Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2007/Candidates/DragonFire1024/questions

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2007 board elections
Organization



To ask me questions about my candidacy, please post your question in the Discussion section below. Unfortunately, I am only able to read and speak English. DragonFire1024 10:20, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

Candidacy Questions[edit]

Wiki account(s)[edit]

What is your opinion on family members/close friends using another person's Wiki account? Would you vouch not to allow other people use your account as <unnamed> board member did? MatthewFenton 16:57, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Your account is your account. Your password is your password. Letting someone use your account, that happens to not be you, is like hacking into an account that's not yours. I am against anyone using an account that is not theirs. Since they are free to have, if you need an account, create one :) I definitely would NOT let anyone, other than myself, use my accounts on any project. DragonFire1024 18:27, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

How should the board be constituted?[edit]

What is your opinion on how the board should be constituted? Do you think it should exclusively be composed of editors of our projects? If so, rather elected or appointed? Do you think we should have some people external to our community? Brian Wikinews / Talk 06:08, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

I think being an editor of a project makes a huge difference when running for a Baord position. The election is to the Board of Trustees and if someone is not known on at least one project, how can someone be trusted? I am for anonymous editing, but that lacks the trust the community needs for postions of major decision making.
People should be elected. The community/people have a say in who should represent them. If they are choosing an individual(s) to represent the Foundation, they should have a say in who those individuals are.
External members can be good, but again run the risk of trust among the editors/contributers of the Wikimedia projects. As per representation, I think that each project should at least have one user/editor/contributer willing to represent to goings on in the world of their Wikis. DragonFire1024 06:22, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Do you see your lack of ability to speak many languages as a possible problem in carrying out board duties? Chacor 12:50, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Possibly. But it also depends on the situation. I currently work with quite a few users whose first language is not English. I do believe that the language barrier among the Wikis is somewhat of an issue, and the efforts for translating could be better. But I am always willing to learn.
I can understand some small Spanish as I had been learning it in school for a few years but I am not fluent in it. DragonFire1024 21:59, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Non-free images and other media[edit]

Hi DragonFire1024. What are your opinions on the use of non-free images and other non-free media on Wikimedia Foundation projects? Should they be used at all, or disallowed completely? What are your opinions on this 23 March board resolution regarding licensing? Picaroon (Talk) 20:09, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

The use of non-free images is a pretty big discussion right now. Images across all projects should be free. However, with that said, a news agency, like Wikinews, cannot have only free images. For a news agency to be able to report the news at the time, an image that is available as fair use may be the only available image that shows a specific event that is related to the story. Also many users have requested permission from copyright holders to use an image on a certain project/article and that image usually cannot be replaced.
While I understand the need and support the need for 100% free images, in the terms of news reporting, its just not 100% possible, but the attempt to obtain a free image, has to be made whenever possible. DragonFire1024 21:53, 12 June 2007 (UTC)


You said "a news agency, like Wikinews, cannot have only free images".

How is Wikinews different from Wikipedia in this regard? Do you think that images like en:Image:Tianasquare.jpg or en:Image:Inselian.jpg should be removed from Wikipedia?

The Board's Licensing Policy officially endorses this definition of Free content, written by a board member, which, in my interpretation, states that copyright is a form of government suppression, and that the concept of intellectual property is inherently morally wrong. Do you think this is a sentiment shared by most editors? Do you think it is the place of the WMF to make declarations like this?

To put the answers briefly in regards to the deletion of the images above: No and No to deletion. Unfortunately, we have to abide by the laws of copyright regardless of what the WMF or the resolution says. They can go lower than the law, but they cannot go above it. I am not sure if it is a sentiment shared by most because Wikinews was ultimately left in the dark when it came to any discussion. I cannot speak for everyone on Wikinews, but can speak for myself and say that the Board should have put into perspective that images, that we obtain for free are not going to be free to alter or copy etc...however, many images of news like wikinews:Image:Virgin Birth Hammerhead Doorly Zoo.JPG are given to us by the people who took them to use in certain articles. They very well could have told us that we could gladly have or use it, but make a check payable to...Wikinews and Wikipedia or anyone who gets this kind of exclusive permission should be greatful and so should the foundation for the permission to display it on their incredible database of knowledge.
Wikinews is different as in we don't pay for our content. We don't go to Reuters or the Associated Press and write a check for an image. We ask the source/copyright holder directly if possible or we do not use it. We are lucky to receive some of our image for free. See example above. We were also given the option to use a CC-by-nd etc license before the resolution and maybe those images prior to the resolution should not be effected...?
  • Reasons for: en:Image:Tianasquare.jpg: This seems, from what I have been able to sift through the edits, that Wikipedia was given exclusive permission to use this image. It has been given a grant to display the original content unaltered. Although it is not free in the sense that I cannot legally, deface it or write on it or tear it apart etc, I can freely view it without cost or obligation on Wikipedia. But technically under the current wording of the resolution, it would have to be deleted.
  • Reasons for en:Image:Inselian.jpg: As it is, fair use. This image was published all over the world, with the intent for everyone everywhere to see it. The fact that it won the award for Breaking News Photo even gives it more of a fair use rational...In fact the image itself is a lower resolution even further meeting the requirements as stated by the WMF resolution as per an EDP or fair use rational/policy. But again, the wording of the resolution would require it to be deleted. DragonFire1024 06:09, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

If it was shown that this resolution was not widely supported by the community, should the resolution be adapted to conform to the will of the community, or should the community adapt to conform to the resolution? — Omegatron 00:09, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

I think the resolution, given the hypothetical situation above, should be conformed to fit the needs of the projects, and individual projects if need be. The Board can monitor that situation or we can even test it to see what impact it would hold. We could choose more people to do the OTRS requests so that we can use that whenever possible and those are quite backed up. Thats just two things we could do.
I am all for free content, but we need a large way of motivating to world to join us. DragonFire1024 06:10, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
For some background, the new image policy caused quite a stir on Wikinews. Most of our main space articles cannot be edited except by administrators. This is down to our archiving policy and project goal of providing a historical record of what was known at the time of an event. A number of the site's contributors feel that this is in conflict with the new image policy. For example, if we had an article about some politician that was two or three years old with a photo on it; If the photo was a PR one released for news use - and the only one available at the time - should it go when Commons gets a free replacement? What if the new photo is available and taken five or even ten years after the article was written? Personally I think the old photo should be tagged as depreciated, but that seems in conflict with the policy. I think that's a problem that needs attention. I suspect Jason agrees. --Brian McNeil / talk 07:00, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
I do agree. According to the wikinews:Wikinews:Archive conventions After an article has been protected, it should no longer be edited on elements of content, sources, or other substance. It should be edited for non-content issues (such as spelling, typos, punctuation and so forth) on a case-by-case basis. Questions of grammar are prone to dispute, and should be implemented after consensus on the talk page, we cannot delete the content. A bot has already been created to monitor that issue which take up time on our part and without it Wikinews would be lost. Given your example, content that was uploaded, under a compatible license and with proper sources should not be affected/deleted on Wikinews, or any project.
We also say that certain images should go to Commons if a free one is found, but given the fact that many news items are breaking news, a free version is not available and may not be available for quite some time, maybe even years...And because of that, Commons will not accept that material, so putting aside the resolution, the images are needed on Wikinews...but with the resolution, Wikinews and all other projects will see that content disappear in just under a year.
The Question could be, is what definition of free do we follow? And how do we define it? (I know where and how its defined according to the resolution BTW. I am speaking metaphorically there). DragonFire1024 07:20, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Now that I re-read, let me just clarify: Not all projects are drastically or in some cases slightly changed by the resolution. It would seem that the resolution favors a few projects over others. DragonFire1024 09:08, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Change[edit]

