[Wikimedia-l] Solving the China censorship problem

James Salsman jsalsman at gmail.com
Sun Jun 9 03:16:38 UTC 2013

Nathan wrote:
> How would transcoding the stoplist stop censorship?

The paper Leslie linked to indicates that the Great Firewall operates
through automated packet inspection, but its stoplist is regularly exposed
in peer-to-peer applications such as TOM-Skype. We could replace its
stoplist words with alternate encodings which do not match textually.
There are an infinite number of ways to do this, from insertion of <span>
tags, to graphical image replacement, to use of javascript which evaluates
to the stoplist words, or any other of a literally countably infinite
number of steganographic techniques. Most people simply capitulate to the
Great Firewall. Shouldn't we be setting the example for others of showing
how it's easily defeated?

> Who are we asking what?

On these any other topics involving activism, we should be asking the
community for solutions and discussing them, but the centralization of the
WMF is drifting further away from that. For example, the annual plan has
apparently been drafted without any community review before going to the
Board this year. Last year we had regular fundraising testing updates about
once per werk, but we've only had one so far this year. Who approved the
tighter restrictions on who can vote in Board elections this year? Nobody
has bothered to ask donors whether they would prefer to pay staff market
pay rates instead of following the ”peer group” practice of huge raises for
the top and uncompetitive salaries for new hires, based on an
interpretation of Dan Pink's work which he and the secondary literature
both firmly reject.

Perhaps the elections and ED replacement will provide leadership who care
more about the evidence than suffering through having to admit that they've
been misguided.

On Fri, Jun 7, 2013 at 10:28 PM, James Salsman <jsalsman at gmail.com> wrote:
> If we transcoded the stoplist would we still trigger censorship in China?
> All centralized authorities engage in misguided attempts to impose content
> restrictions on what they percieve as threatening. Asking others for their
> opinions on how to counteract these mistakes is an integral part of
> building reference material in general, not just encyclopedias.
> I see no better solution than to institute such requests.

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