Requests for comment/Community consensus for blackouts and other advocacy

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The following request for comments is closed. there is no reasonable interpretation besides “oppose”; not waiting on an uninvolved admin to come long and mark it as such Dronebogus (talk) 21:05, 1 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Historically, individual projects have been permitted to modify their site to express support or opposition to certain legislation or causes without consulting the broader community. Initially this proceeded without issue, with sites taking positions on relatively non-partisan matters such as the SOPA blackout.

Recently, however, communities have started to take position on more contentious topics, and that raises the possibility that the perception of Wikipedia as being neutral and unbiased will be harmed. To address this I propose that individual projects are only allowed to express such support or opposition with the approval of the broader community.

This approval would come in the form of a consensus at meta approving an explicit proposal for site modification; this proposal would include both the proposed duration and the proposed type, with the type including but not limited to the addition of a banner, a site blackout, or a logo modification. 01:29, 26 February 2024 (UTC)


  • Support Support - Normally, I am very reluctant to try to shift power from the individual projects to the broader community, but this is a topic that cannot be addressed on the individual level - we have worked too hard to earn a reputation for neutrality and non-partisanship and we cannot allow individual projects to be able to risk it with explicit displays of support or opposition to certain causes without the broader community determining that such a risk is acceptable. BilledMammal (talk) 01:29, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support one of the hardest things in the Wikimedia movement is leaving your biases at the door. SOPA was different, in that it threatened the movement itself. Our reputation for neutrality is something of global importance: it only makes sense to require global buy-in for potentially compromising it. HouseBlaster (talk) 02:22, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Strong oppose The Wikimedia movement is not neutral. Open access to knowledge, accessible education, and the freedom to contribute such knowledge are not apolitical stances. As background, this RfC follows a previous RfC on Arabic Wiki's blackout over ethnic cleansing, genocide, and war crimes in Gaza. The destruction of universities, cultures, and knowledge are precisely the sort of things that individual projects should be allowed to opine on. That is why NPOV is a content policy, not a community policy. Brought here by en:T:CENT. voorts (talk/contributions) 02:33, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Isn't this RfC about consensus? Perhaps the consensus supports's actions, maybe not. I think discussing these things centrally makes sense. Commander Keane (talk) 02:43, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Right, it's proposing that people outside of a project would have oversight over when those individual projects take a stance on something. Project communities should have autonomy to make political statements when issues that align with the broader community's values and principles affect their readers and editors. voorts (talk/contributions) 02:53, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I also agree with @Rhododendrites, @Kusma, and @Nableezy. voorts (talk/contributions) 22:06, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I agree with @Bilorv as well, who has made a much better case than I for why protests like ar-wiki's are directly related to the destruction of knowledge and culture, something core to the Wikimedia community's mission. voorts (talk/contributions) 22:49, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose This proposal is missing the required evidence that there is in fact a cross-project attribution of blame here, that the Arabic Wikipedia's actions are in fact being misapplied to other Wikipedias. Otherwise we can let each project tamper with its own neutrality at its own risk. * Pppery * it has begun 02:56, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    @Pppery, according to this study the WMF did, most readers (at least in developing markets) believe that different language editions of Wikipedia are direct translations, having no understanding at all of the autonomy they have. Given that, my strong presumption would be that readers see Wikipedia as a global brand, and that media coverage along the lines of "Arabic Wikipedia endorses Palestinian cause" would absolutely reflect back on the perception of our brand in other language editions for many of the (sizable) portion of readers who never click beyond the headline. Sdkbtalk 05:08, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Making it harder for readers is that sources conflate individual language Wikipedia's and the movement, such as this source, which discusses activities on the Arab Wikipedia but then attributes them to the movement more broadly by saying The online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, claims to be unbiased, yet at least in regard to one issue, it would appear that has chosen a side.