Hi Jason,

What is the top 3 things you want to have changed in the current strategy of the foundation? Thanks, Effeietsanders 21:11, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Good question :-) One: The board needs to work better with the members/users/contributers of all the Wikis. When it comes to decision making and policy change, the communities should be involved as much as possible.
Two: The Foudation should encourage more efficient ways of collecting and distributing the information we provide to the world. The board should encourage the collaboration and help in the collaboration of certain issues/articles/information on all Wikis as opposed to just one or two. The more work we can do as a whole, the better the Wikis will be. After all, we are all part of a Wiki and all part of the foundation.
Three: The Foundation needs to look at all the Wikis and realize that every Wiki needs the same attention and consideration when it comes to decision making. No one Wiki should be "neglected" in any way and all Wikis should receive the same treatment. We are all equal as we are all striving to provide the most up-to-date information to the world. Every Wiki should be treated as equal. DragonFire1024 22:08, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Added Value[edit]

Hi Jason,

What kind of value do you add to the current set of boardmembers in the area of Legal, Financial, Accounting etc expertise? Thanks, Effeietsanders 21:11, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Well I am no expert in any field really. I can say that in terms of gathering information I am very good at and very resourceful in getting information as well.
I am not a lawyer or an accountant, but do know my way around some laws like small issues with copyright laws in the US.
I think my skill as a journalist is very helpful as I am always reading information that could provide knowledge to someone who my not know about a certain situation. I am very very good with computers, the internet and information gathering.
Sorry if this is not a good answer...but this was a tough question! :) DragonFire1024 22:14, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Ads[edit]

What are you views on advertisements on Wikimedia projects? Would you support a resolution that forced Wikimedia projects to use ads? Would you support a resolution that gave projects the right to vote on the use of advertisements? Would you support a resolution that forbid the user of advertisements? Mets501 02:27, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

At this time Advertisements are not required nor needed. Our fund raisers are generally successful and donations to the Foundation are always accepted on a regular basis. I think that if ads were placed on one project, then they should exist on every project. But again, at this time I do not support advertisements. DragonFire1024 03:19, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
So I'll assume you would not support a resolution that gave projects the right to vote on the use of advertisements. Fair enough. Thanks. —METS501 (talk) 05:11, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
At this time no. It would require more than one or two ads to be placed on the projects various pages. The Board/Foundation should be in control of where ads are placed and when and for what reason. DragonFire1024 05:15, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Flagged revisions[edit]

What is your view on the use of flagged revisions to help prevent vandalism from appearing before it is reverted and the extension's possible use to mark "quality" versions which would display by default even instead of the stable (non-vandalized) version? —METS501 (talk) 05:17, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

I have seen this only recently, as we do not have this kind of thing on en.Wikinews. Personally I am for it. Vandalism is a constant problem on every wiki and in some cases, on smaller projects, mass amounts of vandalism occur with very little fast and simple ways for them to clean it up.
Well unless vandalized edits are removed VIA oversight, then yes "quality" or good faith edits should be marked as such to let others know that what they are seeing is not vandalism. Not all edits, although may seem to be vandalism, aren't and in many cases are just an issue with the "language barrier." DragonFire1024 05:30, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Branding, business developer, GHGs.[edit]

  1. What are your thoughts on Wikimedia branding?
  2. and the foundation's hiring of a business developer?
  3. How would you vote on the board about the foundation reducing or offsetting anthropogenic greenhouse gases, e.g. power used by hardware, flights, etc.?

Thanks. -- Jeandré, 2007-06-13t11:17z

  1. Great Idea. I think that branding is a way to get the name of the WMF and its projects "out there."
  2. As the foundation and its projects grow, more things need to be done. More Ideas are implemented, donations get larger etc etc. We need someone to do that work. If this person can help with those issues, then I support that hiring.
  3. I think anything that helps our environment and the world such as the reduction of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases and the reliance on large amounts of electricity, is excellent, and I would support the WMF in its quest to help the environment whenever possible. DragonFire1024 18:42, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
    • What do you mean by Great idea, on question 1? To which idea are you referring? A lot of ideas and things are said in what Eric Moeller calls "Wikimedia brand survey".Hillgentleman 13:44, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
Well in terms of marketing for example (as listed in the survey): 4.1: Should the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia chapters license the project brands to makers of games, gadgets, toys, etc.? RE: to that being a good Idea as it would get the names of the project(s) out there and more known to people. We should also, at the same time work to protect those "brand(ings)" while trying to promote them as well. DragonFire1024 20:34, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Office evolution[edit]

In what way do you forsee the office (and staff) evolving under your tenure as a board member, should you be elected? i.e. would you be in favor of expansion, contraction, status quo, more interns, new positions, less, what?Swatjester 01:05, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

There is always room for expansion as the project grows in numbers. Interns are always good, assuming they actually benefit from their experiences and learn from them. Positions could be added in due time as well as again, we are constantly growing at enormous rates. I am not in it for the "status," I am in it to see that everyone on every project gets the accurate and fair representation that they elect the members of the board to give them and to better the ways we collect and distribute our material(s). I hope that they evolve to learn that we, everyone, the board included, have to work together to achieve our goals. And when i say everyone, I mean even the people who just look us up on the web as well...after all, without them where would we be...I just think the board does not pay enough attention to the contributers/users/editors/ concerns as much as they should, granted that time is also of an essence. I hope to change that. DragonFire1024 05:35, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Lesser-known projects[edit]

What is your opinion on some of the projects that are not as well-known as Wikipedia? Would you favour a situation where attempts are made to nurture these projects rather than almost-solely concentrate on the one that has the highest profile? --Brian McNeil / talk 14:43, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

I think that regardless of amount of users, contributions or "profile", NO project should be ignored or neglected in any way. Each project, new or old, is just as valuable as the next one. After all, if they were not, why would they exist? People use each project because that project(s) help them in accessing the information they are looking for. With that said, that makes that project as equally important as the next. I don't think there should be any "trying" on the part of the Board...they need to do and understand that we are all part of the same family. DragonFire1024 04:20, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
What is your opinion on artificial languages in wikimedia, as well as the closing of the Klingon wikipedia and wiktionary, while other amade-up (albeit were made up with the intent to be used, not for some tv show) languages are allowed to exist (esperanto). Do you feel are languages should be treated equally, or should fictionous languages such as elvish and klingon not be allowed (like it currently is)? Bawolff 23:37, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
Why not allow them? Its funn and different for users. Star Trek has a following like a religious cult and if you ask a die-hard fan, they would say that Klingon is a language. I see no problem with those, but also may pose trademark and or copyright issues, as the "Klingon language" was created by Gene Rodenberry and the creators of Star Trek.
Fun side note: Where is the "Wookie" language? ;-) DragonFire1024 21:48, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Membership[edit]

