[Foundation-l] A discussion list for Wikimedia (not "Foundation") matters

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Tue Apr 3 06:04:25 UTC 2012

On Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 10:37 PM, MZMcBride <z at mzmcbride.com> wrote:
> It's a matter of creating a separate list and importing the members from the
> current list (foundation-l), right?


> Will foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> continue to function after April 7 (as a redirect/alias) or will only the
> new address?

Only the new address unless we're being extra clever, which I'm not
sure is necessary.

> Will the archives be permanently split?

Probably -- advanced mailman surgeries carry a high risk of fatal
mistakes (e.g. we have a fancy pipermail URL alias, but the archive
rebuild is causing URLs to change, or some such nonsense), so it's
generally best to avoid them. But I'll ask Daniel Zahn, who's
performed some trickier surgeries recently without fatalities (as far
as I know).

> Are there any other consequences of a list rename?

You will feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of
voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

> I'll note (again) that in your 2004 proposal to create "foundation-l" you
> specifically cited the desire to "avoid 'Wikipedia/Wikimedia' style typos"
> by not choosing "wikimedia-l" as the list name.[1] I'm still not sure a move
> (from "foundation-l" to "wikimedia-l") has more benefit than cost.

I am indeed aware of my own objection, even if it is somewhat dated.
The main reason for making this change, IMO, is to account for
sensibilities and perceptions that largely did not exist in 2004, when
"Foundation" first and foremost referred to a bunch of people who
cared more about meta-issues than others -- the org as such barely
existed beyond paper, let alone the complex network of chapters, the
GLAM groups, etc.

Now, when you have discussions like the recently posted Draft Charter
of the Wikimedia Chapters Association, or the previous extensive
discussions about fundraising, to undertake them in a venue named
after one specific org serves as a distraction, and has caused some
people to express that they don't want to participate because it's a
list for "Wikimedia Foundation matters", giving people justification
to move things to private lists that should be public.

So, names do matter. I'd be happy to have an even more generic name
that avoids potential typo issues, but I do think the benefit of
making the name less WMF-centric outweighs the cost.

Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

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