[Wikimedia-l] Go away, community (from WMF wiki at least)

Florence Devouard anthere9 at yahoo.com
Sun May 12 17:47:06 UTC 2013

On 5/11/13 8:01 PM, Seb35 wrote:
> Thanks a lot for this explanation.
> On the other side, wikis not only need content producers (here WMF) but
> also curators (wikignomes) who are sorting the pages, deleting and
> moving pages, typocorrecting, templating things, helping new users in
> formatting texts, etc. (I read some of the Florenceā€™s blogposts :) --
> and not being admin restricts a lot the possible actions.

Yeah ! :-)

As a side note, Philippe has apparently restored my admin status (I did 
not ask any special favor) upon the reason that I am on the Advisory Board.

But let me put it this way...

I do not buy the argument offered by Sue that "But, my understanding is 
also that occasionally volunteers have overridden decisions made by 
staff on the Wikimedia Foundation wiki."

Sorry Sue... but this is a very poor argument. If there is a problem 
with ONE or TWO editors (was there at least two ?) then the way to go is 
to talk with this editor, not to remove all volunteer administrators who 
have been helping nicely for so many years.

In the past, we used to talk about soft security as opposed to hard 
security. Hard security was about passwords, rights, filters, walls, 
blocking, deleting and such. Soft security was about conversations, peer 
reviews, reversions, recent changes, and other collaborative transparent 
We have been going on for over 10 years primarily relying on soft 
security. And it did not work so badly in the end. Because for one bad 
person, and one confused, there were swarms of good people.
Is not that sad that staff decided that soft security was no more the 
way to go, and that implementing hard security to prevent problems with 
ONE or TWO people was a better way than relying upon dozen of good 
people and spending a little bit of time discussing with the confused ?

The decision made by staff make it appear that volunteers are more an 
inconvenience than a help.

I can not blame a staff member to feel this way if he had to spent some 
time arguing with a volunteer whilst he had a mandate to do something 
specific and the volunteer was preventing it (whether a good or bad 
idea). It can be very annoying ;)

However, I feel that management and board should have a slightly higher 
view on the matter and should realize how much they actually DO NEED the 
volunteers to BE happy and to FEEL useful and appreciated (See the 
recent discussion related to Wikimedia Hong Kong) and to reflect whether 
the long term outcome of the decision to remove admin rights to 
volunteers on the foundation wiki (and blog if I understood well) is a 
good idea or not.

Alternatively, it might be good to really move as much as possible of 
the Wikimedia Foundation Wiki to meta (where at least, the community is 
in charge of who is admin and who is not).


PS: however, do note that it is a good idea to remove admin flags from 
users who quit the community entirely.

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