Last December, the Wikimedia Foundation revised its bylaws to change itself from a membership organization to a non-membership organization. In a membership organization, the trustees are directly responsible to the membership; in a non-membership organization, the trustees are ultimately responsible only to one another (and indirectly to donors, who presumably will not donate if they feel the trustees are not being responsible). Do you feel that the Foundation, constituted as it is as a non-membership organization, provides sufficient structural checks and balances to ensure that the trustees observe their fiduciary responsibilities appropriately? Would a return to a membership structure, with the ability of members to bring policy proposals themselves at the annual meeting or by other methods, to remove board members by appropriate vote, and to sue the Foundation under certain conditions limit the ability of the Trustees to do what they need to do? If you do support a return to a membership structure, how would you determine who the voting members are? Kelly Martin 18:42, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Well Board members are not paid. They are under no contract or obligation to stay a board member and can resign or what not whenever they want so I am not in understanding on why anyone would want to, or even has the right to sue the WMF or etc.. I think that the board, overall, does a good job at sufficient structural checks and balances. I do think that the board, or communities should be the ones to "vote" in or vote out a board member (unless he/she is resigning). So at this time, I think that a non-membership board is good. I don't see the amount of turmoil or scandal (strong words yes but good example word) present at this time to warrant that particular change. If this answer makes no sense to you, please do let me know. :) DragonFire1024 18:53, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

The Goal[edit]

My biggest Wiki-wide goal is an attempt for users on various project to work
together on certain issues and ideas and to help in developing new ways in
gathering information and more efficient ways of delivering that information to
the world.

Have you exhausted every possible way to achieve that goal without becoming a board member? what will be your first mission?...good luck...--The Joke النكتة‎ 07:41, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Well I just don't believe that every project, although different, does not work together as one to deliver a steady stream of information. In other words, Wikinews and Wikipedia, can both be even bigger than they are now. But most people see Wikinews at a mock off or copy of Wikipedia, at least from my experience. Together, those two projects alone can deliver 10 times or more the information they do now. But there are some innacurracies that do not allow that collaboration. For example, Wikinews uses a CC-BY-2.5 Attribution License whereas Wikipedia uses a GNU Free Documentation Liscense, which does not allow for much of the content to be copied from Wikipedia to other projects like Wikinews. There is much reluctance to include Wikinews as references for certain WP articles, which again limits the amount of information exchanged and distributed throughout the Wikimedia Foundation. Wikipedia does not allow "original research/reporting" whereas Wikinews offers an outlet for that, and often times an exclusive look into important events, that can be added to Wikipedia that "everyday news sources" cannot provide thus again, limiting the possible information that can be added to Wikipedia and other projects like Commons (in some cases) and even Wikiversity. Wikisource can also be a very useful source of information for all sorts of projects , especially in terms of documents and factual, verifiable information, and can benefit Wikipedia, Wikinews and Commons in massive amounts of ways, but yet little interaction takes place between them as a community. Wikiquote is also a valuable source when it comes to what politicians, movie stars, reporters, etc, etc say but yet agian, very little community interaction. We should focus more on bringing each project together to collaborate on things together. But instead, one project is almost in competition with the other, yet we are all still part of the same "team." The Board IMO is tending to favor one project over another in some cases. As all of the project are part of the Foundation, all of them should at least be taken into consideration when decisions are made. Especially decisions affecting all projects, the community should at least be very well informed and be allowed to take place in the discussion in a manner that is easily and noticeably accessible. DragonFire1024 08:21, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Checkuser policy[edit]

What is your opinion of the privacy policy, particularly relating to checkusering of adminship candidates? Majorly (talk) 13:24, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Well, depending on the position a contributer is running for, I think a checkuser should be performed. Especially in the case of, for example, board members, administrators, accrediting etc etc. If tyou want to edit a foundation Wiki then you have to recognize the privacy policy and follow it. As for check user, they are usually performed during times of vandalism or suspician of multiple socks/accounts. If you break the rules, then expect consequenses. Checkuser is not a violation of privacy unless the person performing the checkuser is doing it for his or her own benefit and not in relation to project/foundation rules. DragonFire1024 01:59, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Communication with communities[edit]

Smaller communities in my experience can have problem drawing attention of the Board to important community issues where Board input is really necessary. Do you recognise such needs are currently left unanswered, and what could change to let the Board process such requests?--Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 15:06, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Well, the board needs to realize that there is more than one project other than Wikipedia and or Commons. Yes for some projects, those needs are unanswered. The board needs to pay attention to the needs of every project and consider them rather than ignoring them. Maybe, if possible, at least one maybe 2 people/contributers (depending on project size) from each project can essentially be elected to a position that would communicate with the board directly when needed and report back to the community. Regardless, I think many of the smaller projects go unanswered and most of the time neglected by the Board. All projects are part of the foundation, and should get the same respect and treatment as any other project. DragonFire1024 01:54, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Foundation Growth[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation is growing at much faster rate now than ever before. We are trying to establish ourselves as a stable, mature, international non-profit organization. What type of organizational and management skills can you offer that will benefit the foundation?


Also, our advisory board (http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Advisory_Board) is filled with experienced and competent professionals. The foundation can benefit greatly from their expertise and knowledge in various fields. Currently, their involvement in the foundation seems limited, how can you change the system to utilize their expertise? Do you think the advisory board should have more influence on decision-making? Vpatel 15:14, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Well I am not a professional as the "advisers" are. The foundation would benefit from me the attempt at bringing all the projects together and to work side by side, rather than compete with each other. I hope to make aware to people that the foundation exists and anyone anywhere can help to distribute their information to the world.
The advisers should be involved as much as possible, and more on a Board level than on a personal/individual level. Everyone should work together regardless of whether they are an adviser or not. The advisory board is there to provide advice and expertise to the board when and if needed. I think they need to be involved whenever possible and as much as possible. DragonFire1024 01:49, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Religious Picture Ban – Muhammed (Islam) versus Bahá'u'lláh (Baha'i)[edit]

Islam is a religion which don't want to see/show pictures or images of the founder Muhammed. Baha'i is a religion which don't want to see/show pictures of the founder Bahá'u'lláh. Wikipedia in most languages show respect for Islam and don't show Muhammed. But Wikipedia in most languages show a picture of Bahá'u'lláh. Wikipedia show more respect for the picture ban in islam than it show for the picture ban in Baha'i. What do you think is the cause for this and do you think that Wikipedia shall treat religions equal? Caspiax

I am not sure what the cause is. I am non-religious and have not followed that situation/incident. Wikipedia can acknowledge the "not show Muhammed" but they can also turn around and say doing that is censorship. Regardless of religion, the Board and Wikipedia should treat everything with the respect it deserves, or is required. DragonFire1024 01:44, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Does that mean that on the board you would vote to disallow the images, in order to show the respect these religions demand? -- Jeandré, 2007-06-19t17:43z
I do not think it is a "board" issue. It seems to be more of a local issue, but if one is "supposed to be blocked" because of religion, then the other should be too. But that would be to respect the religion, and not called censorship, but that opinion will vary among others. DragonFire1024 18:07, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Headquarters location[edit]

From time to time there has been discussion about whether the Foundation's current headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida, in the United States, is the best location for the office. Do you think that the Foundation should continue to be headquartered in and operate out of Florida, or would you support a move to another location? If you think a move is appropriate, where would you move the Foundation to, and why? Kelly Martin 21:35, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Well the headquarters can be anywhere really. I am not against it or for it being in Florida. I would not be opposed to it being somewhere else, even a different country. The question of where...well since the possibilities are nearly endless, I don't know if, at this moment, say I have any particular location in mind. DragonFire1024 21:42, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Licences[edit]

Have you read the GFDL? What do you think of the current draft of the GSFDL?Geni 21:37, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Well I have not had time to read both license drafts/policies front and back and in detail yet to be perfectly honest. So I cannot say what I think of it, other than if it makes the work more free and still manages to protect the copyright holders limited rights, then I am happy to see a new draft. I will have to read both in detail and answer this question further once I have done that. DragonFire1024 21:46, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Professional?[edit]

By nature and design, wiki communities are an amateur, unstable amalgam of widely differing perspectives and agendas. There is no individual or collective responsibility and no competence test for participation. Yet, the board of the ever-expanding and legally constituted foundation that runs one of the world’s top websites, needs to be highly professionally, highly competent, collectively coherent and responsible. It must have business savvy, and be willing to make hard-nosed and even unpopular decisions. In your opinion:

  1. Is the current board, vision and structure fit for that purpose?
  2. Are you? (Would you be a competent candidate for a board in any non-profit venture?)

