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Welcome to the Board of Trustees' noticeboard. This is a message board for discussing issues related to Wikimedia Foundation governance and policies, and related Board work. Please post new messages at the bottom of the page and sign them.
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Accessibility for blind people[edit]

FYI: No board action required at this time (but advice would be most welcome).

en:User:Guy Macon/Proposals/CAPTCHA

--Guy Macon (talk) 02:15, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

In general, my understanding is that blind people usually already use accessibility tools (provided by the OS, the browser, or external software), and developing our own is unlikely to provide an added value. Pundit (talk) 09:13, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
@Pundit: Guy Macon's post is regarding the CAPTCHAs being unsolvable by blind users. If it were possible to go through CAPTCHAs via software on the user's own computer, that would eliminate the point of the CAPTCHA. There needs to be an alternative to the current system available. See phab:T6845. --Yair rand (talk) 00:10, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
OK, misunderstood then - there have been a couple of discussions about making Wikipedia more accessible in terms of accessibility tools, too, and I've assumed the comment is a similar effort. Regarding the captcha, I understand that the obstacle is real and has to be addressed. Pundit (talk) 12:48, 27 October 2017 (UTC)

OmegaWiki adoption.[edit]

Since 2013 members of the OmegaWiki community and members of the Wikimedia projects have discussed the possible adoption of the OmegaWiki here, both communities seem to have reached consensus on the fact that its adoption would benefit both the Wikimedia projects and OmegaWiki, however no-one of the Wikimedia Foundation has responded tự this request nor can I find any on-wiki evidence of the Foundation regarding this anywhere, has an integration roadmap already been laid out? Or are there no direct plans? --Donald Trung (Talk 🤳🏻) (My global lock 😒🌏🔒) (My global unlock 😄🌏🔓) 10:01, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

Also note that the directives and vision of OmegaWiki are 100% aligned with the Wikimedia movement and that it is already integrated with the Mediawiki software. --Donald Trung (Talk 🤳🏻) (My global lock 😒🌏🔒) (My global unlock 😄🌏🔓) 10:03, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

Note 📝: I am only looking for an answer regarding this as the proposal has been ongoing since 2013 and I have not contacted any staff of the OmegaWiki community that are also very active here such as User:Kip. --Donald Trung (Talk 🤳🏻) (My global lock 😒🌏🔒) (My global unlock 😄🌏🔓) 10:04, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

Also please see this discussion at "their Meta" where their community wished for an integration into Wikimedia projects. --Donald Trung (Talk 🤳🏻) (My global lock 😒🌏🔒) (My global unlock 😄🌏🔓) 10:40, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

Not speaking for the WMF or its board, it seems to me that adopting Omegawiki at this point would not make sense: work is underway to build infrastructure for a Wikibase-powered dictionary, and it would make the most sense to wait a little longer for this technology to be ready for production use and then figure out a way to import content from both Wiktionaries and Omegawiki. A Wikibase-powered Wiktionary would solve the longstanding limitations of Wiktionary that Omegawiki (correctly) identified at the time. Ijon (talk) 01:57, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
Not speaking for the Board as a whole neither, but the reasons stated above by Ijon are quite self-explanatory. Pundit (talk) 09:12, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
Well OmegaWiki supports a lot of more languages and has a very dedicated and knowledgeable community, even if no merges are imminent it’s clear that that community is welcomed and even wanted by this community, and for as far as I can tell the many content (knowledge) more that OmegaWiki has is probably more value than the features the Wiktionary projects lacked before, having OmegaWiki might save the foundation lots of work setting up new language Wiktionaries (which is often a tedious task with minimal success) and it might even work better for Wikidata than for the Wiktionary itself. If only people working on OmegaWiki were here to give the many reasons why adoption would be mutually beneficial.
Even if the feature set isn't beyond that of Wikimedia projects anymore it still has a huge (free) knowledge database that could get lost if they don’t meet their funding goals timely (which could happen in the late future), and running on Wikimedia servers (which are already well supported) could prevent the years of collected knowledge to be lost.
Sent from my Microsoft Lumia 950 XL with Microsoft Windows 10 Mobile 📱. --Donald Trung (Talk 🤳🏻) (My global lock 😒🌏🔒) (My global unlock 😄🌏🔓) 10:02, 29 October 2017 (UTC)
A dump can also prevent years of collected knowledge from being lost. I think once we finally have adequate infrastructure for modeling the complexity of language (see a rough demo here), there are likely to be a number of data ingestion projects, among them from Omegawiki, or its last dump, if it ceases to operate. Ijon (talk) 10:52, 29 October 2017 (UTC)

