I just want to put in a bit of my opinion. This is simply my opinion.
I'm not speaking on behalf of anyone else in the department or at WMF.
Certainly, advocacy can be read as externally facing, and sometimes it
is. For instance, in the recent case of the takedown notice for the
article Tonga, advocating for the community meant pointing out to the
publisher their error, that the content they were trying to protect
was actually public domain. (see:
) This matter is also
one of advocating for the community with external forces:
Sometimes, the support needed is internal. For instance, the legal
department is currently researching questions related to copyright
matters to help craft community policies (by community request) on
both Commons and English Wikipedia. As people have pointed out, SOPA
was an incredibly rare event, and so was the action taken against it.
There's no reason to think that future actions in this vein won't be
As I've been serving as the Community Liaison for the Foundation since
May, it makes perfect sense to me that the two departments should work
together officially, because the work has been interconnected as long
as I've been onboard. I have been tasked to get assistance from the
legal department more than any other department or group in Wikimedia.
And any OTRS agent who works quality concerns knows that reader issues
(which often winds up meaning "article subject issues") sometimes wind
up needing legal review. Philippe, legal and the community have been
coordinating on these, I understand, for quite some time.
In terms of the institutional consideration of the voice of the
community, I think the fact that the Wikimedia Foundation has hired
not one, but two editors to bring community perspective to the
Foundation's work speaks to their interest in community perspectives.
:) Not that I kid myself in thinking that their hiring me last May was
an "aha" moment (nor their conceiving and advertising for the
"Community Liaison" role). But it does highlight that is not a new
On Fri, Feb 10, 2012 at 7:09 AM, Craig Franklin <craig(a)halo-17.net> wrote:
Firstly, congratulations to Phillipe on a very richly deserved promotion!
I'm sure that you will do very well in your new role.
However, I must concur with Lodewijk in stating that the idea behind the
new department is still not entirely clear to me. It's not about advocacy
and lobbying (except when it is), but I'm not sure what else it is supposed
to do or why it's organisationally near the legal department? If the
purpose is primarily to advocate on behalf of the community internally
within WMF, would that be because you feel that the voice of the community
has not been heard clearly in the Foundation previously? If so, this is a
step forward but it's regrettable that input from the community hasn't been
something that's been institutionally considered in the past.
Cc: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Announcement:
Building a new Legal and Community Advocacy Department & Promotion
it sounds great. Awesome. But still, it doesn't make much sense to me,
Saying people can 'edit' is of course bound to cheer people up - but if you
don't understand *what* you're editing, it is also bound to either become a
mess, or either just become what you pick it to become. I can't suggest
changes to team or actions if I am unable to grasp behind the very broadly
stated goals. Right now it is clear who is in the team, but honestly I
don't know you guys well enough to derive from that what you should be
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