[WikiEN-l] I am Danny

daniwo59 at aol.com daniwo59 at aol.com
Sun Mar 12 00:45:17 UTC 2006

Having read through these long posts, I thought I would introduce myself  for 
those who do not know me, and tell you a little bit about what I do. 
My name is Danny Wool. I am 42 years old. I am one of two and a half  
employees of the Foundation--the others are Brion, who deals with hardware and  
software issues, and Monica, an intern, who assists me in the office. In past  
incarnations of my career, I have worked as a writer (I have a book coming out  in 
a few months) and as staff in a New York City Museum. I have considerable  
experience in the not for profit sector. 
I am also active in various Wikipedia projects, and have been for a rather  
long time. Officially, my user ID is in the 500's though I made anon edits  
before getting an ID. I have about 30,000 edits in the Wikipedia namespace. I  
have also been involved in some of the high profile Wikipedia policy cases,  
including helping to lift a life ban against one user, who is now  contributing 
rather amicably to Wikipedia. I can usually be found in mIRC on  #wikimedia, 
and I occasionally pop in to #wikipedia where my moniker is usally  dannyisme. I 
also contribute to several other languages, some more than others,  and to 
some of the other projects as well, most recently to Wikisource.
Officially I work five days a week, though I am usually in the office at  
some point or another seven days a week. On a standard weekday, I arrive in  the 
office at 8 am and leave sometime after 6. Of that, at least one-third of my  
time is spent answering phone calls, between six and ten an hour. People who 
are  involved in OTRS (the system by which the Foundation responds to email  
complaints) will have some idea of the kind of phone calls I receive. It is  
really a mixed bag, and some of them are quite funny. They include people trying  
to contact celebrities (no, I do not have Vana White's home phone number), to 
 people mistaking us for various companies (no, we cannot supply a new 
carburetor  for your Ford Pinto in Swaziland), to people asking for advice (no, I do 
not  know how you can get the coyotes out of your backyard), to "eccentrics"  
(no, I do not know what God meant when he spoke to you this morning)--all of  
these are real phone calls--to press (lots and lots and lots of those). 
There are two additional types of call that I get. One type is from people  
concerned about their articles. In these cases, I will attempt to assist the  
person myself, or ideally, to find someone on IRC who can assist them, though  
there are also times when I am forced to tell people that we cannot help them. 
 Sometimes, they get upset. This happened most recently on Friday when a PR 
firm  called to insist that we allow them to put up press releases about their 
clients  as protected wikipedia articles. I said no. They said yes. Etc. Often 
there are  very happy results, as happened with a prominent television 
commentator, who is  now an ally of Wikipedia--I will not give names, but it was 
worth the half hour  I spent with him on the phone. This kind of phone call 
happened all the more  frequently when the Senate story was brewing.
Finally, there are the legal phone calls. These come in two varieties.  
People I can speak with, understand their problem, and resolve it, and people  that 
I cannot help. Of the latter kind, one good indicator is when people call  
and say "What is your fax number." I ask them why and they tell me that they are 
 sending us a fax. I tell them I would like to know who they are before they 
send  us a fax, and they tell me that they do not want to say who they are. I 
then  tell them that I cannot give them our fax number. That is when they 
identify  themselves as a lawyer and they are suing us. As instructed by our own 
lawyers,  I tell them that our fax number can be obtained from our website--we 
are not  obligated to make it easy for people to sue us. The discussion 
Above my desk is a Roy Liechtenstein picture of a woman crying with a  
caption that reads "I should have called my lawyer." The Wikimedia Foundation  has 
outstanding legal counsel, and my job is the first level of triage. In most  
cases, I will call or email our attorney and provide him with as much  
information as I can, including name, phone number, contact info, etc. He then  
responds accordingly, sometimes with instructions for me as to what should  happen 
So, why all the detail? Because this is exactly what happened in several  
instances. In fact, this happens about twice a day minimum. It is a credit to  
our attorney that we do not use WP:OFFICE more frequently, and he should be  
congratulated for this. 
Anyways, this is a long email. I just wanted to introduce myself--I do lots  
of other things besides--and give you some idea of how the legal triage works  
from the office. I also want to thank a lot of amazing Wikipedians who step  
in to handle these problems quietly and discreetly, and especially all of the  
people who spend hours on OTRS, answering the endless queries by email, just 
as  I am doing by phone. If I were to name them all, this email would be twice 
as  long. I really believe that it is because of them that Wikipedia is such 
a  huge success. 

More information about the WikiEN-l mailing list