韋那威箕[edit]

I am not sure if this is the business of the board or not, but I am filing for a possibility to salvage what is left of the Vinawiki or 韋那威箕(VI NA UY KI)which until very recently was a wiki written completely in Chữ Nôm (字喃) of which I was a long time contributor, and we’ve had several proposals in the Wikimedia community tự create a Chữ Nôm Wikipedia but this was turned down before as it was considered either “a different spelling of Vietnamese” or “a dead ☠ language” (while Classical Chinese and Latin both have Wikipedia’s), as the wiki was recently shut down I request that if it's possible the Wikimedia Foundation would migrate as much cached web 🕸 pages of this domain to the incubator and try to create a Chữ Nôm Wikipedia out of it, a lot of work was already done on that wiki, and we're a large movement of people trying to preserve the Nôm script and old-Vietnamese culture, and the community here has on several occasions requested the creation of a Chữ Nôm Wikipedia, so saving what’s left of the Vinawiki (韋那威箕) will already be half the work needed.

Domain: http://www.hannom-rcv.org/wi/

I am not familiar with the copyright © license of the wiki, but I have already sent an e-mail 📮 (in Vietnamese) here. From what I can tell it was also on Wikia, but the majority of the expansions happened on the new servers, and Wikia’s license is similar to that of Wikimedia’s license. Also knowlegde like this should be freely available and not exclusively hosted by a for-profit scheme like Wikia.

Sent from my Microsoft Lumia 950 XL with Microsoft Windows 10 Mobile 📱. Thank you for your time ⌚. --Donald Trung (Talk 🤳🏻) (My global lock 😒🌏🔒) (My global unlock 😄🌏🔓) 11:00, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

Have you contacted the Language Committee? Raystorm (talk) 15:34, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

Appeal[edit]

This appeal to the Board of Trustees is being made after consultation with Support and Safety and other WMF staff members over the choice of venue. Pinging community-elected members (alphabetically) María Sefidari, Dr. James Heilman, Dr. Dariusz Jemielniak, and non-elected members Christophe Henner, Kelly Battles, Raju Narisetti, Nataliia Tymkiv, Jimmy Wales, Alice Wiegand, Esra'a Al Shafei.

This is an arbitration appeal, but it is more than an arbitration appeal. It is an appeal to the board to do something about the systemic ongoing problems within the movement that have been documented again and again, and that the current leadership has been unable or unwilling to address.

The arbitration case[edit]

The specific arbitration-related appeal is regarding the arbitration committee's 2014 WP:ARBGGTF case.

None of these accusations against me is true. All are damaging. Half of these diffs were obtained with a volunteer-written program that is able to stalk a user and extract the IP from their edits. The other half were introduced by a former arbitrator, after the evidence phase of the case was closed. They were posted on the day after Thanksgiving, when many Americans are traveling, and a few hours before the case closed. I was in the hospital at the time and did not even notice the new diffs until six months after the case was closed. Two of these diffs are not even my edits: one is by Jimmy Wales and another by a volunteer. It is hard to understand why I would be made responsible for someone else's edits, and it is even harder to find anything wrong with these edits.

It is also hard to believe the arbitration committee even looked at these diffs, since there was no discussion of their content. If I had violated some policy, you would think the diff for this would also be produced, so it could be examined, to see whether I had acted correctly, and that the policy would also be produced, but of course there is no such policy. Kevin Gorman called the diffs "flimsy". Even Wikipediacracy, which has little appreciation for me, could find nothing wrong with them.