    It's not a particularly good source but does explain why readers might conflate the two, and it is evidence for the decisions of a local Wikipedia being sufficient to damage the global brand. BilledMammal (talk) 06:50, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    The source you've linked to uses "genocide" in scare quotes and asserts that the blackout banner promotes Hamas (it does not). Do you have any evidence from nonbiased sources that this action is somehow being attributed to all of Wikipedia and the movement rather than ar-wiki? voorts (talk/contributions) 16:56, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Readers, unlike good editors, very often get information from unreliable sources. There is no requirement that a source needs to be reliable in order for it to impact reader perception of our brand. Sdkbtalk 19:00, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    We shouldn't take or not take community action based on what one misinformed or biased sources might say. SOPA advocates were upset with en-wiki, for example, and raised spurious objections to the blackout. voorts (talk/contributions) 20:24, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    That en:Arutz Sheva is making things up isnt evidence that there is any problem besides using Arutz Sheva as a source of information. Nableezy (talk) 17:01, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    That's the first sentence, not further on, says "in regard to one issue" and in the next mention of Wikipedia specifically states that it's only on arwiki. Don't see why this attributes the arwiki action to the movement, though it does claim the banner was added by staff. Aaron Liu (talk) 20:08, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support. I see Wikipedia in particular as a global brand and it is reasonable to discuss centrally actions that may damage that brand. Perhaps this new process will not affect local project actions at all.--Commander Keane (talk) 03:46, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose for two main reasons:
    1) Ill-defined scope. "Other advocacy" is part of the main question but never explained. The closest is type including but not limited to..., which is far too broad. Who decides what counts as "advocacy"? How do we decide what kind of modification counts?
    2) This is a step too far in curtailing the autonomy of individual projects. While I would hope that most of the time speakers of different languages can find common ground about the neutrality of a given summary, a difference of perspective on some subjects should be expected. We've chosen to organize our projects around languages, setting up separate wikis for each one. In this way we can maximize access and participation. That brings with it some challenges: different histories, different access to sources, different production of sources, different degrees of association with specific states, different degrees of association with specific religions or belief systems, different documentation practices, different sides of conflicts, etc. Typically (as far as I'm aware anyway) intervention is for those extreme cases when one particular group within a language community manages to take control and skew the project such that it cannot reasonably be seen to neutrally represent that community. That's not what I see here, though. Here we seem to be talking about comparing the consensus at one local project against to some form of cross-language "true" neutrality. The existence of such a thing -- practically or philosophically -- is... fraught, to say the least, and I don't see in this proposal a good practical application of it. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 04:05, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I see organizing projects around languages as a necessary (at least for now) evil rather than an intended feature, and one that comes with many well-known problems. On a philosophical level, to the extent one believes "true" neutrality is subjective, there is no reason why the language one uses to communicate should need to be the separator. And on a practical level, we've generally seen that the broader the audience is that looks at an issue, the better a job we do staying neutral. Sdkbtalk 05:17, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    The Croatian situation is what happens when one subgroup of language speakers seizes control. It wasn't a problem that it didn't meet English-speakers' expectations of neutrality; it was a problem that it didn't meet Croatian speakers' expectations of neutrality. Language isn't just a translation problem; there's culture and ways of thinking built into languages and language communities which can't easily be divorced to produce some pure meaning for translation. More practically, some languages have more or less closer ties to individual states, individual religions, sides of conflicts, etc. Those will all affect how they view neutrality. We trust our projects to come up with their own policies on neutrality, reliable sources, etc. and accept that they may differ. If a decision does reflect the consensus of a language community, and not just a small part of it that has managed to capture its Wikipedia, it is problematic in my view to subject that consensus to being overruled and outnumbered by one or more more populous language communities or homogenized into a single summary. The World Brain and Leibniz's encyclopedia of calculated knowledge are interesting ideas, but not realistic.
