[Foundation-l] Reply to Mark

Nathan nawrich at gmail.com
Thu Feb 28 21:42:48 UTC 2008

This thread should probably have a more appropriate title.

As others have eloquently said, Wikimedia is about free - as in freedom. The
choice of where to meet, as participants in Wikimedia projects, should
without doubt take this principle into account. If a significant portion of
our community will be unsafe at a particular Wikimania location, then the
location should be changed (or should not have been selected in the first
place). I don't know, personally, if this is the case in Egypt - although I
accept that many have expressed on this list that this is a fact.

I disagree with Mark's belief that no accomodation should be made to foreign
cultures when we visit - I think it is reasonable to accept that not all
cultures view things the same way, and that some degree of relativism is
required in this regard. That isn't the same thing as agreeing with these
cultural principles, its simply a matter of respect for traditions based on
a different history. This applies to instances of public behavior - e.g. the
veil requirement for women in Saudi Arabia. Private behavior is different,
but again it is reasonable to expect that accomodations must be made.
Safety, of course, is exempt from accommodation - no one can be expected to
participate in an event where their safety is compromised simply because of
who they are.

Having said the above, if a difficult and objectionable accommodation must
be made by many community members simply in order to participate in
Wikimania... I submit that the location selection was in error, and future
selections should settle on Wikimania locations that do not require many of
our colleagues to act in a way they find uncomfortable.


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