[Foundation-l] Reply to Michael

Michael Bimmler mbimmler at gmail.com
Wed Feb 27 16:28:54 UTC 2008

Dear Philippe, dear all

First, I wish to emphasise that no individual contributor was
moderated. The thread was "killfiled" which means, that all responses
to the thread, be they from Jimbo, from you or myself are first held
for moderation, just due to being responses to a thread.

This inconvenience is necessary, as it is the only measure to stop a
off-topic / flame-war *thread* instead of a single person. Even if
your post had been "Stop answering this thread, it is off-topic", it
would have been held for moderation.

I agree with you, however, on two counts:

a) We should have communicated better about this and we should have
made it clear that the moderation is not directed against particular
subscribers. Austin already apologised for his delay in communicating
it and I join him in doing so. We will strive to do better.

b) There are messages to this thread currently in the moderation
queue, which have neither been approved nor rejected. The reasons are
this is the following: Obviously, Austin's reason why he killfiled the
thread (and I agree with his decision, fwiw) was that he wanted to put
an end to the discussion. Now, if we approved *some* messages to the
thread (i.e. all the messages from the very reputable contributors,
such as you, Anthere and many others) but rejected others, this would
rightly be seen as censorship. That's why I (and I presume Austin's
reasoning is similar, though I can't guarantee) did not approve any of
the messages.

An alternative might be to alter the "killfile rule", so that messages
to the killfiled thread are not simply held for approval but
automatically rejected. However, the software, as far as I can see,
does not allow for specific rejection messages. So, you would have
just gotten an email "Your message was rejected by the list
administrator", which would have been rather offensive as well.

My proposed solution for now is that next time we feel it necessary to
killfile a thread, we will do the following:

Post a clear notice to foundation-l which reads "Thread XYZ has been
killfiled due to reasons ABC, all replies to the killfiled threads
will be autorejected" and implement an auto-rejection system

I concur that the situation as is now (messages held up in the queue
"for ever") is insatisfactory. Would this solution find your approval
and the approval of the other subscribers?


On Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 5:13 PM, Philippe Beaudette
<philippebeaudette at gmail.com> wrote:
> Michael,
>  What about my message was incivil?  What about it was off-topic?  To have
>  that implied is offensive.
>  I don't mean to be aggressive, and pray that I'm not, but my message was
>  on-topic and exhaustively civil (I think you'll see that I work really hard
>  at civility) and it never went through.
>  I'm sorry, but this particular action has greatly offended me.  I sent a
>  private message to Austin yesterday but since he has not seen fit to respond
>  to it, I'm making it public below.
>  ~Philippe
>  Message that I sent to Austin follows:
>  Although I appreciate your mention that you apologize for not notifying the
>  group that the message string had been kill-filed, I want to go on record -
>  strongly - as saying that it was handled poorly.
>  I'm a solid contributor to this list.  I think that I rarely - if ever -
>  generate noise as opposed to signal.  I'm an administrator who is trusted
>  with OTRS access and have been a member of the election steering committee.
>  I think I'm the very definition of "trusted contributor".
>  It should be very clear to the moderators how absolutely offensive it is to
>  get a "message moderated" email for a list to which I have long been a solid
>  contributor.
>  This situation was bungled, and I'm amazed how badly.  You owe it to EACH
>  contributor who received one of those moderation messages to apologize to
>  them: individually.  An apology in passing in the last paragraph of an email
>  is insufficient.  You (or the software) could be bothered to send us a
>  message saying we weren't trusted to post to the list.  You owe us the
>  courtesy of an email of apology.
>  Philippe
>  --------------------------------------------------
>  From: "Michael Bimmler" <mbimmler at gmail.com>
>  Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 7:13 AM
>  To: "Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List" <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
>  Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Reply to Mark
>  > On Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 12:59 AM, Claudio Mastroianni
>  > <gattonero at gmail.com> wrote:
>  >>
>  >>  Il giorno 27/feb/08, alle ore 00:51, Oldak Quill ha scritto:
>  >>
>  >> >>>
>  >>  > And if the killfile was legitimate, why didn't you tell anyone until
>  >>  > 15 hours after you did it? Quite a few list regulars were involved, it
>  >>  > seems like basic respect to tell them that you did this.
>  >>
>  >>  I'll repeat it again: is this respect?
>  >>  The answer is "no".
>  >>
>  >>  Wikimedia, freedom of opinion? Nope: freedom to have the Board's
>  >>  opinion (it seems).
>  >
>  > This is a baseless insinuation. As Austin already pointed out
>  > somewhere else, we are not appointed by the board and we are not hear
>  > to defend the board from criticism.
>  > Foundation-l is a open forum, where everyone, including the board and
>  > its critics can utter their opinion. Our job is to moderate the
>  > discussion when it gets offtopic or incivil.
>  >
>  > Michael
>  >
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