(same asked of all candidates)--Doc glasgow 14:43, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Answers:
  1. IMO, not really. I think that it is "too professional." I think the board should be made up of a variety of people including every day people that may or may not have any profession. If they can do the job, and represent the Projects and the foundation in a good way, then I see no problem with that member.
  1. Yes. I think that my addition will be a good one. If elected, I will work to make sure that the board communicates with the communities more, that equal treatment is given when making decisions/policies. I think the board has drifted from that level, and needs to understand more that the contributers are what make the Wikis go, (besides the servers) ;) DragonFire1024 10:48, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Chapters[edit]

Taking into account the growing importance of Wikimedia chapters in furthering our common goals on the one hand and the impact the decisions made by the Wikimedia Foundation have on the work (if not existence) of the Wikimedia Chapters on the other hand: What do you think about the idea of giving the chapters a formal say in WMF's decision making process? What do you think especially about a) letting the chapters appoint one or more board members (beside the ones elected by the community) and/or b) changing the WMF back to a membership organization (with the chapters as members)? Do you have any other ideas to achieve more checks and balances between Foundation and chapters? On top of that, would you care to elaborate on your vision about the current and future role of the Wikimedia chapters? Thanks in advance, Arne (akl) 15:40, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I believe, that with a plan I hope to incorporate if elected, a few contributers should be elected from each project that would essentially "observe" board meetings occasionally, listen in or just be elected members who will get information from the board then report back to the communities. Much like an "envoy" or "leaison" (spelling). I think that the communities should have a say in policy changes whenever possible. After all those policies could greatly effect that project. The communities are the most important part of a Wiki, as they are the ones who make it what they are. DragonFire1024 10:53, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for sharing your opinion on wiki communities representation, but my question was actually about the role of the chapters. -- Arne (akl) 11:03, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
Still say the same. Although personally, it should be projects/communities, IMO, that choose any kind of "board" members (assuming the users are not the same) DragonFire1024 18:05, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Project policy involvement[edit]

What are your views on board involvement in writing and implementing policy for the various projects, especially in controversial areas where it appears that community consensus will be difficult to establish, such as on the "attack sites" [1] and biography of living people (BLP) [2] issues? Cla68 15:49, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Well these are local issues. If a decision cannot ultimately be reached, then the board should get involved, but only after all attempts at a community consensus has been made. Votes can be drawn up more than once. The board should not get involved in those local issues unless absolutely necessary, as those policies generally do not affect all projects. DragonFire1024 10:55, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

What if[edit]

What would you do/recommend when elected and faced with 40% budget deficit?

In the US there are great grant programs which give a lot of money, we could hold a highly publicized fundraiser, we could sign on business partners (ie: we could get a company to provide a service in return they would pay a small fee...like for example only: Microsoft wants to display their search engine on WMF projects, in return we get a small fee...that can go the same way with software as well.) Those are just some. DragonFire1024 10:58, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
Are you not concerned at the potential privacy aspects of partnering with Microsoft, or - say - Google? I think you could be assured of financial security for the Foundation if you linked up with either of these companies, but how would contributors react? --Brian McNeil / talk 12:53, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
Just for clarity: Those were examples only. There are a variety of companies, that even offer open sourced software such as Sun and others. The list is endless, but to form the idea, I used that as an example as it was the first thing that popped into my head when writing this. No it is not a good company choice (microsoft) but again...just something to set the scene. But yes i would be worried about privacy, and I would not support it unless the communities have a say first. DragonFire1024 18:00, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
Thank you, the key part of your answer that makes me happy is that you would consult the community. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:34, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Cash & users[edit]

We need money and people. We have lost users (for a while) after this event. Nobody expected it, but... the same was in 2006. Do you want to talk about money (with these wealthy guys) and what's your opinion about that event ;)?

Well I cannot say that the drop in users was a direct result of that article, which is not even 2 paragraphs long. I am willing to talk about money. We can do grants, business partners, (see question above), and a longer fundraiser, and maybe one more often. Point is, if the foundation was broke, it would not be here. Of course that article turned out not to be true, otherwise...we would not be having this discussion ;) DragonFire1024 11:31, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
OK, it was question about PR... Przykuta 11:53, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikinews and Accredited reporters attending events[edit]

Wikinews may be one of the lesser-known projects, but we recently managed to get a contributor entry to the G8 conference. Efforts were made to get the Board involved in the drafting of a letter for the reporter's entry to the G8, but these received no response. As an involved party there is more about this issue on Eloquence's questions page [3]. What is your opinion on this, it is - I believe - an issue the board should take seriously. Those of us who contribute on Wikinews are ambitious enough to think that we can overtake the Wikipedia article count (although I may be retired before we manage it there are new news stories every day). As we really want to be able to do truly original reporting we need people who can "almost" say they represent us. Do you support this, and do you believe the board should have been involved for something as important as sending a reporter to the G8 conference? --Brian McNeil / talk 21:12, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree. To be representing Wikinews, would require board approval, IMO. As it stands, it states for accredited reporters: Accredited Wikinews reporters do not represent the Wikimedia Foundation, but are trusted contributors who the Wikinews community has certified for the purposes of gathering information related to Wikinews articles.
If Wikinews is to be a true agency, it needs to be treated as such and when requests, as important as this, require the board to at least give advice. I think the board should definitely be involved when it comes to representation of a WMF project, especially when it comes to important matters like a G8 summit. DragonFire1024 21:42, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
Further answer: The Board should have gotten involved. A matter for representing the foundation or a project thereof is an important decision especially when involving government agencies and a reporter who was not yet accredited and required a special temporary accreditation (since the accreditation policy was written by the board, this issue should have been addressed by the Board). Point is, help was requested and was completely ignored by the board, mainly Eloquence and Jimbo, to whom the requests were directed (on their talk pages). If no help was required by the Board, then a response should at least have been given. This, ignoring the special issues of a project, cannot continue and my goal is to change that. DragonFire1024 10:57, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
P.S. Just for reference for everyone, Brian how about a quotation from that request? DragonFire1024 10:59, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Here is - appropriately censored - the letter I provided to our reporter that got him into the G8 press corps.

<My address>

To Whom It May Concern:

Wikinews, a website of the Wikimedia Foundation which has a focus on news reporting, wishes Sean Carl Johann Heron of Schwäbisch Hall, Germany to report on the G8 conference. Our community of editors and administrators have supported Mr. Heron's application to report on the G8, and his credentials for this event may be verified by calling our verification number at +1 202 742 5918, extension 2. His press pass from the Wikinews community was issued specifically for this event.

