On Thu, Nov 4, 2010 at 2:55 PM, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466(a)yahoo.com> wrote:
The "controversial content" study by Robert
Harris and Dory Carr-Harris was
completed a few weeks ago.
What is the board's view of the recommendations that resulted from the study?
Dear Andreas, and all,
I'm sorry we've been soooo slow to answer this -- it's a busy time. We
have been planning to post an update about the current status of the
controversial content discussion anyway, so thank you for asking the
Here is what happened at the last board meeting regarding
controversial content, and our planned next steps.
At the last in-person Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees meeting
in October, Robert and Dory Harris presented the study and its 11
recommendations to the Board. The Board expressed appreciation for the
thorough report and thanked them warmly for their work and for
soliciting community input throughout the process. Three hours of the
meeting agenda was devoted to this topic, and there was a lot of
discussion, with every board member expressing their reactions before
moving to open discussion.
For those who don't know what the recommendations are, the 11
recommendations made are listed in Part II of the study. The
recommendations fall into three types: recommendations involving
statements of principle (including the background principles),
recommendations requiring technical and Foundation support as well as
community support (such as those to code image show/hide functions),
and recommendations requiring community action (such as those to
In detail, Robert and Dory recommended that no changes be made to the
manner in which text-based “controversial” content is handled in the
Wikimedia projects, because the definitions and procedures currently
in place to deal with this content are working. They also made a
number of recommendations for action that falls within the bailiwick
of the Wikimedia community, including recommending that Wikimedia
consider development of a Wikijunior project and that Commons admins
consider how to improve implementation of some policies and how they
are applied. And they recommended that the Wikimedia Foundation staff
begin developing a new feature to allow Wikimedia project users to opt
into a system that would allow them to easily hide classes of images
from their own view.
In general, the Board welcomed many of these recommendations and the
care taken with this report, particularly the highlighting of some of
the fundamental unresolved questions about Commons mission, scope, and
Here are the next steps the Board is taking:
The Board did not pass a resolution on controversial content or take
other action on the suggested recommendations at this meeting.
However, the Board has formed a working group around controversial
content, led by Board members Jan-Bart (as group Chair), Phoebe and
Kat, to work with Robert and Dory to identify next steps.
The working group will be examining the recommendations more closely,
soliciting Board member feedback on each of the recommendations to a
greater degree than there was time for in the in-person meeting,
working with the community and finally making a report to the full
Board. The working group is expected to recommend next steps,
including providing fuller analysis of the recommendations, which
recommendations (if any) there is consensus to move forward on and
noting what would be required to put them into practice.
Right now the working group is getting Board member feedback to see
what Board consensus exists around the resolutions, and after
finishing this process will probably move on to analysis. We realize
that some of the recommendations are much more controversial than
others, and some are much more technically difficult than others.
==How to help==
We recognize that this issue has been discussed to death in many
forums over a long time. And the Board has been reading those
discussions :) However, we need further support. Please join us in:
* summarizing -- for those who are feeling ambitious, summaries of
discussions so far (from the lists and the wiki, particularly
summaries of discussions related to the specific recommendations)
would be amazing. There is a section added to the talk page of Part II
to summarize thoughts related to each recommendation:
* analyzing -- further analysis of the recommendations would also be
great. Feasibility analysis (both social and technical) would be
wonderful as well as analysis of underlying principles and ideas.
Please put analysis on the wiki above (and let's refactor if it gets
* working on the process -- is there a better way to come to community
consensus and to develop the best possible outcome, both practically
and philosophically, on this issue? Please share your thoughts.
* joining the group -- especially if you are interested in
facilitating these discussions, or in the above process question, join
the working group! Please write Jan-Bart, Phoebe or Kat if you are
interested. If you are interested but don't have much time,
participating in one of the above ways would be great.
These recommendations are made, ultimately, to the community -- so
please help decide what to do with them.
Let me/us know if you have questions.