[Foundation-l] "Foundation issues"

Mike R tacodeposit at gmail.com
Mon Mar 2 21:19:40 UTC 2009

On Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 10:50 AM, Steve Smith
<sarcasticidealist at gmail.com> wrote:
> * at the very least, the WMF should clarify that its policy that no
> account is needed to edit does not preclude the default
> semi-protection of BLPs (or any similar configuration of flagged
> revisions).  This has been one of several stonewalling responses at
> en-wiki when protection of BLPs has been proposed: "Sorry, we can't do
> it; Foundation issue".

It's worth noting that the "f" in "foundation issues" as described at
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Foundation_issues is a lowercase "f".
The WMF didn't yet exist when the page was first created.

It's interesting to note the evolution of that page since it was created.

In 2004, the following five principles were described as being
"essentially beyond debate." "Any challenge to these issues" was
described as "usually ignored," and "people who disagree with them"
were said to "usually end up leaving the project."

1. "The 'wiki process' as the final authority on article content" --
Not always true.
2. "Ability of anyone to edit articles without registering" -- No longer true.
3. "NPOV as the guiding editorial principle" -- True on some projects.
4. "GFDL licensing of content" -- Not true on some projects, and it
looks like it may not be true on any projects at some point in the
5. "Jimbo Wales as ultimate authority on any matter" -- No longer
true, though he continues to wield considerable influence.

Here are the five "foundation issues" as presently listed:

1. "Neutral point of view as the guiding editorial principle"
2. "Ability of anyone to edit articles without registering"
3. "The 'wiki process' as the decision mechanism on content"
4. "Free licensing of content; in practice, defined by project, either
5. The Board of Trustees has ultimate authority on all matters
pertaining to the Wikimedia Foundation. By convention, Jimbo Wales
retains some authority on the English Wikipedia. On some projects, the
Arbitration Committees can make binding, final decisions such as
banning an editor.

While most of these are largely true, the idea of the existence of
"Foundation issues" that can never be contravened is largely false.
"Sorry, can't do it, Foundation issue" is an invalid argument.

Mike R

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