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

Thomas Dalton thomas.dalton at gmail.com
Sun Oct 9 17:20:24 UTC 2011

On 9 October 2011 17:46, Sue Gardner <sgardner at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> 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.

If it's the last thing they want to happen, that would mean the board
would rather abandon the image filter than have people like Achim
leave. Is that the case? The rest of your email says they haven't
actually discussed that scenario.

>> 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.

That would be a good discussion for the board to have, and sooner
rather than later.

I would also hope that people will engage in constructive discussions
with the WMF, but I can understand why they would be reluctant to when
all the evidence so far is that the WMF doesn't really intend to

We had a "referendum" that didn't really ask any useful questions and,
unsurprisingly, the result we now have from it is that the WMF intends
to carry on exactly as it had intended to before the "referendum" was
held (you always said you intended to consult with the community on
the details of how it would work, so that isn't responding to the
community's views).

The community doesn't trust the WMF at the moment. A firm commitment
not to go against an overwhelming community opinion would go a long
way towards fixing that.

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