This particular case had a huge number of flaws in procedure, and was seen by the media as prejudiced against women and lacking in dignity, in part because of the large number of un-redacted "c-bombs" sprinkled throughout the case. People sometimes mistakenly think it had something to do with GamerGate, because at the last minute, someone used GG, a common abbreviation for Gamergate in the title. I have never been a member of the gender task force and have little knowledge or interest in the gender topic (I am a hyphen gnome) but even now, three years after this arbcom case, people are still talking about me on gaming, IAC, and white supremacist threads, and speculating about my identity.

How is this any different from defamation? I cannot imagine this sort of thing being allowed in a BLP article about a public person. Am I not a living person?

I am requesting that these accusations be retracted, and that any sanctions against me be lifted.

Doxing by arbitrators and deletion 'wheel war'[edit]

Several arbitrators have published "personal information" about me, as defined in the WMF Privacy policy, and did not respond to my requests for deletion, either at their own email addresses or the arbitration committee email address. The personal information was published on English Wikipedia and the arbitrators' mailing list, both of which are subject to Wikimedia Foundation privacy policy.

In addition, arbitrator LFaraone restored personal information that had been removed by another admin, which is the technical definition of a "wheel war". According to WP:WHEEL, "Wheel warring usually results in an immediate Request for Arbitration", however all the individuals involved were arbitrators at the time. Salvio Giuliano posted it initially, Kevin Gorman rev-deleted it, LFaraone restored it.

So the arbitrators who posted personal information in violation of policy were : Salvio Giuliano, Beeblebrox, and LFaraone; they were instructed to do so by a fourth arbitrator, Roger Davies. A fifth arbitrator posted personal information to the arbitration mailing list, however I do not wish to name him at this time, as he volunteered this information to me himself, and also I have no way to verify this independently, as I do not have access to the arbitrators' private mailing list, User:Worm That Turned, who I have decided to name at this time because he is running for arbitration committee in the current election.

Extensive details about this have been provided to the Support and Safety group, I would invite them to share the information with members of the board non-publicly if they so request. I would also encourage the Board to contact me directly if they wish further information; my email is very public and easy to find.

Ongoing problems with governance and harassment[edit]

The community conversation on harassment, and the arbitration committee's role in it, has been ongoing for years.

  • The arbitration committee claims it cannot arbitrate content disputes, only conduct issues. This model means they have to find someone to blame -- a scapegoat -- every time there is a dispute. At what point does this become defamation? Who is responsible for destroying a reputation - the person making the statement, the arbitration committee as a whole, or the people in authority who know about it and do nothing. Is the Board of Trustees willing to be complicit in this?
  • Anyone who is involved in an arbitration case automatically becomes a target. They may lose their jobs, have their reputation ruined, their safety threatened, be stalked by sexual predators, have false accusations printed about them in Wikipedia opposition websites, or have their picture photoshopped onto porn. When this happens, no one at Wikipedia will help them. If they try to help themselves, and identify their stalkers, the arbitration committee will go after them. Their stalkers may even dox them on external sites, and continue to edit Wikipedia in good standing.
  • The admins on Meta have refused to honor the "friendly space" policy requested for grant proposal discussions. They have hounded both the staff and the volunteers trying to participate in the grant process, demanding to have conversations about vulgar terms for reproductive organs.
  • The Safety and Security group does little to stop harassment and as recently as a few weeks ago (at the diversity conference in Sweden) claimed that stopping harassment is the responsibility of the community. This is doubly ironic, since anyone who speaks out against harassment gets targeted for retaliation. The WMF may encourage people to step forward, but they do not defend those who do. Those who have spoken out about harassment in the past, as I have, are not around any more.
  • The latest diversity conference in Sweden this year, is saying pretty much the same thing that diversity conferences have been saying for the last 3 or 4 years, still without any action from the Foundation. For a sample, see this blog about the Sweden conference and scroll down to the list at "On Harassment"; the WMF seriously needs to do these things, also look at the linked video about "hosting inclusive events" by a staff member, which is actually about harassment, and shows the kind of breakdown in communication between the staff and volunteers that unfortunately has become all too typical at events; the slide set, which is supposed to show what the WMF is willing to do about harassment, is still not online.
  • The community health group received a grant for harassment, but it seems to be going toward tools to detect sockpuppets and paid editing. There is no proof these groups are responsible for harassment -- most harassment is by known users.
  • Surveys show admins are confident about identifying vandalism, but not harassment. Where are the user buttons to report problematic edits? Where are the staff members with the authority to identify and remove harassment.

