Pine, I think you raise some important questions below. Obviously there has
been a lot going on in the last week, so I'd like to give this a "bump" and
add a couple points:
On Thu, May 1, 2014 at 12:17 AM, ENWP Pine <deyntestiss(a)hotmail.com> wrote:
Will the Foundation prohibit chapters and other thematic organizations
from the "creation of paid roles that have article writing as a core
focus, regardless of who is initiating or managing the process" as a
condition of receiving WMF funding and using the WMF trademarks?
I am not up to date on how often the WMF funds pass-through projects that
include Wikipedian-in-Residence-like roles. But to whatever extent it does,
I absolutely agree with Pine -- applying a litmus test of whether article
writing is a core focus would be an inappropriate oversimplification of a
complex subject. There are certainly cases where roles that are centrally
focused on article writing could strongly advance to the Wikimedia mission.
(In case anybody is surprised to hear me say this -- the concerns I voiced
about the paid editing aspect of the Belfer Center project were very much
based in the specifics of that case.)
I think carefully managed article writing can be done successfully by
chapters and other organizations, for example if a
Wikimedia DC wanted to
sponsor a Wikipedian in Residence at the National Institutes of Health to
improve articles about cancer. The responsibility for training and
supervision could rest with the chapter and the host organization, and the
edits could be tagged for community review.
Excellent example. There are of course ways such a project could be
designed that would be problematic -- for instance, insufficient
disclosure, or a bullish attitude in adding controversial points -- but
under the guidance of Wikimedia DC, whose board and staff include many
longtime Wikipedians, I would have a high degree of confidence they would
avoid such problems.
Pete posted some good ideas for WiRs in general in the Signpost last week:
Thank you, glad you liked that :)
The situation with Belfer had a lot of problems, but I don't think it
should completely stop us from having Wikimedia-sponsored WiRs add content.
That would be a bridge too far.
I want to point out something that stands out to me. This is not an
outright contradiction, but it's a puzzling contrast. In an unrelated
thread on this email list, Executive Director Sue Gardner recently said:
"Editorial policies [for WMF staff] are developed, and therefore also
best-understood and best-enforced, not by the WMF but by the community." 
That is the WMF policy as it applies to WMF staff: essentially, no special
rules, use your own judgment in interpreting how to best comply with
community standards. But here, in the report Sue authored, it seems there
is a very different standard for movement partners who seek funding or
endorsement from the WMF:
"In the future, the Wikimedia Foundation will not support or endorse the
creation of paid roles that have article writing as a core focus,
regardless of who is initiating or managing the process." 
Again: this is not a direct contradiction, and it is entirely within the
rights of the WMF to apply different standards to its own staff vs. to
other organizations. But I do think it deserves some careful consideration,
as to *why* such different standards would be appropriate.
Decision point #1 in the Belfer Center report is not something that is
based in any Wikipedia policy. It does have a basis in the Wikipedian in
Residence page on the Outreach Wiki. That is an important page, and I
believe many in the movement consider it to have the weight of a formal
policy; but I don't. Elevating it from a best practice recommendation to an
absolute rule is a significant step, and one that I don't believe should be