work online and having to
postpone or cancel some events entirely. We are all having to rethink the
next year and recognize that the adjustment is going to take time. This
pandemic is a changing situation and will affect parts of the globe
differently over time. We need to remain flexible during this time of
There will be future updates on annual plan progress from the Foundation,
but we wanted to let you know as soon as we could that the usual timelines
== Board meeting minutes & resolutions ==
Some of you have asked for minutes and resolutions from our recent
meetings, as we are behind in publishing these notes. I apologize that we
fell behind in this; once we were behind, it became harder to catch up, and
we have only now been able to read and approve them all. The minutes were
posted and you will find them on the Wikimedia Foundation Governance Wiki
. I shall update on this thread when they are all up.
Voting online to approve the minutes is not always possible, so we are
approving them during our meetings. The timeline of the expected publishing
of the minutes was too ambitious, and this would need to change. Amanda
Keton, our General Counsel and Secretary of the Board, will see to adopting
the practices needed and having support in place to help us review more
== To recap ==
* In early 2019, the Foundation Board Chair and Executive Director hired
Board Veritas to conduct a Board Governance Review, and we are sharing the
resulting recommendations .
* We are planning to expand the number of seats on the Board, from 10 to
16. This includes increasing the current number of seats sourced from the
wider Wikimedia community (including affiliates) by three, for a total of
eight community-sourced seats. This change will require changing the
Bylaws, especially regarding the selection pathway for the additional
seats. We plan to present the Board’s vision and hold a community
discussion as part of the process for the Bylaws change.
* We are postponing the trustee selection process by up to a year because
of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by up to a year, the resulting strain on
resources, and the added burden to our communities. And we shall be
modifying the Bylaws to allow for this revised timeline in the selection
process, if needed.
* We are approving an extended timeline for the Wikimedia Foundation Annual
* And we are posting the remaining backlog of trustee meeting minutes and
resolutions. After they are all up, I shall update on this thread.
As these are a lot of topics to talk about, please post your
thoughts/comments on the talk page of my message on Meta:
. It would be easier to have a structured discussion there, rather than
dozens of emails in this thread. Depending on interest and our shared
situation we might hold a video “town hall” to discuss more details of some
of these plans with you all.
Also we are currently working on an update to our 2016 statement on
community culture in order to reinforce our commitment to safety on our
projects. We look forward to sharing it with you in May.
Please take care of yourselves.
antanana / Nataliia Tymkiv
NOTICE: You may have received this message outside of your normal working
hours/days, as I usually can work more as a volunteer during weekend. You
should not feel obligated to answer it during your days off. Thank you in
There are some new updates and opportunities to engage with the Brand
project. Thank you to Lodewijk for bringing some attention to a few of
these opportunities. We were actively drafting this update for this group
when your email went out.
As Zack indicated in September, we have been regularly discussing with
the members of the brand network (which people can still join ) ideas
around an evolved brand system with "Wikipedia" as a center point. To
assist in this evolution of the movement brand, we chose to partner with
Snøhetta, an internationally renowned design firm known for working on
complex and multi-stakeholder projects like the modern Library of
Alexandria (Bibliotheca Alexandrina) and the 9/11 Memorial in New York
City. Snøhetta has been tasked with figuring out precisely what this
improved brand system will look like. They will release a proposed naming
convention for movement-wide feedback in April, and a proposed design for
movement-wide feedback in May.  The result of this process will be a new
branding system that will be opt-in for affiliates.
In order to have enough knowledge and context to arrive at these proposals,
Snøhetta is reviewing feedback from the many points at which it has already
been given, and has created a process with built-in community involvement. The
process thus far has included workshops in Norway, India and online with 97
volunteers from the brand network (movement affiliates, volunteers,
foundation staff, and board members) reflecting 41 nations. At the
workshops, community participants were asked to break into small groups to
answer the question "Who are we?". Through these workshops, groups
developed rich concepts* that they think best represent who we are as a
Now, we would like to invite you to review the 23 concepts that came out of
the community workshops by “liking” and providing feedback on the one(s)
you think best represent the Wikimedia movement. You can click on any
concept to see an expanded explanation and photos of the actual concepts
built or selected by workshop participants.