    To be clear, although the Arabic Wikipedia's blackout isn't mentioned in the proposal, it's all over the responses and the subtext, and my !vote here is not an endorsement of that blackout. I just don't think it's appropriate, given the structure of our community, to subvert the consensus of a project except in extraordinary circumstances. Some may view the Arabic Wikipedia blackout as an extraordinary circumstance, but this is a proposal that includes any blackout in addition to "other advocacy", not just that one blackout. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:47, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support. I'd like the proposal to be defined better to clearly demarcate what is advocacy and what is not. But per my reply above, there is every reason to believe that readers see Wikipedia as a global brand. And as such, actions that affect that brand should have buy-in from the broader movement. Sdkbtalk 05:11, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Andre (talk) 05:31, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Wikipedia are not TikTok influencers. With arwiki's fiasco, Wikipedia has lied to my face about neutrality, and used my time and money as a donor to promote political agendas against my country. It's not Wikipedia's job to promote a political opinion, and this fiasco is threatening the existence of the project - turning it into Websummit 2.0. If the community supports the project turning into a site promoting political agendas, count me out. Bharel (talk) 06:46, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose} trying to regulate political expression by local communities globally, which is a rather colonial approach. Also, the scope is unclear (is it still OK to replace a logo for a local holiday but not to protest a war?) and there is no enforcement mechanism. Concerns for Wikipedia's reputation seem overblown to me (if you ask me, people put too much trust into Wikipedia already). Kusma (talk) 07:07, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    A local holiday is neither legislation or a cause, so it would still be ok to replace a logo for a local holiday without consulting the broader community. BilledMammal (talk) 07:10, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    A local holiday is typically something non-neutral like celebrating the end of a war, or the birth of a religious leader. Kusma (talk) 09:40, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Also, if there are new censorship laws in, say, Mali, and the Bambara Wikipedia wants to speak out against this, it seems wrong to have this regulated by a clueless "global community" (I for one know nothing about Mali or whether they even have censorship laws). This brings me to another point: if you want a global discussion, it needs to be in multiple languages, not in English, unless you want to impose the cultural values of English speakers over others. Such a discussion including translations would always take weeks or months, not a good timeframe to react to short time political questions of interest to a project. Kusma (talk) 09:39, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    There isn't any requirement to speak English on metawiki AFAIK though. Aaron Liu (talk) 11:56, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    What Aaron said. Wikimedia is a global movement — that is so foundational it's in the first sentence here and here — and here. And being a global movement entails a need for global coordination on matters that have potential impacts beyond an individual language edition. As BilledMammal and I established in our replies to Pppery, that is absolutely the case with the brand issue here.
    Systemic bias toward the Global North and the limitations of English being the lingua franca at Meta are absolutely challenges we need to work through. But our response to them cannot be to tuck in our tails and flee from the idea of any interlanguage coordination between wikis. That path would lead us to a world with more political/ethnic bias (as we saw at e.g. Croatian Wikipedia). Sdkbtalk 16:47, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I dont think anybody is objecting to coordination, rather to domination and subjugation. Nableezy (talk) 16:49, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose because this is because of this. Maybe Wikimedia should ban political advocacy by its wikis, but because ArWiki protested against Israel razing Gaza to the ground, killing thousands of civilians, and leaving over 1.9 million people starving and homeless and some IsraeliWiki users complained because it went against their country’s official narrative? Dronebogus (talk) 12:56, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Strong oppose per Kusma and Nableezy and RudolfRed. 🌺 Cremastra (talk) 13:05, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Strong oppose Blackouts and other forms of protest and advocacy are the prerogative of each Wikimedia project on its own. The participants of each project know best what's appropriate for their context. It is absurd that the global community (largely dominated by the global north) make blanket statements that dictate what is and what is not acceptable on a local level. Individual cases may be discussed on their own merit. --Fjmustak (talk) 13:33, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Terms of use The Terms of use for our projects state that users must not "harm our technology infrastructure". A local blackout seems directly contrary to this and so WMF should act against functionaries that disable particular projects. Meta might be a place to discuss such issues but seems to lack a coherent community which could enforce this. Andrew