[Foundation-l] Wikipedia tracks user behaviour via third party companies #2

Michael Snow wikipedia at verizon.net
Fri Jun 5 22:24:02 UTC 2009

Aryeh Gregor wrote:
> On Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 5:22 PM, Michael Snow<wikipedia at verizon.net> wrote:
>> As I understand it, nobody is arguing that it's considered acceptable at
>> this point.
> Peter Gervai seemed to argue exactly that, unless I badly misread him:
> And so did Tisza Gergő:
Maybe it's just the lawyer in me, but I read those comments primarily as 
a defense against a perceived "prosecution" for allegedly violating the 
privacy policy. Not, and this is the distinction I was trying to get at, 
as positive arguments that this particular approach should be accepted 
going forward.
> I suppose it's arguable by the letter of the policy
> that sending the data to a server which only a single Wikipedian has
> access to isn't "release".  However, I think it's clear that the
> intent of the policy was otherwise, and Domas acted in accordance with
> established policy and with full understanding of the nature of the
> script he was removing.
I agree that regardless of whether there was a technical policy 
violation, the setup was problematic, and I trust Domas's judgment in 
addressing the situation.
> Also, there are multiple places where the policy vaguely and
> redundantly states that logs will not be publicized, in multiple ways:
> "is not made public", "will not be published", "is not reproduced
> publicly".  In general, there's a lot of repetition that makes the
> policy hard to draw firm conclusions from.  If you just saw those
> mentions, you might think it was just fine to reproduce it as long as
> it wasn't actually *public*.  It could use more precise and condensed
> wording.
Policies being what they are, at some level it must state principles and 
will not be able to anticipate every single case. Implementation then 
depends on people exercising judgment when those cases arise. Some of 
the redundancy is possibly for emphasis, or out of an abundance of 
caution, so that people don't think an exception arises when something 
is not explicitly stated. That being said, suggestions for particular 
improvements are always welcome.

--Michael Snow

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