Request for comment/Legal Fees Assistance Program/Option2

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Option 2

  • Option 2: The Wikimedia Foundation should not implement the Legal Fees Assistance Program
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  1. I don't think users in "support roles" should be offered greater support than contributors in general. Whilst I would encourage greater clarity as to when support might be given for Defense of Contributors in general, I don't think we should be giving special status to administrators, bureaucrats etc. I think this risks looking like we undervalue the editorial contributions of volunteers, which (if made in good faith, sensibly etc) should receive the same support as actions taken by administrators. I worry that this proposal could be divisive and would prefer to see a stronger statement regarding how all contributors might be supported in future (regardless of the manner in which they contribute and whether they have any quasi-official status). WJBscribe (talk) 12:09, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
    Thank you for all of your feedback above and below, which I find quite useful. We added an item to the FAQ, but I see that there is still ongoing concern about why this program is not inclusive of content contribution. If I may, in addition to the FAQ, I would like to add a couple more thoughts for your consideration.

    We have a history of helping in the support of content contributors when appropriate, and that commitment is based in part on principles articulated in Defense of Contributors program. This was one of the first policies that we wrote when I joined the Foundation, which was appropriate given the importance of content contributors. We are now going a step forward: we want a policy that addresses support roles, positions which are not covered by the existing policy. Given the difference in roles, the considerations are necessarily different. For example, freedom of expression or enforceability of free licenses - relevant factors when talking about defending content contributors - are less pertinent factors in deciding whether to help represent an OTRS representative in her or his administrative functions. I recognize that the policies are not the same for these reasons and others, but both require a review of all the circumstances, and the implementation of both falls within the discretion of the Foundation. Both policies also have different financial, legal, resource, and practical considerations: our existing policy addresses millions of content contributors; the proposed policy addresses about 7,500 users in support roles. Geoffbrigham (talk) 11:15, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
  2. Sorry, but not this way. Every contributer can be threat with legal actions and get legal troubel. Every contributer should get in this case support by th foundation. It is not to understand why this should be limited to "support roles", especially since the main part of the project is still the writing of an encyclopedia. So the main focus should be on writers and photographers and yes, the "suppoert roles" also should get the legal support. --Julius1990 (talk) 11:13, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
  3. As WJBscribe says. While I can understand the intent behind it, it's far more likely that a non-admin would be making such edits - after all, they not only have far less to lose politically, but they also have the advantage of time and numbers. Either make it apply to all editors in good standing or don't bother with it. Jéské Couriano (v^_^v) 04:20, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
    Just to be sure we're clear, this protection plan is not limited to admins; for instance, members of the OTRS team (whether administrators or not) are explicitly covered. The limitation is to the nature of the work being done. Those who are in support roles would not be protected by this program for ordinary editorial behavior, either; it is only for work "within...capacity and parameters as a user in [a] support role". A "check-user" might (for instance) be protected if accused of improper check-user behavior (when that behavior is consistent with policies), but would not be protected for adding content to a biography. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 12:15, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
    I'm sure we, the people who opposed this, all get what this is all about. Yea right this is not just for sysop but for special status people such as flagged users, members of OTRS. Same thing! Oh and "The limitation is to the nature of the work being done." --> Sorry to say that no work in WMF is more special than the other. So why should there be a limitation on flagged users or any special members of any kind of groups? Why not for all editors? Normal editors are probably more than 99% of all the users on WMF. So it would A LOT more likely that a normal user would get into this kind of trouble. As the matter of fairness and the more need for something that happen more often. This policy should be FOR ALL!Trongphu (talk) 18:29, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
  4. Concur with WJBscribe. ~~EBE123~~ talkContribs 11:11, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
  5. I concur with WJBscribe as well. Any legal protection should cover all contributors, not just ones who hold advanced permissions. LegoKontribsTalkM 17:46, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
  6. Per WJBscribe. There was a time when being an administrator was seen as "no big deal". Making it something that entitles you to legal protection you wouldn't otherwise have is hardly no big deal. --GRuban (talk) 19:00, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
  7. Oppose Oppose, with regret, per WJBscribe, mostly. I do like the idea in concept, and thank the WMF legal team for bringing this forward, but I can't support anything that treats some volunteers as more worthy than others. Craig Franklin (talk) 12:42, 5 September 2012 (UTC).
