[Foundation-l] Moderation and this list

Brianna Laugher brianna.laugher at gmail.com
Sat Dec 22 04:26:52 UTC 2007

On 22/12/2007, Jimmy Wales <jwales at wikia.com> wrote:
> I am unsure what we should do about foundation-l.  It has become a
> sewer.  It is difficult to balance our very strong desire for an
> unmoderated forum where people can feel comfortable making strong
> criticisms (nothing wrong with that!) with a forum where trolls are
> exhausting a lot of good people and spreading misinformation due to the
> inability of others to keep up with the sheer volume of malice.

I strongly agree that something needs to change, but I am not sure what.

The requirements to keep up with foundation-l are too high for most
Wikimedians to accept. foundation-l is frequently too irrelevant, too
esoteric, too flame-filled, to expect people who are motivated to
spend most of their wikimedia-time creating content in the projects,
to play along. This is a problem when it seems that foundation-l is
the main way (??) that the Board gauges "community reaction".

This is a bit of a broader issue, but think about the GFDL/CC-BY-SA
licensing issue. Discussion about it has more or less died out now but
there are still many unresolved issues. It is something that needs to
continue to be discussed.

There are a few things that could happen.
1) Split foundation-l into several mailing lists for different
purposes. copyright-l would be a good start. board2community-l may be
another. :)
2) Introduce other mediums of communication, to complement or replace
mailing lists, such as message boards (forums) or blogs. Forums have
the ability to "pin" important topics at the top which could be
useful, and also offer an ability to offer feedback on a posts'
relevance *without actually replying to the post*. Mailing lists lack
3) Introduce more guidelines about what's appropriate in terms of what
community members can "demand" from WMF Board and staff, where the
"openness" limits lie. I don't think staff should be subject to
arbitrary interrogation from mailing lists, maybe with some exception
for the ED. Or if the ED is required to write monthly-or-so reports to
the mailing list, that could be a good alternative to any


They've just been waiting in a mountain for the right moment:

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