Amir E. Aharoni wrote:
(Short intro: I am User:Amire80, editor in Hebrew,
Russian and English
Wikipedias, and sysop in the English one.)
The whole article about Amnon Yitzhak, a well-known and controversial
Jewish preacher, was deleted from the Hebrew Wikipedia.
It happened after Wikimedia Israel received a letter from an attorney
representing Yitzhak, which requested to remove allegedly defamatory
material from the article.
The article was deleted and recreated without older versions. For the
short time that these versions were available, it was possible to see
that the article was not any more defamatory against Amnon Yitzhak
than an average newspaper or television item about him. The editors
who worked on it were not vandals and the material was reasonably
sourced. Now it's impossible to see that, too (unless one is a sysop
Nevertheless, the bureaucrats of the Hebrew Wikipedia chose to salt
the article with an explanation similar to WP:OFFICE.
The problem is that it is doesn't seem to be a case for WP:OFFICE.
Wikimedia Israel is not the main Wikimedia Office, but only a small
local association, which is just beginning its life. In any case, as
far as my understanding of jurisdictions goes, Wikimedia Israel cannot
be held responsible for the content of the article and neither the
I am sincerely sorry to be a "schtinker". That's a Yiddish word for
"informer". The bureaucrats of the Hebrew Wikipedia are excellent
contributors, thanks to whom the Hebrew Wikipedia is one of the very
best projects of the WMF. But i am quite sure that they made a mistake
in this case. Wikipedia must not censor out sourced material after one
feeble legal threat so easily.
Many respected editors of the Hebrew Wikipedia voiced their opposition
to this deletion, but the sysops do not agree to restore the deleted
versions, saying that they won't do it without proper legal advice.
This is understandable; so - can someone from the Foundation Office,
who has experience with BLP legal situations help the Hebrew Wikipedia
sysops to solve this problem?
Thanks in advance.
There are different points in your emails, and I would like to take each
points in turn.
First, Wikimedia Israel is not the first chapter to receive legal
threats and mails from a lawyer. When this happens, the best is to
inform the Wikimedia Foundation Legal Counsel.
Second, Wikimedia Israel is not the host provider of the website, as
such, it should not be threatened for activity of editors on the
website. The host provider is Wikimedia Foundation. The right step to
take is the inform the lawyer contacting Wikimedia Israel, that
Wikimedia Israel is an independant organization, not a sub-organization
of WMF, and that the legal request should be addressed to the Wikimedia
Foundation. Several chapters have already been concerned, and have
developped templates letters. The best is to ask them for the template
and translate it.
Third, since Wikimedia Israel is not the host provider of the project,
but simply an association of users, it should be very careful of not
providing WP:Office. WP:Office should come from Wikimedia Foundation.
Naturally, for communication purpose, Wikimedia Israel can help
communication between editors, sysops, WMF etc... but it should make it
clear, for its own legal protection, that it is not in charge of content
Fourth, administrators and bureaucrats should also clearly understand
that they do not have to "obey" a request from Wikimedia Israel.
Fifth, the community of editors, or sysops, or bureaucrats (depending on
how you are internally organized) should be the ones deciding and
implementing the deletion of an article if THEY feel it is too
illegal/diffamatory. If it is their decision, they should not label it
WP:Office. It would be a community decision, and an entirely fair
decision to make of course !
Sixth, I tend to understand the position of bureaucrats and sysops,
refusing to undelete the information ! Once, we had the problem on the
french wikipedia. Someone added illegal information. Later, an ip
removed the illegal information, and a sysop restored the information
removed by the ip. Infortunately, the police is now seeking information,
NOT about the original author of the illegal content, but about the poor
sysop who unfortunately restored the wrong content !
So, I understand them hesitating to restore the content if it is REALLY