Approximate time to complete this exercise is around 10-15 min.
Feel free to leave feedback directly on Snøhetta’s website, on the project
talk page on Meta , or on the Brand Network , which will also be
available on Meta starting next month.
Snøhetta will use the feedback from the concepts to develop one single
concept to act as a tool that will help guide the proposals around naming
(expected for April) and around design (expected around May). They are
scheduled to begin reviewing feedback on Tuesday, 17 March, but can
continue taking feedback for a few more days if there is interest.
We also invite you to share what free knowledge means to you in Snøhetta's
open exercise. Please take a moment and share your thoughts in any of the
Finally, we want to acknowledge that we have feedback, from various points
in this process so far, from several communities and in several areas of
the wikis, including Meta. We understand that some people believe that we
don’t need this project. Our shared vision is for every single human being
to freely share in the sum of all knowledge -- and that means billions of
people. There are many people and cultures we still need to reach and
include. We will need a strong well known brand to achieve the goals the
movement has set for itself and we have a lot of work to do to get us there.
Want to learn more? Check out the project hub at brandingwikipedia.org and
the project page on Meta . Participate in discussions on the project
talk page, or by joining the Brand Network . Also feel free to drop us a
note at brandproject(a)wikimedia.org if you have questions.
(from the movement brand identity project team)
* What is a concept?
A tool making the complex more understandable.
Concepts make complex subjects more understandable. They manage to
consolidate vast amounts of facts, data and details into a singular
definition in its context. By creating concepts we allow ourselves to
acknowledge the complexity yet dare to step away from differences and look
for similarities that binds it all together.
*Essie Zar* (she/her)
Wikimedia Foundation <https://wikimediafoundation.org/>
Today, we are rescheduling the Naming Convention Proposal community review
planned for May 7 - 21, including tomorrow's live presentation. This
critical part of the Movement Brand Project is designed to share and
unifying naming proposals that would sustain our free knowledge mission far
into the future. 
We are incredibly excited to talk NAMES with our communities. We know how
important naming is to the Movement, and together we’ve made considerable
progress on options that would allow us to invite and inspire people to
join us. People join the movements that move them, and we want our Naming
Convention Proposals to be both functional and appealing.
We are particularly interested in “Wiki” as a potential direction, often
suggested by the community and widely used in our Movement. However, there
are significant practical issues with "Wiki" due to the relevant trademark
landscape. We do not want to present to you an option that we could not
make work. The fastest thing to do would be to remove it from the
possibilities, but we hear your preferences and we don’t want to do that.
Instead, we need more time to expand the research and risk evaluation with
our Legal team and the Board to fully understand what opportunities we
We recognize that changing timing may appear to avoid a necessary and
promised discussion. Nothing could be further from our intentions. We want
to meet our commitment to you to present the best options based on the
conversations we’ve had so far, instead of a more limited set of options
that we had to narrow in order to meet our deadline. We want to have more
exploration and clarity on the risks, costs, and rewards of naming changes
to share with you at this critical phase.
Collaborating with our Legal team and the Board, we will work to have more
details to share with you soon. The Project Team will meet with the Board
of Trustees during their May 22nd summit, and will follow up as soon as we
Yours in branding,
- Zack, Essie, Elena, Samir, Rupika and the entire Brand Project team
Zack McCune (he/him)
Director of Brand
Wikimedia Foundation <https://wikimediafoundation.org/>
With the Board’s recent statement, this seems like a good time to launch
the quarterly office hours I’ve been wanting to create for people who want
to talk to me about issues involving “community resilience and
sustainability,” including the work of Trust & Safety, whom I oversee.
(after months of wanting to do this I’ve come to realize that I will always
be "too busy" to feel like it's the perfect time for this. So I’m going to
do it now anyway!)
