[Foundation-l] Letter to the community on Controversial Content

Sue Gardner sgardner at wikimedia.org
Sun Oct 9 16:46:29 UTC 2011

On 9 October 2011 09:31, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 9 October 2011 17:19, Sue Gardner <sgardner at wikimedia.org> wrote:
>> Nobody wants civil war.
> I'm sure they don't actively want one, but it seems the board do
> consider one an acceptable cost.

It may seem that way, but it's not actually true. The Board's
conversation yesterday was thoughtful and serious: the Board members
take very seriously the concerns expressed by editors, and they don't
want to alienate them. We discussed Achim Raschka for example
specifically: he's a 70K-edit editor on the German Wikipedia with I
think 100+ good and featured articles. The last thing the Board wants
is for people like Achim to leave the projects.

>> Please read Ting's note carefully. The Board is asking me to work with
>> the community to develop a solution that meets the original
>> requirements as laid out in its resolution. It is asking me to do
>> something. But it is not asking me to do the specific thing that has
>> been discussed over the past several months, and which the Germans
>> voted against.
>> The Board is hoping there is a solution that will 1) enable readers to
>> easily hide images they don't want to see, as laid out in the Board's
>> resolution [1], while 2) being generally acceptable to editors. Maybe
>> this will not be possible, but it's the goal. The Board definitely
>> does not want a war with the community, and it does not want people to
>> fork or leave the projects. The goal is a solution that's acceptable
>> for everyone.
> But what happens in the event that such a goal cannot be achieved?
> Ting has made it very clear that they intend some kind of image filter
> to be implemented on all projects, regardless of community wishes. I
> hope the community will come around and accept some kind of filter,
> but if they don't then the WMF needs to accept that it has failed, do
> so gracefully, and not try to start a war that in cannot possibly win
> and will cause a great deal of damage.
> I think that if the WMF made it clear that they will not implement any
> kind of image filter on a project if there is overwhelming opposition
> to it, the relevant communities would be much more willing to engage
> in constructive dialogue.

Yes, I hear you. The Board didn't specifically discuss yesterday what
to do if there is no acceptable solution. So I don't think they can
make a statement like this: it hasn't been discussed. I hear what
you're saying here, but my hope is that even in the absence of such a
statement, people will be willing to join with the Wikimedia
Foundation to engage seriously on the topic and figure out a solution
that works.

I need to run -- I've got a meeting in the office with Ting, JB and
Kat. But thank you, Thomas, for your comments here -- I think they're
constructive. I would love for people on this list to help others
understand what's happening here. The Wikimedia Foundation does not
want a war: it is hoping for a solution here that is acceptable for
everyone. If the folks here can help editors understand that, that
would be a service to everyone, I think.


Sue Gardner
Executive Director
Wikimedia Foundation

415 839 6885 office
415 816 9967 cell

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