Requests to BoT[edit]

This is what I am asking of the Board of Trustees.

  1. Retract the accusations against me and remove the sanctions.
  2. Dissolve the arbitration committee and replace it with paid employees who are of legal age and who have held some kind of job in the past. Do background checks and have them sign meaningful and enforceable NDAs. If you must, hold elections, but only present candidates that have been vetted for personal maturity and willingness to uphold anti-discrimination and privacy policies. Get professional advice about how to do this. There are unions and others who know how to set up grievance procedures. Maybe someone like Harvard department of government can advise. You cannot crowd-source this information. Every volunteer knows something is needed, but no one knows exactly what.
  3. Form a group to mediate content disputes. Crushing newbies and bystanders does not solve anything.
  4. Take the admins off Meta, the staff can handle it. Take the other admins off of everything except vandalism, there are too many bad blocks, political blocks; admins, who do not have any oversight, should not have so much power to be able to indef good-faith contributors or decide global bans. Too often this power is used to silence and deny a platform to people they disagree with.
  5. Stop expecting the community to fix problems on an ad hoc basis. Stop expecting marginalized groups to solve the harassment problems against them, and to do it without pay.
  6. Enforce your terms of service. No one is going to do it for you, no one is going to do it voluntarily, no one whose status depends on being elected by potential harassers is going to lift a finger to stop harassment, you will need to hire some people and train them. Have a couple extra fundraising days to pay for it and be prepared for the heat. You cannot achieve your other strategic vision unless you solve this.
  7. To enforce your terms of service you will need a code of conduct. You already have a Technical Code of Conduct and it didn't break the internet. Why don't you use it for everything.
  8. Form a governance group that does something besides accuse people of wrongdoing. What about planning and coordination between groups? Remember how many problems get solved every time people get a chance to meet face to face? Identify stakeholders...librarians, archivists, main page editors, editathon participants, however you define it. The Keilana Effect is real, has been proven by ORES, people who do these edits have no representation and probably are not even aware of drama boards, but their interests need protected. Every time there is an arbcom case, these people have to recuse because they all know each other and know how to collaborate. Maybe you can set them up as an advisory group, again you will need expert advice; this cannot be crowd-sourced but will have to be tailored for this unusual community.
  9. Set up a benevolence society for protecting Wikipedians. The WMF spent a million dollars to acquire Wikvoyage after some volunteers were threatened with lawsuits, but WMF legal will not even assist Wikipedians with taking down photoshopped porn or with false accusations or doxing on external sites, or help volunteers who experience cross-platform harassment as a result of their volunteer activities for Wikipedia, or advocate for changes in law to protect volunteers in the situations where the WMF is unable to act. Why is the WMF so willing to let their volunteers to be stalked and intimidated? If the Foundation would give $3 for every $100 dollars it takes in--the price of a cup of coffee--to set up an office or hotline to do this, Wikipedians would have someone to contact with the safety concerns that Wikipedia is unwilling to deal with.

Wikipedia is a teenager now, and the institutions that served it in the past no longer work. If it is to survive into adulthood it will need to forge new ones. There are good people, some very very good people, both staff and volunteer, but they cannot work without a mandate and backing from the top. You are the only ones who can provide this mandate and the new structures needed for Wikipedia to survive into adulthood.

Thank you for your consideration.