There’ve been requests to make office hours more personal, so I will host a
Zoom hangout where people can join me, but I'll also take questions from
Telegram and IRC. I know that finding an hour that works for everybody
is not going to happen, and I know from past office hours I’ve been
involved in that I may get far more questions than I can answer (or,
contrarily, nothing at all :)). Nevertheless, I will do my best to answer
questions posed to me in that hour by Wikimedians in good standing (not
Foundation or community banned) and to follow up in writing with any I
don’t have time for over the next few days or week or so, time allowing. I
might aggregate similar questions into a kind of FAQ. We’ll publish notes,
anonymizing those who’ve asked questions, after.
I do, however, have the following caveats:
I can’t and won’t discuss specific Trust & Safety cases. Instead, I can
discuss Trust & Safety protocols and practices and approaches as well as
some of the mistakes we’ve made, some of the things I’m proud of, and some
of the things we’re hoping to do.
I will not respond to comments or questions that are disrespectful to
me, to my colleagues, or to anyone in our communities. I can talk civilly
about our work even if you disagree with me or I disagree with you. I won’t
compromise on this.
I’m not sure if I will stick with Zoom as the way I do office hours
forever, but I am responding to some requests for spoken interaction while
also trying to provide text options for those who prefer. I admit to being
a little camera shy myself, so this is a challenge for me! If I embarrass
myself too badly, I may retreat to the safety of text in future.
I was hoping to have the Zoom link already, but while that’s being
expedited by our office technology team, I don’t have it yet. I wanted to
give interested people notice as soon as I knew the time. I’ll follow up
with links again at least two hours in advance.
The meeting will be on June 4th at 1800 UTC.
I hope to see you there.
 Zoom link; Telegram link: https://t.me/joinchat/DOlGIB1FRLUWqW9iB3qfTQ;
directions for participating in IRC:
Vice President, Community Resilience & Sustainability
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
This topic has been in the back of my mind for awhile. Occasionally it
comes up in conversations, and it has been discussed as part of the
2030 strategy process (see
I have a few early thoughts that I'd like to share.
I think that a global code of conduct, and a way to enforce it, could
be good in some limited but important circumstances:
(1) Where the governance of a Wikimedia project or another WMF conduct
review organization has allegedly been compromised so extensively that
removal of all of its administrators, functionaries, and/or other
authorities should be considered for the purpose of providing a
relatively "clean start" for reforming the affected domain's
governance, or a domain is allegedly becoming so anarchic that
peacekeeping from outsiders is necessary to restore order.
In none of these cases am I suggesting that outsiders should attempt
to get involved in content disputes or allegations of misconduct by a
small proportion of a site's administrators or functionaries.
By default, a global code of conduct committee should assume good
faith regarding local consensus and/or the actions of a local
arbitration committee, if they exist, and a global code of conduct
committee should by default assume that any local consensus decisions
and the decisions of a local arbitration committee are legitimate.
These default positions may be changed if there is significant
evidence suggesting that there should be a review of the situation by
(2) Where a steward, global sysop, Meta administrator, or other person
in a similarly "meta" online position has allegedly misused their
position, and other options have been exhausted or would involve
publicly revealing evidence for which there is a very strong reason
(3) Where the current Ombudsman Commission (see
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ombudsman_commission) has found fault
with actions that are under its authority to review and recommends
that individuals be sanctioned.
(4) In the circumstances where, presently, WMF asserts a global ban.
I would oppose the use of a global code of conduct or a global code of
conduct committee for:
(1) disputes which focus on one or a relatively small number of
individuals. A global code of conduct committee could easily be
overwhelmed by the number of cases, and I think that local
administrators and functionaries who have good knowledge of a
project's policies, guidelines, and language(s) are best placed to
address these disputes.
(2) content disputes.
(3) functioning as a thin layer of cover for WMF-driven actions or
acting as an extension of WMF.
(4) silencing debates or unwelcome opinions for the purpose of making
people feel safe. The Internet is not a safe place, and no amount of
heavy policing will effectively guarantee safety on a large scale.
Also, heavy policing can have the effects of stifling uncomfortable
debates and providing cover for incompetence and corruption. This is
not to say that we should accept people trying to bully newcomers or
publish political propaganda on content pages, but I think that these
issues are best resolved locally and the norms for them are best
created locally. In some cases, problems with content may be resolved
as a secondary effect of resolving problems with conduct.
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )