[Foundation-l] Wikimania and the Muhammad pix

Dan Rosenthal swatjester at gmail.com
Sun Feb 24 03:19:17 UTC 2008


Not even that bad of a scenario, what about waking up to the New York  
Times headline: "Egypt Bans Wikipedia Convention Over Muhammad Pics  
Controversy"? What happens then to the various plane tickets, hotel  
reservations, scholarships given out,  etc? What about the press furor  
that will come over that? Or what if it's "Egypt Police Arrest  
Wikipedia Convention Gays?" How do we assist the arrested wikimanians?  
Do we condemn the actions? How do we protect the remaining Wikimanians  
in that event? Or "Wikipedia Convention in Egypt Marked by Protests  
Against Jews"?  What are the contingency plans? What is the press  
response? What are the answers to any of dozens of important questions  
that need to be asked about these very real potential threats?

These are important concerns that need to be discussed and should not  
be dismissed as anti-egyptian rhetoric, or dealt with by threats of  
moderation. This is the signal that's being lost in idle noise about  
theoretical Wikimania Icelands. More importantly, we shouldn't be  
condemned for being concerned with the safety of our fellow  
Wikimedians instead of blase dismissals.

This is the debate we tried to have months ago during the Wikimania  
bid, and it was ignored by the Alexandria team, just as it's been  
ignored now. I want to know: Has the Alexandria team thought about the  
possibility of these events? What actions do they intend to take? What  
risk do they think there is of these events happening? What do they  
have to say about the US, UK, and Australian government's travel  
advisories about Wikimania? Have they made plans already for police  
protection from protestors? If not, what plans have they made?

These (and more) are questions that I want to see answered by whoever  
is in charge of setting up Wikimania.


PS: for those of you who have problems with my views on this topic,  
consider actually discussing them with me privately. "Tattling" went  
out of style in grade school.

On Feb 23, 2008, at 9:47 PM, Chad wrote:

> Florence:
> I'm going to say it one last time: please do not dismiss potential
> concerns simply because we're "Neutral." Many people have
> claimed neutrality before and it's burned them. Belgium before
> World War II being a notable example.
> To be perfectly honest, I doubt that any of the non-Western
> governments give a crap about NPOV. You can say "But it's
> educational and we don't decide editorially what to put in
> en.wiki" until you're blue in the face. It doesn't change the
> way it's perceived. And, unfortunately, it currently looks to
> portions of the Islamic world that the WMF is dismissing
> complaints made due to a difference in religious ideology.
> Just imagine the PR from the headlines "Wikimania contributors
> gunned down by Islamic extremists." Now, I'm not wishing this
> on anyone, nor do I hope we ever have to discuss the fallout
> from such a situation, but there are places in the world where
> the actions taken by some people can create headlines such
> as this.
> The board would be wise to properly investigate the security
> situation in Egypt or potentially face the risk of having done
> nothing and then having to cope with the fallout because of that.
> I believe most Wikimedians would be fine with a canceled, postponed
> or relocated Wikimania if it meant they'd all be a bit safer.
> For the community,
> Chad
> On Sat, Feb 23, 2008 at 9:08 PM, Florence Devouard  
> <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> Oldak Quill wrote:
>>> Hash: SHA1
>>> On 23/02/2008, Florence Devouard wrote:
>>>> It should not matter what the political advocacy of our
>>> governments are.
>>>> It should not matter where we come from. It should not
>>> matter whether we
>>>> are gays, or muslims, or newyorkers.
>>> As far as I know, where we come from, our sexual orientation or our
>>> religion doesn't matter to us. Wikimedia has no restrictions on who
>>> can edit based on any group that they belong to. There hasn't been  
>>> any
>>> suggestion that this should or will change.
>>> The concern is that there are places in the world which, due to the
>>> national government it falls under, care about where we come from,  
>>> our
>>> sexual orientation or our religion (or lack thereof).
>>> - --
>>> Oldak Quill (oldakquill at gmail.com)
>> This was not my point at all.
>> A previous editor made it a point to oppose US (wikipedians) to  
>> Egypt,
>> insisting that Egypt government did not share our values, and  
>> giving it
>> as an argument for wikimania not to be held in Egypt.
>> I am not convinced at all China government shares our values.
>> I am not convinced either France government shares our values.
>> I am not even convinced the USA government shares our values.
>> If we start giving as arguments for not going somewhere, the fact the
>> government does not share our values, then we will not ever go  
>> somewhere.
>> I can perfectly realize that some countries are not as respectful  
>> than
>> others about differences between people. That does not mean I think  
>> we
>> should accept divisions of groups of people per countries within our
>> community.
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