D. (talk) 14:06, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Using built-in functionality to put up a banner isn't harming infrastructure. voorts (talk/contributions) 14:24, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    What arwiki did was install a script that automatically logged everybody out. That said, as you say below, the WMF did not pursue legal action. Aaron Liu (talk) 14:36, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    The WMF does not have to take legal action. It should simply use its office powers like it did when it acted against cabals in China and elsewhere. Andrew D. (talk) 16:00, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Agreed, though they didn't pursue it against arwiki either Aaron Liu (talk) 16:13, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose The strongest of opposes - what is sought here is to only allow protests that some majority supports, it is seeking to impose the biases of some communities on to others, it is attempting to impose systemic bias, which I thought we were supposed to be countering. If had added a banner in support of the victims of the attacks of October 7th nobody would have complained, because that is something that a majority of Wikimedia projects, largely made up of western societies (of the top ten projects sorted by active users, 6 are western, and of those projects 89% of the active users are on one of those 6 western projects), would understand. What is sought here is the imposition of views on to other projects, and that is unacceptable. Nableezy (talk) 15:24, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I can only speak for myself, but I would have complained if hewiki did something like that. HouseBlaster (talk) 17:24, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I would have considered myself to have no authority to complain, as someone who doesn't either contribute to Hebrew Wikipedia or speak Hebrew. * Pppery * it has begun 21:01, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    FYI, decided not to add a banner after multiple RFCs, partly in order to keep the five pillars of Wikipedia and because we don't believe that Wikipedia is a tool meant to spread political messages. Bharel (talk) 09:57, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Whataboutism, I'm sure if Hebrew Wikipedia had done that, a large pool of editors (Including me) would've also complained. Crainsaw (talk) 15:37, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Really? Because Ukrainian Wikipedia has had its globe in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Anybody demand that this be suppressed? You can say whataboutism all you like, but equal treatment and basic fairness are things that are not judged in a vacuum. Nableezy (talk) 17:31, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    No, nobody demanded that to be suppressed, I didn't even know it was happening until very recently. Admittedly the Israel-Palestine conflict is a lot more controversial, and therefore draws more attention (Sure there is a double standard, but that doesn't make the other thing right). If consensus is reached against allowing individual projects to engage in this kind of advocacy, it should logically extend to the Ukrainian Wikipedia as well. Crainsaw (talk) 20:02, 28 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    That isn’t the proposal, the proposal is to require consensus for each act of protest or advocacy, and the result would be unequal treatment for views that, for example, users on the largest project dislike as opposed to views they support. Double standards are not things I support. Nableezy (talk) 20:18, 28 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose. In theory, preventing individual Wikipedias from promoting ideological viewpoints might be a good idea, and I could see myself supporting a proposal that simply banned the use of banners relating to non-Wikipedia issues outright (including things like the SOPA blackout). However, as written, this will be a way of forcing Wikipedias to adopt the political viewpoints of the Global North. Wikipedia should aim to reduce the impact of systemic bias in favor of Europen and North American viewpoints, not establish even more means whereby to force such viewpoints on marginalized people. Jhvx (talk) 18:31, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose: it is utter chauvinism to say that taking a position on U.S. legislation (SOPA) is "relatively non-partisan" but taking a position on genocide in the Middle East is "more contentious". Each community should be able to decide without interference what issues, if any, to protest with blackout. I am also concerned that this would stifle through bureaucracy blackouts that could receive cross-wiki support e.g. protests against the WMF. Wikimedia projects are part of the open source community and as such it is legitimate to oppose the destruction of sources of knowledge such as universities, libraries and public infrastructure as is happening in Gaza, as well as the murder of journalists and professionals whose writing we use as references. We believe in the preservation of information and that information (such as Wikipedia) should be freely accessible to all people worldwide. — Bilorv (talk) 18:39, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    As an example of a protest against WMF action that would be affected: in November 2022, BilledMammal suggested it may be worth considering blacking out English Wikipedia's main page or running parallel banners in protest of the WMF's fundraising banners. isaacl (talk) 19:51, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I do believe genocides tend to be more contentious then laws concerning copyright infringement. Especially when one is country X vs country Y in a war, and the other is a law passed by a sovereign state. Crainsaw (talk) 15:31, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Genocide =/= war. I might say Israel could go to war with Hamas as a necessary evil, but consider their treatment of civilians caught in the crossfire to be genocidal or at least morally and legally unacceptable. Dronebogus (talk) 01:53, 2 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support - SOPA could've had a direct impact on Wikipedia, and other WMF sites, thats why it was relavent, the Israel-Hamas conflict (and for that matter the Russo-Ukrainian war) have had 0 consequences for WMF, except Russia banning Wikipedia. Crainsaw (talk) 20:01, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    “It had no consequences for Wikipedia except for Wikipedia being banned.” Hmm. Dronebogus (talk) 15:51, 1 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • From my personal point of view, "blackouts and other advocacy" should be plainly prohibited (at very least on Wikipedias) without regard to temporary alleged community consensus formed by the most active meta discussionists. Wikipedia is a donation-funded attempt to build a neutral, verifiable, freely available encyclopedia that shouldn't be misused or shut down for political reasons, including propaganda even against laws that would affect itself. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 20:42, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    That is at least a logically consistent position to take. Id be much more apt to support that than a proposal to allow the largest projects to effectively exercise a veto like it was the UN Security Council. Nableezy (talk) 01:05, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I also agree with that view. I would questionably prefer to allow Wikipedia to protest if there's a law mandating its closure, but in general it is much better. Bharel (talk) 10:08, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Yes, ToBeFree makes the most sense. In supporting this RfC that is what I really wanted. Commander Keane (talk) 02:58, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • I would prefer that our individual projects stay out of politics as much as possible. I wasn't a huge fan of the SOPA blackout but I would be more comfortable with that sort of protest/advocacy than picking sides in complex political situations without a direct impact on us. Oppose Oppose the proposal in so far as I don't think that having a majority vote (which would inevitably be dominated by the global North) is the right restriction here - I would support a ban on all political advocacy outside that necessary to preserve the projects. – Ajraddatz (talk) 22:00, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose I endorse Bilorv's comment and also want to point out that, since en-wiki is by far the largest, this would very likely mean "only things approved of by en-wiki editors are allowed" in practice. We already have a huge bias demographic bias on en-wiki. That's bad enough already; we don't need to export it by fiat. -- asilvering (talk) 03:47, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose per Rhododendrites, Nableezy, Bilorv. SOPA was not non-partisian, and I did not agree with the blackout, but that was for EN wiki to decide. Each Wikipedia needs to decide for itself what causes to support or protest, if any. If EN wiki wants to blackout to support Ukrane, RU wiki should not be able to say "no, you can't" and EN wiki should not be able to do the same to AR wiki. RudolfRed (talk) 04:49, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I know it’s just an example but RU wiki is actually running pretty contrary to Russia’s official narrative and stance on the war. They aren’t like HeWiki basically being IsrealiWiki. Dronebogus (talk) 15:53, 1 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Is hewiki basically Israeliwiki? Aaron Liu (talk) 17:03, 1 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Discussed here Dronebogus (talk) 01:47, 2 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strong oppose Because blackouts actually grab attention to policies that could be detrimental to Wikipedia, like SOPA, the overly broad RESTRICT Act when it was first proposed, as well as other nonsense bills that go against Wikipedia's and Wikimedia's values of providing free and open access to any and all sums of knowledge. If the ACLU believes that a legislation can potentially harm the First Amendment rights that allows Wikipedia to operate freely, then it is probably justifiable to blackout or have some sort of campaign. Aasim 19:35, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    This proposal does not prevent blackouts; it merely requires global consensus for them. Frostly (talk) 18:47, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Which is again a problem. I agree there should be global consensus for Wikimedia-wide blackouts, but for localized blackouts it is different. Aasim 20:11, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose The 'broader community' in this case is going to be dominated by editors from enwiki, this isn't a criticism just a simple result from the differences in scale between projects. If there was more balance between different language wikis this could work, but at the moment what this would amount to is enwiki have a veto on any such actions. ActivelyDisinterested (talk) 19:25, 28 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Consensus is not a majority vote; the reasoning is rather what matters. Frostly (talk) 18:47, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    And