[Foundation-l] About WM private policy

Birgitte SB birgitte_sb at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 25 17:28:27 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----
> From: MZMcBride <z at mzmcbride.com>
> To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
> Sent: Fri, December 24, 2010 2:57:54 PM
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] About WM private policy
> Liam Wyatt wrote:
> > The Wikimedia Foundation does not require that  individuals create a user
> > account in order to make any kind of editing.  However, the local project
> > community (in this discussion - English  Wikipedia) decides on what can and
> > cannot be done without a user  account. Many (most?) language editions of
> > Wikipedia allow anonymous  users to create articles but the English 
> > does not allow it.  This decision on English Wikipedia was taken primarily 
> > a deterrence  against SPAM - not taken for privacy policy reasons. Also, it
> > was taken  by the Wikipedia community, not by the Wikimedia Foundation. This
> >  decision could be changed in the future if the English Wikipedia  community
> > formed consensus amongst themselves to do so.
> With all  due respect, you're talking out of your ass. (A less polite way of
> saying  "citation needed.")
> Anonymous page creation was disabled by decree on the  English Wikipedia
> following the "Wikipedia biography controversy."[1][2][3]  It had nothing to
> do with spam (though you could arguably say it had to do  with vandalism, I
> suppose) and it was not a decision made by the English  Wikipedia community.
> There was a subsequent "Requests for comment" in 2007 on  the English
> Wikipedia.[4]
> All of this information and history is  readily available with a few quick
> searches, so I'm confused as to why you're  posting the nonsense that you're
> posting. Simple confusion, I  assume.
> Your assertion that it's a simple matter of local community  consensus in
> order to change this configuration setting on the English  Wikipedia is also
> dubious given the current political realities.

It is a simple matter of local community consensus as opposed an imposition of 
the WMF privacy policy.  If changing policy by consensus is no longer simple is 
in some local communities; I would imagine that the issue is systematic to the 
local community and not particular to this issue.  I am not sure if the OP was 
complaining about this practice existing at en.WP at all; or if they are 
concerned about the en.WP template here being imported into zh.WP under the 
guise of a requirement from WMF.  It might be rather simple to determine 
consensus at zh.WP.  

Self-dertermination of local communities further promotes the experimentalist 
ideology which is what has brought the projects such great success.  We succeed 
because we are so tolerant of failure. There is no reason bring general policies 
in line across local communities and we can learn a great deal from being able 
to compare the results of divergent approaches.  So if the complaint is that 
this policy existing at en.WP should be seen as a failure of openness, I 
wouldn't worry too much.  There are lots of failures out there and this is not 
among the very few types failures which cannot be tolerated.  As MZMcBride shows 
above this practice began as a reaction to the failure to protect Living Persons 
from defamation which happens to be one of the few types of failures which 
cannot be tolerated.  If it does in fact turn out to be overreaction, I imagine 
it will be adjusted sooner or later.  There are good reasons to be tolerant of 
local overreactions; it is not as though we can judge which practice will fail 
of the cost/benefit equation without trying it on for some time. 

Birgitte SB


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