Wikinews (http://en.wikinews.org) is a free-content project where we aim to provide timely and neutral reporting on news items. If you have any further questions about the project, or Mr. Heron's involvement, please contact me at brian.mcneil@<domain removed>, or by telephone on <number removed>.


Yours Faithfully,


Brian McNeil

Wikinews Administrator.

--Brian McNeil / talk 11:04, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Oh, and as an aside - this ties onto why Wikinews has been looking to get email addresses issued to accredited reporters and other trusted contributors. Most people grok that Wikipedia is a free alternative to Britannica et al, but Wikinews is an effort to provide a free alternative to AP, Reuters, or AFP. The board has to decide what they want with an "awkward" project like Wikinews, do they stay hands-off and tell the devs to give us what we need - like email addresses? Or do they - or delegated office staff - take an interest in who we trust? An "EssJay" among our accredited reporters would be an absolute disaster, and I personally don't think enough people outside our community understand that. I'd be happy to see the Wikinews accreditation requirements amended to require identifying yourself to the office, I don't want involved in the data privacy aspects of receiving scans of people's ID to prove they are who they say they are. --Brian McNeil / talk 11:23, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Well I agree a situation like that would be a diaster, I am not sure, at this stage a process like that is required (at least for Wikinewsies already accredited). Regardless the developers should provide us with an accurate and efficient way to contact those reporters. Regardless, the board needs to take an interest in what we do and what we need. DragonFire1024 11:31, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Impending failure[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation at a corporate level is soaked in its own drama and if conditions don't improve soon, it will crash and burn. I want the newly elected trustees to act as catalystic mediators to simply and peacefully transform drama into productivity and then success for the foundation. How do you plan on doing this? Signed, your friendly neighborhood MessedRocker. 06:04, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Well we grow day to day. As we grow, we need more interaction with the community from the Board. They need to recognize individual project needs. Maybe, as I have said before, We can elect a few members from each project who could, during some Board meetings sit in as observers, who would then report back to the community. They could also be there to present issues and ideas to the board directly rather than operate through several different channels and e-mail addresses to contact one or more Board members.
IF the finances are as a mess as some are leading me to believe, then we need to act now by looking at grant options (The US has an abundance of grants), longer, more publicized fund raisers, with community input, as they are the ones seeing what the money is doing to the Wikis. We could implement an external search engine from a company that would pay the foundation a small fee to have it on the project pages.
That is just some ideas I have. Overall, I hope that my presence on the Board, if elected, will be to make awareness for the foundations smaller projects and make sure that the community gets more of a say in what happens to their projects. DragonFire1024 10:39, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Ridings[edit]

There is currently a lot of candidates for this election. Not only is that hard on the translators (I assume), its hard on the voters, as honestly, I don't want to read 17 odd candidate statements, let alone their question pages (and I have not done that). Most people will get votes because they're well known in whatever project they come from, or they're already quite well known on the foundation side. Do you think dividing up the board into sections would be a good idea to reduce the number of candidates. For example, there could be 1 position for someone running for wikipedia, 1 candidate from say commons and wiktionary, and 1 candidate representing everyone else (or something like that). Thoughts? Bawolff 23:51, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

I am not against that. I sounds more organized as well. I think it would balance the Board a lot better in terms of project representation. DragonFire1024 06:07, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Experience and Qualifications[edit]

Your platform makes no mention of any relevant experience to running a major organisation; please detail what experience you have in the running of corporate organisations, specifically regarding their finance, management, marketing, and human resources. --Alison Wheeler 11:56, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't have any major experience in those fields and as far as I know its not required and there is nothing that states that it is mandatory that I or any other candidate have those requirements to run for a Board position. Maybe thats the issue, the Board focusing too much on who is and is not on a high horse. I believe my experience in working with communities is enough. The Wikis are essentially run by those who contribute to them. Without contributers, there are no Wikis. My goals, as I have stated before, are simple: the Board needs to interact more with the projects communities. They need to take into consideration all projects when making policies and decisions affecting the Wikis and to get the community involved before making those decisions. I want to bring the communiies and the board together rather than having them be almost non cooperative on any issues. I do not need to be a professional to do those things, to help with ideas of fund raising and grants and better ways of distributing the information we provide.
The board is already filled with professionals and people with degrees and what not. The board has IMO lost its "people touch." We need a board that is diverse in the way it can relate with who the majority of our contributers are: Normal everyday people with everyday lives doing everyday things. Not everyone on Wikis are lawyers, accountants, or professionals and if a research project were to be launched to find out what the majority of the contributers on projects do, I think it would show that the majority are people just like me. DragonFire1024 15:55, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Usability[edit]

Most Wikipedia users are technically inclined, but usability studies have turned up serious problems for non-geeks, and many of these problemsd remain uncorrected.

Have you read these usability studies? Do you consider them to be important? Would you commission more such studies? How would you implement their results?

Here's an example from just a couple months ago: a journalist working for a major newspaper thought that "there's no way to tell who wrote the entry or how many people contributed to it" until one of his readers corrected him -- he works for the media! How many regular people know how to check an article's contributors?
 If i might be permitted to opine for a second: the fact that you can view the revisions of an article should be obvious from the design of the webpage, but it's not: "history" is a terrible, non-obvious name for the function.

Put yourself in your parents' shoes: you're reading a page about Thailand that you found through Google, and you see a square that says "history". You click the square expecting to read about the history of Thailand and suddenly you're faced with a long, mysterious list of nonsensical words and numbers. You click the back button.
 Aaron Swartz gave one of the best summaries of the issue that I've seen:

"The page design the site uses encourages specific actions by making some links clear and prominent. Software functions like categories make certain kinds of features possible. The formatting codes used for things like infoboxes and links determine how easy it is for newcomers to edit those pieces of the site.

All of these things are political choices, not technical ones. It's not like there's a right answer that's obvious to any intelligent programmer. And these choices can have huge effects on the community.

...

One presentation was by a usability expert who told us about a study done on how hard people found it to add a photo to a Wikipedia page. The discussion after the presentation turned into a debate over whether Wikipedia should be easy to to use. Some...questioned whether confused users should be allowed to edit the site at all -- were their contributions even valuable?

As a programmer, I have a great deal of respect for the members of my trade. But with all due respect, are these really decisions that the programmers should be making?"

How would you solve this problem?

Tlogmer 00:08, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

I have not seen the study you refer to so I do not really understand your question. I personally think the wikis are easy, but could be easier to use...however, I learned how to edit Wikis by reading the recent changes, and the edits of others. DragonFire1024 02:31, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Recruiting expertise[edit]

Danny Wool has proposed replacing the current board with "a professional board consisting of captains of industry and academia" -- presumbaly, web leaders and information academics, etc. Do you agree? What do you think Wikipedia can learn from, for example, professional writers of paper encyclopedias like Britannica? How should the foundation best recruit their advice and put it into practice? Tlogmer 00:08, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

One. The board is already made of professionals academics etc. We need moe of a people board. See: Experience and Qualifications for the long answer to this question. Wikipedia is not Britannica and is nothing like it. Britannica is a corporation with private writers. Wikipedia is everyday people like you and me. DragonFire1024 02:29, 25 June 2007 (UTC)


Appropriate conduct for Board members[edit]

