[Foundation-l] Texts deleted on French Wikisource

Nathan nawrich at gmail.com
Wed Jun 2 21:15:47 UTC 2010

It's a shame that exchanges like this end up as back-and-forth
arguments, instead of normal discussions.

I think the Foundation should be as open as possible with project
communities about legal action, even if in some cases that poses an
obstacle to negotiation. The spectre of legal jeopardy can put a
serious damper on participation, and when the Foundation takes action
pursuant to legal claims more is needed than a deletion note saying
who made the demand.

Yann suggests that he (and the Wikisource community) did not know
about the takedown in a timely manner; anyone not watching the files
or the deletion logs might have missed it if the only note was in the
deletion log. The project was not aware that the Foundation resisted
the scope of the demand, or that the steps ultimately taken were the
result of negotiation. Mike says Yann was aware of all of this, Yann
says he didn't receive notice about the takedown until a month after
it occurred, but either way... The lesson seems to be that there is
room for improvement in communication, at the very least. When files
are deleted by staff, why not leave a message on the village pump page
or ask someone on the OTRS team for that language to do so? If you
can't communicate certain facts during negotiations, why not do so
afterwards? I don't imagine the WMF has non-disclosure agreements
about this sort of thing, at least I hope not.

There is some tension built into this general issue, though; Cary
advises that the fr.wikisource project needs to make its own decisions
about what content to allow, based on a local interpretation of
applicable law -- and then the Foundation deletes content without (a)
providing advice on what is acceptable and what isn't and (b) without
referring to the local decisions the project was advised to take. I'm
not sure how this can be resolved, but surely its a legitimate source
for grumbling and not grounds for a personally accusatory response
from the WMF.


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