w:wp:BLUDGEONing is not good reasoning. Dronebogus (talk) 20:05, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    It's only bludgeoning when one repeats the same arguments. Aaron Liu (talk) 20:16, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I’ve found that rapidly arguing against many different users who disagree with you is considered bludgeoning, even if it’s not classical bludgeoning i.e. Argument ad copypasta Dronebogus (talk) 20:49, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    And yet this discussion is dominated by enwiki users, and it will be our voices that are heard the most. Consensus is not a vote, but if the vast majority back one argument dissenters have a much harder time to prove their point. ActivelyDisinterested (talk) 14:55, 7 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose - I can understand why some have made his proposal; I cannot see how it would be practically implemented without causing vast division. Regards, --Goldsztajn (talk) 23:55, 2 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I'm not sure that RfCs should be characterized as causing "vast division". Frostly (talk) 18:47, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    It's not RfCs per se, it's what this particular type of RfC would likely engender. Regards, Goldsztajn (talk) 02:35, 6 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Blackouts are often a form of a protest – and protests are meant to cause an inconvenience. --SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 11:30, 3 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I don't think that this reasoning contradicts the need for global consensus on the issue. Frostly (talk) 18:47, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose - My logic is pretty much the same as several above; we can't claim SOPA related blackouts are apolitical, and if one blackout is fine, why aren't others? Otherwise, it doesn't half look like the biggest wikipedia trying to force its views on the smaller ones. Redfiona99 (talk) 12:57, 3 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I concur that SOPA is political, but that doesn't mean that future blackouts (including on enwiki) need to be only locally-decided. Frostly (talk) 18:47, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    They don’t need to be only locally decided, but the most popular Wikipedias in terms of active usership (which appear to be English, then trailing far behind German, French, Spanish and Japanese) shouldn’t have de fato veto powers over less popular Wikipedias like Arabic, or really all other Wikimedia wikis in general. Dronebogus (talk) 20:03, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose - I agree with the points brought up by Rhododendrites and Nableezy. This very much seems to me like something that should be left to the consensus of individual projects. Waxworker (talk) 00:20, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support per Sdkb. Frostly (talk) 18:41, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Per RudolfRed and ActivelyDisinterested. GooseTheGreat (talk) 20:11, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose per several people above. This very much strikes me as a "big language Wikipedias enforcing their beliefs and basically telling the little language Wikipedias what they can and can't do" scenario, which is very Big Brother-esque to me. JCW555 (talk) 23:31, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose. Not having this.S Marshall (talk) 00:42, 5 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose per asilvering BluePenguin18 🐧 ( 💬 ) 05:59, 8 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose. I find the counterarguments above persuasive. I can understand where this proposal is coming from, but I think ultimately WMF is best-placed to decide if any particular action by a project is out of bounds. As others have noted, deferring to a global "community consensus" is just a default veto for the largest project communities. Perhaps in the future it might be possible to thoughtfully craft a trans-project governance structure that would be able to fairly address these issues. But in the absence of such a structure, this proposal would create more problems than it solves. -- Visviva (talk) 23:08, 9 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I’m struggling to see any practical way of executing a “trans-project governance structure” that actually speaks for its users. Are we supposed to poll every single project and give each one a vote? Create some kind of representative legislature for projects? Dronebogus (talk) 14:27, 12 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    See Global Council... Andrew D. (talk) 06:52, 18 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose giving a specific project the rights to blackout may lead to community controlled by governments, for example, numerous blackouts to hijack the consensus and can become a tool for suppression. The behaviour on Arabic Wikipedia is something called misbehaviour, giving such rights to other projects just based on local community's consensus can be linkened to Pandora's box. However, Wikimedia foundation may hold the right to emergency blackout a project if needed, for example, a project used for NAZI propaganda or serious on and off-wiki harassments. Lemonaka (talk) 01:28, 13 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I think office actions are outside the scope of this RfC. Aaron Liu (talk) 11:44, 13 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support I don't think there has been an example of any blackout that I would've supported--despite being anti-SOPA etc myself I would consider myself to be a neutrality-absolutist. Mandating