Recently, in a non-Mediawiki forum, Erik Moeller made the following comments: "Cyde's and Kelly's arguments are on the same level: they are driven by blind hostility, not thoughtful analysis." [4] Do you believe that responding to criticism of one's credentials and conduct as a member of the Board with personal attacks such as these is appropriate for a member of the Board of Trustees? Kelly Martin 00:54, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Personal attacks should not be allowed anywhere on wiki. Period. A Board member should also not stoop to a level of personal attacks regardless. But it was done off wiki and was in response to an attack you made on him. You also did the same to me. So Ask yourself the same question.
If this were done on Wiki then I would expect action to be taken, but it was said off wiki then frankly, there is nothing that anyone can do about it. If you post an attack on an off wiki site, where the entries are public, you have to expect to be attacked in return. This conduct, is not tolerated on-wiki. DragonFire1024 01:51, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikiquote & copyright[edit]

What's your stance regarding Wikiquote and copyrights? As it is, most wikiquotes depend and use extensively fair use, which is contrary to the philosophy of most other projects. What are your views on this? Should wikiquotes move to only free content? Should resolution on fair use have a special exemption for wikiquote? Should fair use be removed from Wikiquote after deadline for the resolution? drini [es:] [commons:] 16:06, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikinews uses fair use extensively. Wikiquote cannot exist without the fair use of quotes otherwise there would be no quotes for the most part.Fair use is a form of free, providing you follows the laws regarding it. The resolution should have in fact taken into the consideration of every project and the consequences it might have on those projects. It should have also highly involved the communities of each project.And NO fair use should NOT be removed. In regards to Wikiquote and Wikinews, they have more than half of their content as fair use. DragonFire1024 21:30, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

=«all Wikimedia projects are equal» (from Incnis Mrsi)=[edit]

I have some closely related questions to the candidate, who stated that all Wikimedia projects should get the same attention when decisions regarding policies/finance/etc are made:

  • In which sense projects would be treated equality: does this mean that a small project (by the number of users and the quantity of content) but producing a lot of troubles should get the same attention than another, large project with the same (in absolute scale) volume of troubles?
We are all part of the foundation. All projects should get the same and equal attention from the board in all respectd regardless of the amount of users. When decisions and policies are made they affect every project, therefore each project needs equal thought and consideration. DragonFire1024 21:36, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
  • The candidate stated that he can't even read on foreign languages. How will numerous non-English project get the so named attention when decisions from him?
English is one of the most spoken languages on earth. I am not any less qualified because I cannot speak some or all of them. In the debate, it would be a good Idea to elect or hire translators. DragonFire1024 21:36, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Let's suppose that in some non-English Wikipedia local users established (by majority) some policy, which is quite different from one of en.wiki. What the candidate would do with his attention?

Best regards, Incnis Mrsi 18:41, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Each language has their own Wiki...and own set of users and own set of policies. Those policies are made and voted on by the community. Unless a policy fails then the board should give "attention." Those local policies are made for that local Wiki, not for other Wikis. So the "attention" would come from the board, giving that language Wiki the same consideration it does on any other Wiki or project. DragonFire1024 21:36, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

IRC Debate[edit]

Hi, as this seems to get closer to the time that the elections are to start, I thought it would be best to go ahead and attempt to get the unofficial IRC debate a time and a place. By the time analysis on the talk page, the best time for the debate appears to be 1800 UTC, to 1900 UTC. As it would be best for this debate to occur before the elections, June 27 was chosen as the day. I know that this is short notice, but the whole unofficial debate thing was on a very short notice to start with. I hope that you are able to attend. Again the time is 18:00 UTC, June 27, 2007, it will be held at ##wikimedia-debate. Please do note that this debate is unofficial, and you are not required to attend. —— Eagle101 Need help? 20:37, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Attended. DragonFire1024 21:36, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Donors and scope[edit]

Asked of all candidiates: Okay, I'm not naive so yeah, it follows that large donors will probably get some pull when policies, direction and the scope of the foundation get decided, but what's your take on it all? How far do we bend to satisfy our donors, and to what extent are ideals of the foundation non-negotiable? In five years say, would you expect the foundation to still exist in the same legal fashion as now and assert ownership over the assets it currently has? Steve block 20:45, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

In 5 years i hope we are the biggest foundation/organization of free information providers in the world. To remain non profit, then they would not "own" the assets. We are supposed to use the money to improve the wikis and software and equipment. Use it for new projects and ideas and Wikis. We bend pretty far IMO...afterall 85% of the donations we receive come from the contributers/public/people (like you and I).
Policies should be given complete review for each project so that the consequences or or implications can be evaluated to being good or bad for that project. Policies should be conformed to fit a project, not damage it. DragonFire1024 21:41, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for your response. Steve block 15:19, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

What do you do when faced with a difficult decision to take ?[edit]

I saw in the recent irc debate the following question. Would you support releasing the state of the foundation's finances quarterly? Why or why not.. Of course, making such a decision is a matter of board-level policy. Now, the job of the board is also oversight. So, let's imagine the hypothesis that the board made a policy for quarterly release, the staff was asked to provide the statements according to the policy... and in spite of this, the report does not come. As board, you are embarassed. First because the policy is not respected. Second because the community is complaining. And third because, with no financial statements, there is no oversight possible. Please imagine you are facing this situation, reminded the staff once, then twice, then three times, and still no report.

What do you do ?

Fire the staff. They are hired or elected to do a job. They are also required/obligated, as a basis of an official/employee to follow every rule and policy, no exceptions. If they are failing to do their job, or fail after repeated attempts to follow the rules, fire them. DragonFire1024 21:43, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

fund raiser and chapters[edit]

do you support to facilitate fundraising by offering a direct link to country specific donation possibilities? an example woulde be medecins sans frontier's donation page. in wikimedia's case the donation page for the year end fundraiser would contain flags, and the links behind the flags would go to the donation page of local chapters, for two reasons:

  1. local law (which donators know and can make use of) strengtens donators feeling, that their donations are used at their will
  2. local tax exemption allows to donate up to 50% more without paying more

--ThurnerRupert 12:11, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes I do supports it. And as you said, it will give the donators the feeling that the donations are used at their will. Support :) DragonFire1024 17:30, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Committees[edit]

The committee system has been around for roughly a year and a half now, not counting previous initiatives. Several of the committees are now dormant and some never got off the ground. Some, conversely, have done fairly well.

I know this is a long-standing and groan-inducing topic of debate, but what is your view on the committee system? Do you have ideas for reviving the current committee system or making it more functional? Do you think there is a place in the Foundation, in theory at least, for community-based committees to do some of the day-to-day work or oversee certain areas? Who should the committees report to, ideally? Are there new committees that should be formed, or old ones to be reworked?

