[Wikimedia-l] WMF Policy and Political Affiliations Guideline

Michael Snow wikipedia at frontier.com
Fri Aug 3 18:12:01 UTC 2012

On 8/3/2012 10:47 AM, Stephen LaPorte wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 2, 2012 at 6:07 PM, MZMcBride <z at mzmcbride.com> wrote:
>> My question, more directly, is: if the SOPA action from January 2012
>> were held in August 2012 (following the implementation of this new statement
>> from the General Counsel's office), would it be considered a "community
>> initiative" or not?
> The community's decision to blackout a project would not be within
> this guideline, but any additional WMF resources would require legal
> and financial review. There are strict laws in the U.S. that limit
> when a non-profit organization may engage in political and legislative
> activity, and it is the General Counsel and CFA's duty to ensure that
> the WMF complies with those laws. The community has procedures for
> determining consensus for action, and most of the time the community
> can implement that action without any additional resources from the
> WMF.
Perhaps worth adding, I think it's fair to say that these reviews did 
take place with respect to the use of Wikimedia Foundation resources in 
the context of the January SOPA protest. They didn't necessarily follow 
the form of the current policy, since it didn't exist yet, but Geoff was 
actively involved and I believe the staff was generally quite conscious 
of the limitations on what they should do in their official capacity. 
There's always room for honest disagreement about whether the protest 
was desirable or necessary, but just in terms of the process, I think 
things were entirely appropriately handled.

I agree that the community retains the authority to reach its own 
decisions about future actions of this type. I think the policy should 
be understood primarily as something the foundation will adhere to in 
its operations, not something that regulates the community's autonomy.

--Michael Snow

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