Neotarf (talk) 18:05, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

Community comments[edit]

  • I can't speak to the merits of this particular appeal but I do hope that the Board will consider some of the important underlying issues here. Obviously the Board is not about to dissolve the Arbitration Committee but it should consider removing from their purview anything involving real world consequences for editors, because the Arbitration Committee has proven itself unable to competently and safely deal with these matters. At the very least, the Foundation should remove advanced permissions and access to private information from volunteers who have deliberately or accidentally revealed personal information. I have heard a disturbing number of allegations that past and present members of the Arbitration Committee have revealed this kind of information, and I know for a fact that it happened in my case. As far as I am aware, no action has been taken in any of these instances. There should be a method for dealing with these allegations and reporting the results of such investigations in a transparent manner. A long-standing Functionary was removed for violating the privacy of a politician, but where is the protection for rank-and-file editors? Gamaliel (talk) 20:24, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure if this is a case for the Board. The Board should not really meddle into particular projects' community decisions, unless they violate the overall global policies, and I am not sure if it applies here. This is of course not a dismissal of possible very valid concerns and real issues pinpointed in the post above, and the Board should make overall efforts to address these for all projects. Pundit (talk) 16:02, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
This is a good question but also a very hard one. I have been looking at the global policies and what is within the scope of the board, and I think the answer will be long and complicated, and it will take me a little more time to give a proper answer.
Also please note that I have changed my above remarks to include the newest member of the board and to name the arbitrator who posted personally identifying information about me on the arbitrators' mailing list, since he is now running for the arbitration committee again. He also mocked me publicly on a Wikipedia criticism site for trying to contact him privately about the GGTF arbitration case. This is the same former arbitrator who wrote the GGTF arbitration case, the case that caused so much controversy at Wikiconference USA 2015, and was the subject of so much negative press about the Wikimedia Foundation's treatment of women.
I also want to apologize for taking so long to make this much of an answer. I have underestimated how much of an ordeal this arbitration case is for me to think about, even after three years, and how much it has impacted my career, my family, my entire life, and continues to do so even now. —Neotarf (talk) 21:30, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
  • How the community regulates itself is not a simple issue and of course neither are efforts to improve this regulation. Making changes is by consensus within the community in question. I know that some languages, that have had Arbcom committees, have gotten rid of them. The WMF has recently put a fair bit of resources into trying to improve efforts to deal with harassment, improvements of course take time. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:19, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Thank you both for your comments. The issues you have raised are both interesting and difficult.
Improvements do indeed take time, all the more reason to make sure the right proposals get into the budget cycle early. We started asking for a Community health initiative in 2015 at Grants:IdeaLab/Community discussion on harassment reporting, when fourteen separate proposals were made by twenty-six users. Where are those users now? It seems like something bad always happens to anyone who speaks out publicly against harassment. The basic thing we asked for, a place to privately report harassment, to someone authorized to take action, still doesn't exist.
I think also *who* is "community" is not a simple issue.
Several communities have gotten rid of their arbitration committees, after choosing to create them. There is a list of active and inactive arbitration committees here. The usual public reason given is either that they can't find anyone to be on the committee or that they don't have any disputes. An interesting case is the Spanish Wikipedia, which dissolved their arbitration committee and moved their dispute resolution to a librarians noticeboard, although I am still trying to figure out how this user, who has done so much as an ambassador for Wikipedia to establish partnerships with institutions has been treated like this, and what effect it might have had on other potential ambassadors or partnering institutions.
Unlike the other projects, the English Wikipedia arbitration committee was not established by the community. It was established by fiat, by Jimmy Wales acting on legal advice. The English Wikipedia was not given a choice of whether to have an arbitration committee at all, it was only given a choice of whether to hold elections and make policy for the committee. There is a summary of the establishment of the English Wikipedia here. I don't believe the English arbitration committee could be dissolved by the community, only by Jimmy Wales or the board. I don't know if the board was in existence in 2004 yet, or if this would make any difference. —Neotarf (talk) 22:58, 10 December 2017 (UTC)