Sorry about posting my question(s) so late! -- phoebe 00:24, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes to day-to-day work, depending on the work. The committees should report to the board.I think there is always room for improvement. We can raise awareness to those committees that are not doing to well also. DragonFire1024 04:55, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. -- phoebe 08:03, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

Free resources[edit]

Wikipedia, being one of the ten most visited sites in internet, has some negotiation power. I believe we should be able to use this power in order to increase both the freedom and quality of the encyclopedia. In example, the board could contact copyright holders of promotional images (places, objects, models, singers, bands, etc), and convince them to release their items under a free license. I have been doing this myself, but I believe the Board could have better chances than a single person, a WikiProject or even a Wikipedia project. What do you think, do you think this could be a priority? And good luck! -- ReyBrujo 18:35, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Well that does not sound like a board issue or decision. I would support another project or a new project to do that though. The thing is we cannot force people to use a free license. We could start an ad campaign that would entice people to do that, but to harass them to change a license, IMO is not really professional. DragonFire1024 04:52, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I was thinking about a foundation initiative, in example, a press release to the media requesting free images which we could use to contact copyright holders. -- ReyBrujo 21:38, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
That sounds like a good idea :) DragonFire1024 09:35, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

In the news[edit]

As one of the principal reporters behind the story on edits to w:Chris Benoit, do you think you would be in a conflicting position if covering another story like this (i.e. involving a Wikimedia project) and a board member? Yes, Eloquence also contributed to the report on Fox claiming exclusive on a story we published 5-6 hours before them, I should probably ask him the same question... --Brian McNeil / talk 22:40, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

All depends on the situation...Am I involved directly? What was done to merit a report? As a news writer, its my duty to report what I think is news. This is a tough question. I would have to still say it all depends on the situation. But yes, there could be conflicts. DragonFire1024 04:48, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Several questions[edit]

I am asking these exact same questions of you and all your opponents so I can make an apples-to-apples comparison.

  1. Do you think the Wikimedia Foundation should invest in stocks and bonds so that it has a source of income if donations dry up? If so, should its investment strategy be active or passive, diversified or focus, value or growth?
Not sure that the contributers (donations) would like the idea of their money going to the stock market.
  1. Do you think the Foundation's spending on travel and conferences before it has a long-term source of income is responsible?
Yes. How often do they need to pay for this? If not often, then its really not that expensive, or shouldn't be.
  1. Should some of the Foundation's major financial decisions, such as expansion of the paid staff, be subject to referenda of the editors and donors?
Well it should be available to the public. People like to know what their donations are doing.
  1. The oversight function -- where edits are hidden even from admins -- has legitimate uses, but the potential for misuse is Orwellian. How can abuse be avoided?
Oversight should only be used in extreme cases, and noted when it is used. As long as a record exists stating it was used, I do not see an issue.
  1. Do you believe control over Wikipedia content policy should ultimately rest with the man who created the skeleton of the site, or the editors who create its flesh and blood and/or their elected representatives?
Editors and etc. Policies affecting a project should always merit community input.
  1. What is your position on freedom of expression in the User namespace?
User namespaces are for just that. To express you personal views. Afterall what else would a userpage be for?
  1. Where U.S. copyright law unfairly impedes Wikimedia Foundation projects, should the Foundation lobby for the law to be changed? If so, how should it do so without spending money it can't afford?
Unfortunately, IMO, the foundation would have very little effect on a major law like that.
  1. To what extent is Wikipedia yet reaching the developing world, and what could you do during your term to speed that up?
We can only go as fast as those nations go. Non-profit groups also tend to raise funds for a humanity effort(s) as well. Maybe we should look into something similar.

Seahen 05:37, 30 June 2007 (UTC) Answered by: DragonFire1024 07:02, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Wikinews and building on an unexpected publicity opportunity[edit]

As I would hope you have seen, Wikinews has made a splash in the news as the original non-blog source for the story of a prank edit to w:Chris Benoit's Wikipedia page. Our Alexa rating has skyrocketed, Google news has hundreds of articles that mention - or cite - us. I had planned to sponsor a Writing Contest on Wikinews following these elections - but this seems like too good an opportunity to miss. I've asked a few people to contribute to the prize pot, but most of our local contributors don't have the spare cash.

  • First question, should we do things like this - we've had other competitions in the past and the daily article count has gone up significantly.
Well...We have had two successful competitions on Wikinews since my presence there. Although I have participated in both, I would not want to do too many competitions as it might seem like write for pay. If you mean "we" as in the board, I am not sure if the board needs to be involved, but should be encouraged to participate/contribute.
  • Second, are you prepared to put your money where our projects are and donate to the prize fund?
Unfortunately, I just moved and I am unable to financially contribute.
  • Third, if you are prepared to donate to the prize pot would you also be prepared to help out as a judge? I feel the impartial position the board should strive to take day to day would be welcome in defining rules and judging a competition.
I MIGHT judge, but I would love to actually be in the competition if time allows me to. DragonFire1024 09:26, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

unsigned comment by Brianmc (talk)

International Symbol of Access[edit]

If elected, would you act to remove the Foundation's ban on the use of the International Symbol of Access and International Symbol for Deafness outside the scope of fair use? If you are unfamiliar with this issue, it boils down to the fact that these symbols may be freely used for their intended purpose but are extremely unlikely to be released under a free license. Because they are internationally recognized symbols, no free equivalent could be created to replace them. There would be no legal risk to either the Wikimedia Foundation or to downstream users if we were to use these symbols in infoboxes to designate handicapped accessible metro stations, Disney rides, etc. I'm not asking for permission to use them in userboxes or the like. I just think that the current Foundation-level policy of lumping them into the "fair use" category is quite detrimental our goals. —Remember the dot 03:53, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

Honestly, I am quite shocked that they are not allowed. As long as a fair use rational can be written, as per an EDP, then why not? These in some cases are important symbols. Say we have a Wiki Project for the deaf, blind or handicapped? Should we not allow them? Personally if they are in violation of copyright, then every one of those symbols everywhere in the world is a copyright violation, unless every place in the world has explicit permission from the author to use them. So for them to be "banned" as you say, is plain ridiculous. DragonFire1024 09:30, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
Well, the reason they are prohibited is that using them for their intended purpose is outside of fair use, though it is still fully within what anyone can do with the symbol. But yes, it is ridiculous. Does this mean that I have your commitment to work to change Foundation:Resolution:Licensing policy to make an exception for symbols like these? —Remember the dot 16:52, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
A while ago, the English Wikipedia's policy restricted all non-free images which could not be covered under fair use. In my opinion, this was a dumb move; getting explicit permission from a copyright holder or having implicit permission (like the ISA symbol) is a much better situation legally and morally than letting regular users assert fair use without permission and having to defend that in court. — Omegatron 02:38, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Well, the policy problem resides with the Foundation. Foundation:Resolution:Licensing policy currently tells us that all non-free content must be treated as All Rights Reserved, meaning that the fair use criteria would apply. We need the Foundation to make an exception for copyrighted international symbols like these. Would you be willing to get the Foundation to do that? Remember the dot 05:58, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Let me just say this: In the resolution, the definition of "free" is defined by Erik M. It was written by Erik and the definition of free, is his own personal definition. IMO, why would his definition of free be better than the definition of free in regards to US copyright? Point is, his sole idea of free is not the only definition to exist on the planet and to follow only his definition is insane.

The resolution IMO is poorly written and is written to conform to only 2 projects (for the most part): Commons and Wikipedia. As it is written, it seems to have taken no consideration of what damage it had the possibility of doing to other projects.

I agree that there NEEDS to be an "image resolution," but this one is not the answer. It needs to be rewritten and discussed, IMO, by the communities of the projects.

