On Mon, Aug 23, 2021 at 8:22 AM Andreas Kolbe <jayen466@gmail.com> wrote:

The corruption of the Croatian Wikipedia began in 2009 and became front page news in Croatia in September 2013. The term "fake news" hadn't been invented yet, but the Croatian Education Minister issued a public warning to the country's youth in 2013 that they should avoid the Croatian Wikipedia, as much of its content was "not only misleading but also clearly falsified". 

So I can't agree that this "was perceived, rightly or wrongly, as less of a problem" at the time. It's hard to imagine how it could have been more prominent. 

Your initial paragraph contradicts your conclusion. ("The term 'fake news' hadn't been invented yet....") While it is generally true that what happens in Croatian Wikipedia normally affects the whole world instantaneously (constrained only by the speed of light!), this may have been one of the rare instances in which Croatian Wikipedia problems didn't ignite a universal outcry in all places, everywhere, about disinformation. 
So it was all the more welcome that the WMF finally did something this year and commissioned an expert to write a report, after a decade of complaints from media and the volunteer community. 

I love your interpolation of the word "finally" -- never let an opportunity for moral criticism go unexploited! 
The costs of doing this now will hardly have been prohibitive. Commissioning a report like this would have been well within the WMF's means in 2013 as well. (The WMF reported a budget surplus of $13 million in 2013.) So I stand by my assertion: the WMF could have done then what it has done now, but lacked the will, or courage.

And when you were working for the Wikimedia Foundation those years, or serving on the WMF board, how did your own exercise of moral courage persuade people to adopt your point of view?  I'm certain, given your convictions, that you didn't just stand idly by on the sidelines, hurling the occasional moral critique on mailing lists!