broad community support would mandate that a protest truly is "universally" agreed upon and worth the inconvenience to our readers. Plus, I am convinced by previous commenters of potential damage to the Wikipedia brand when any language can cause a ruckus by protesting anything. Bestagon (talk) 03:12, 13 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose as such discussions would likely take too long to the point where even a "yes" might become meaningless. Aaron Liu (talk) 11:43, 13 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Per Aaron Liu, and also NPOV is a content policy and doesn't regulate non-content stances. I don't think that a real trans-wiki consensus is possible or even desirable. This discussion shows that it would probably be dominated by enwiki editors. We would be better off starting with enwiki content and working on reducing Anglophone bias there. Buidhe (talk) 18:21, 13 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    • I don't understand how a banner that appears on every mainspace page of the Arabic Wikipedia (see, for example, ar:باربي_(فيلم), which is the page for the Barbie movie, or ar:متعددة_الحدود, which is the page for polynomials) is considered to be "non-content" of that Wikipedia edition. I disagree with the idea that it is okay for Wikipedias to openly display bias as long as it is displayed a few pixels above an article rather than in the text of the article itself. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 00:37, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
      You’re more or less right about the last part, I think. It’s not content if it’s not an article. We don’t consider userpages content so we don’t judge them by the same standards as articles, and this shouldn’t be either. I’m not endorsing or condemning the banners but there is no relevant “neutrality” policy for non-articles, at least on enwiki but likely on arwiki as well. Dronebogus (talk) 11:27, 13 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Neutral point of view is one of the main principles of the Wikimedia projects, and it applies to Wikipedia in general. If an individual language's Wikipedia project takes a side in a political dispute -- and yes, that applies to SOPA as well as to the Israel-Hamas war -- then that can pose a risk to the perception of the entire Wikipedia project regardless of language. That doesn't mean that "blackouts" need to be banned altogether, but they ought to receive consensus support at Meta first. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 06:16, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Communities which have decided for project blackouts in the past usually already reached editorial critical mass, so the total number of executed blacouts is actually smaller than the number of proposed blackouts. Moreover, WMF must respect independence of communities and not intervene unless it is proven that a substantial abuse of such right has occured on the wiki.--A09 (talk) 13:02, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Neutral Neutral On the one hand, if this discussion is anything to go by, this will amount to enwiki having a veto over protest activity. On the other hand, the whole concept and organisation of Wikipedia is kind of an Anglo/Western hegemonising force anyway. May as well make it official. Barnards.tar.gz (talk) 22:59, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose per Bilorv and asilvering above, emphasizing that Israel's current and historical attacks on Palestinian education systems and historical archives are absolutely a threat to the preservation of free knowledge (or any knowledge). It would be deeply inappropriate for Meta – which in practice represents a specific community within the Wikimedia community, and one with a strong Western bias – to seek a veto in response to the arwiki action. Ezlev (talk) 00:36, 23 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose – Although languages at Wikipedia do not share projects, we do all share a brand image and trademarks. As such, there will be some degree of conflation between projects. Although no global consensus may be a problem when it comes to protests, I believe an effective Meta 'veto' may be a bigger one. SpringProof (talk) 16:30, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strong oppose I can only presume this RfC was created in response to arwiki's banner and the discussion in Requests for comment/Violating the Neutral point of view in Arabic Wiki, which suggests any such rule would likely be (ab)used for censorship, obstruction and chilling effect. AP295 (talk) 01:05, 28 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose the partisan vs. non-partisan approach makes this a non-starter. The only fair and universally agreed upon standard that we can use, and do use, to judge independent wikipedia-projects are the five pillars. NPOV, thankfully, doesn't apply since it is a content policy. For blackouts in general there is an argument to be made that if a blackout restricts access to article-space, it constitutes a temporary subversion of the first pillar, which must in turn be justified with an argument to the pillars. However, this RfC is going nowhere fast and I'd much rather discuss that at the next opportunity, with a more carefully worded RfC-statement. Draken Bowser (talk) 06:34, 6 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose (but): hard cases make bad law. I oppose the current trend of singling out the Arab community for this issue. Even if it is not named in this proposal, that is where it is coming from, and I do not think this has weighted properly the historical track record and where do we want to go more generally with neutrality as a movement. This proposal sounds like just keeping the status quo, but with the ability to single out specific communities based on what is politically correct among some demographics. I think that we need to build a new consensus for a principled framework. MarioGom (talk) 06:36, 18 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Weak oppose per Dronebogus in 20:03, 4 March 2024, and JCW555. This would bring de facto veto powers to bigger communities. Though I don't think the coloring of logos by ka.(reverted), uk. and af. Wikipedias are appropriate. --魔琴 (talk) 11:12, 23 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]