In regards to the handicapped and deafness signs, those are clearly a matter of defining the availability of something supporting those needs. They are required, by law in the US, to be placed in areas that supply those needs. For example, no parking lot in the US can be without handicapped spaces. Now are the lots going to write to the woman who created those signs, directly, to place those signs on their lot? No. Never. So to say that they are not fair use is most ridiculous. There is no justification, IMO, to say that they are not. And the fact that they are required by law to be placed, even justifies the fair use rational even more. I would say that the requirement nearly abolishes any limited "copyright" that they do have. Otherwise there are millions of businesses and lots committing severe copyright infringement. DragonFire1024 06:55, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

"Attack site" link bans[edit]

On English Wikipedia, there has been some controversy about whether it is, or ought to be, the policy that linking to so-called "attack sites" against Wikipedia and Wikipedians is to be banned. Some administrators have (overzealously, in some others' opinions) removed links to criticism sites from such places as talk pages, evidence pages for ArbCom cases, and even in a few cases from actual articles where they were being used as a source. I wrote an essay on this issue. What is your opinion? Dtobias 03:57, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

On talk pages: Not sure if a policy exists on Wikipedia, but on Wikinews, unless the libk is spam, it is against policy to edit, remove or alter another users comments. We follow that strictly. On ArbCom: That is evidence in a case. If it were a court case would it be ok to remove evidence from the investigation? No, you go to jail for that. On Sources: sources are sources. If the source is used in the article then regardless of a personal opinion of the site it is still a source. Admins should not let their personal opinion of a website get in the way of the projects goals. So no...nothing, in those examples, should be removed. DragonFire1024 09:34, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

How will you deal with this...[edit]

Whenever I can not find the specific answer to a question in an article I turn to Wikipedia help. In many instances, however, the reply is devoid of thought or knowledge and merely a student's guess to fill blank space on the page as if to say: "Here is my guess. I've done my job. You have received my authoritative response."

Also, what about the issue of editing out posts to talk pages or articles of items that are not considered news by you?

71.100.1.114 21:56, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

I do not understand your question. If areas of the article are missing and or incomplete, then you or someone else is always more than welcome to expand those ares of the article. As to your second quesion I do not understand. can you be more specific? DragonFire1024 22:37, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

How to deal with consensus of uninformed editors[edit]

Sometimes a popular opinion is contradicted by scientific evidence. Majority of editors stick to the popular opinion (which is also theirs) and vote to delete all pages that contradict their opinion (intrinsic weakness of democracy). As a result Wikipedia propagates old prejudices. How would you solve this problem?

Supporting evidence for the problem: Once I wrote several pages on Einsteinian physics (I'm just doing my PhD on it) and all of them were deleted by consensus of editors (9:1) who preferred their old high school physics :-). Unfortunately their high school physics was invalidated about 100 years ago by Einstein. Yet till today one can read as the first statement of Wikipedia's Gravitation: "Gravitation is a natural phenomenon by which all objects attract each other". According to contemporary science objects don't attract each other they just look like they do. Similarly as the Sun looks like running around the Earth while it doesn't and there exists a simple explanation in both cases. So I just explained the simple Einsteinian mechanism of this apparent attraction, since I thought it may be interesting to Wikipedia's readers. All those pages were deleted by consensus of editors cooling my enthusiasm for Wikipedia. So the issue of propagating old prejudices, because of democratic process involved in editing, seems to be very real in Wikipedia. JimJast 13:51, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

See wikinews:NPOV. We do not let our personal opinions of articles get in the way of facts. Plain and simple. Your beliefs and the beliefs/opinions of others should not be considered when writing a factual article. DragonFire1024 06:42, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
The policy is clear but it doesn't work when over 99.9% of editors don't know that they push their POVs that are outdated for centuries, as documented by scientific literature. Usually it is because they consider this scientific literature too difficult for them since usually they are not specialists in the issues. Even if they are professors of physics. So every time there shows up a page popularizing those issues (trying to explain mysteries of nature to those editors) it will be automatically deleted by a consensus on the grounds of pushing someone else's point of view (in this case Einstein's who proved an apparently unpopular idea that objects didn't attract each other, while majority of "intelligent" population, often graduated from various universities, think that they do). It's a very real, general issue that can't be swept under the carpet. Someone has to solve it if Wikipedia is not going to deteriorate into collection of cultural prejudices (another page deleted by consensus that thinks that it doesn't exist and it's only a myth invented by me, specifically to put them down). JimJast 16:30, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Another problem that needs to be solved is how to attract authors who know facts (from scientific literature) and could pupularize them dispelling cultural prejudice but don't have time to waste on fighting editors who don't know the facts and unconcsiously push their popular, and therefore already generally accepted, POVs. These editors always prevail since in general they have much more time than those authors. How would you address this issue? JimJast 16:58, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Again. Facts are facts and are very different from POV's. POV's do NOT belong in any Wikipedia WIkinews, Wikiversity, etc, etc, article at all. Things are disproven over the years and if they are disproven, they were not facts, but theories. Point is, no POV's, period. Theories can be allowed, but in controlling factors as in theories are good, but if you present enough, they then can be more supportive on one side, and less on the other. No POV's period. DragonFire1024 18:24, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Majority biasing the facts[edit]

12:33, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Dear Candidate,

it is an increasing frustration to me that a supermajority of wikipedians has apparently decided to defend their common view of the world as the only truth. All minority views are blocked. This goes so far as to not allow facts, which are acknowledged to be true, on article pages when they are seemingly at odds with this view. This tends to make the articles POV and destroys the knowledge and hard work brought together by many, many editors in this unique enterprise. It makes wikipedia a very unreliable and biased source of information. Subjects are e.g. terrorist attacks. Will you make an effort to change this trend? It is imortant to us that the guidelines are upheld fairly and equally, and not just to defend a single viewpoint.

regards,

Xiutwel
NL
Well POV issues are generally a local issue...BUT, if Administrators and editors alike are not abiding by their local NPOV policy (take Wikinews's NPOV for example), then that is meriting a block or ArbCom. Point is, POV is NOT factual. They are a matter of opinions. I may think blue is a beautiful color, you may think red is...but that does not make one color or the other any more or less a color because of one person liking it more than the other. POV has no business in writing articles based on facts. IF the board needs to step in, it would likely take a complete overhaul of their local NPOV policy, and may even require those Admins not following, or enforcing policy to go up for reconfirmation. The baord would not get involved in a local dispute unless all the necessary steps are taken to resolve the issue. In the case of a mass POV push, where there is an obvious and blantant attempt to hide the facts, then the only option would have to be an overhaul. POV is under no circumstances allowed in articles on Wikinews, or Wikipedia. Also see: How to deal with consensus of uninformed editors question and answer above. DragonFire1024 15:12, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Who Writes Wikipedia?[edit]

Late question: do you have any thoughts on this essay (and if so, what)? It suggests that Jimbo formed a radically false picture of anonymous users and their contributions to Wikipedia. This may have far-reaching implications. Dan(pedia) 21:13, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

We write Wikipedia. The users. Thw anonymous users. Everyone everywhere. DragonFire1024 18:16, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

A Fairer Voting System[edit]

Would you support the use of choice voting in the next Board Elections?


Choice voting protects majority rule while providing for the fair representation of minority views. Voters rank the candidates 1, 2, 3, and so on, in order of preference. If your top choice either is not elected or already has enough votes to win a seat, your vote goes to your next choice. No vote is wasted, and all viewpoints are represented. Choice voting would drastically reduce the number of wasted votes.

Choice voting can be used for single or multiple position elections. It is used for national elections in a number of countries including the Republic of Ireland. It is also used by a wide variety of organsations such as students' unions, charities, trade unions, universities, hospital trusts and housing associations. Choice voting is already used to elect the board of Nominet UK.

Choice voting is also called preference voting or wikipedia:single transferable vote (STV)

John Cross 16:59, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

I would actually support a system similar to that. I would also support an oppose/support vote like we normally do on Wiki. DragonFire1024 18:19, 7 July 2007 (UTC)