  8. Oppose Oppose, per WJBscribe and Craig just above me. I am sorry to see that while I haven't been looking, something very serious happened to the adminship is no big deal policy. odder (talk) 14:34, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
  9. I agree with WJBscribe and Craig. Editing on hot topics will expose users to threats, even legal ones. It happened, it happens, it will happen. Then why shoud we protect only flagged users? Why should we pay this assistance for selected users with money donated in order to keep wikipedia running and not to pay lawyers? An user from AndreaFox (talk) 14:55, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
  10. Oppose Oppose I'm also in full agreement with WJBscribe if any legal coverage is to be provided it should be granted to any non-anonymous contributor. Panic (talk) 18:12, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
  11. Oppose Oppose Volunteers on up to non-WMF employee contributors are protected at least in the USA by the good samaritan principle. Contributors that violate USA law, as contributions are stored at WMF in San Francisco, are subject to prosecution and Public Defenders are available for criminal charges. Civil law suits are another matter entirely. Contributors can be economically, seriously harmed by civil suits. The current law and precedents are such that WMF can be excluded from a civil suit, especially where the defendant may have violated US law or policy in line with that law. Legal help may be needed when a non-WMF employee contributor is sued for statements contributed that are not deleted by conscientious administrators, perhaps because the statements are true but politically unpopular. Edit wars that may result in lawsuits are not a WMF problem (the lawsuits aspect) and WMF funds should not be politically funneled to support one side or the other in such matters. Current WMF legal people probably know when WMF had better help volunteer contributors or not, and the few of them are already being paid. There are special circumstance outside this that may require WMF financial support, but setting aside contingency funds may not be the best answer. Marshallsumter (talk) 18:34, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
  12. Pretty much makes us legally liable for their action, which is odd that the legal counsel did not pick that up. Sigh. This is clearly not part of our mission and is a strong reason why so many of the content editors have left. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:07, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
  13. Oppose Oppose, per WJBscribe. Worthy programme, but should be for all.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:24, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
  14. Oppose Oppose, as WJBscribe, I believe that this proposal makes distinctions among editors. If the proposal extends to all users I would support.--Rosymonterrey (talk) 19:39, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
  15. Oppose Oppose, per WJBscribe and GRuban. cmadler (talk) 19:51, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
  16. Oppose Oppose Should be for all, I don't think sysops or any higher positions should get any special privilege than a regular user. This is simply not fair! I'm sad to see the statement sysops are no big deal now became vain. Sysops have departed from its original purpose from 2003.Trongphu (talk) 18:07, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
  17. Oppose – What if the Sixth Amendment said, "We may or may not provide a person with a public attorney at our own discretion," instead of giving everyone the right to a public attorney? --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 14:21, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
  18. I'm happy to accept in good faith that the budget for ordinary contributors would be unchanged. I am also willing to accept that, over and above the Defence of Contributors programme, this support will be limited to defending users in these permissions only "when such users are named in a legal proceeding as a defendant because of their support role on Wikimedia projects." I support that principle.

    What brings me to oppose is the lack of coverage for reviewers under the same circumstances. The WMF has been keen to push flagged revisions and pending changes systems through, not least due to the risks of not having adequate protection for BLPs. It therefore has an obligation to afford a similar level of protection to those who act within policy to make these systems work, given that those users are in turn trying to protect the WMF and its projects. —WFC— 06:12, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

  19. Oppose Oppose per WJBscribe. All users editing in good faith and adhering to policy should be covered under any such a program. Rivertorch (talk) 07:06, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
  20. Oppose Oppose I disapprove the "Eligibility" list. Administrators should be considered as equal to "ordinary" contributors and treated the same way : either both are eligible to the programme, or neither. My personal preferrence would be a program with a very limited scope (say the functions where the Wikimedia Fundation requires to know the real identity, like Checkusers), and I could accept a program open to all users editing in good faith as a second choice. But I really don't like the level where the limit has been installed. Touriste (talk) 16:57, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
  21. Oppose Oppose --Sasakubo1717 (talk) 14:11, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
  22. Oppose Oppose. In accordance with the Occam's razor, the Foundation shouldn't issue superfluous policies not supported by an established practice. Ivan Pozdeev (talk) 15:06, 29 September 2012 (UTC)