What'd be the quorum/duration of listing for such proposals? I'd say no more than a week, and maybe a much earlier closing if there aren't much objections Aaron Liu (talk) 02:23, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Stewards will close the discussion when appropriate. Asking for a SNOW close before the discussion has even started is not productive. voorts (talk/contributions) 02:36, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Meta RfCs tend to be left open for extended periods of time (a month would be fast) to allow for broad community participation. – Ajraddatz (talk) 22:01, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I thought Aaron Liu's comment was actually about how long blackout proposals should stay open, not this RfC. Commander Keane (talk) 22:42, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Ah that makes sense. I imagine the same time period would hold, however; we would still want an extended discussion to allow for broad participation. – Ajraddatz (talk) 22:47, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
That was what I meant, though voorts seems to have addressed my question. Aaron Liu (talk) 22:45, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I misread and thought you were talking about this discussion; my bad. Ajraddatz also seemed to answer it, however, so it seems like realistically this proposal would result in months-long RfCs whenever any project wants to engage in any kind of advocacy. voorts (talk/contributions) 22:47, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment The proposal should say no RFC can force a wiki to add support for a cause or position. Only to remove it. Otherwise it can imperil the safety of the users, who are forced into angular positions against their home regime. For example, the safety of Chinese national administrators who might be forced to add support for dangerous opinions, such as human rights for the Uyghurs. -- GreenC (talk) 04:30, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I felt that the proposal is clear that meta could only grant a local wikipedia permission to express such support or opposition, it could not require them to do so (individual projects are only allowed to express such support or opposition with the approval of the broader community, emphasis mine).
    However, if it isn't sufficiently clear I have no objection to clarifying it. BilledMammal (talk) 04:37, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Thank you. -- GreenC (talk) 05:39, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment Are we even allowed to make that decision? According to the donation page: "Wikipedia is different: not perfect, but also not here to make a profit or to push a particular perspective". arwiki are at the moment using their power to push a particular perspective on every page on the website, against the premise given to the donors. If we make a decision, stating that project can push a particular perspective, isn't this a deceptive business practice? It is not "de minimis" as it is not a single article or a mistake - it is deliberate, and on every page of the website. Bharel (talk) 11:21, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    WMF has counsel. If they thought this were illegal (as you've repeatedly suggested in the other RfC), they would have taken action.We don't need an RfC to raise legal concerns. voorts (talk/contributions) 13:49, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment. Should there be a technical way to impose blackouts, perhaps activated by stewards, to avoid logging all visitors out from SUL?--Commander Keane (talk) 20:49, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    en-wiki had technical assistance from the WMF for the SOPA/PIPA blackout. voorts (talk/contributions) 22:07, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment. I think it would be a good idea to notify the meta community about blackouts and other advocacy. Maybe a quick note on Wikimedia Forum with the date of action etc.--Commander Keane (talk) 23:45, 28 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    That’s not a bad idea Dronebogus (talk) 15:50, 1 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment Is there any list of previous protests etc? People above have mention the Ukrainian protest and the Arabic one as well as SOPA/PIPA. Yet I know there have been other ones. For example, the four language one about the wikipedia:en:Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market which it was acknowledged, was almost definitely not going to affect any wikipedia [1] or I'm fairly sure wikimedia project. I think there were other protests which haven't yet been mentioned (for example, I found info on an earlier Ukranian wikipedia protest [2]) Nil Einne (talk) 05:44, 7 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment this discussion has been running since the end of February. Consensus is overwhelmingly against and that consensus will likely grow indefinitely. Can we just close this already? Dronebogus (talk) 01:21, 22 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]