Talk:Community open letter on renaming

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This page is for discussions related to the Community open letter on renaming page.

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Production and credits[edit]

This letter was collaboratively produced by several affiliate members and contributors as an outcome of two online meetings. Please leave suggestions or comments on the talk page (rather than editing the text) -- phoebe | talk 17:35, 23 June 2020 (UTC)

I would note that calling a meeting during the weekend is a great counter-example of equity in decision making. :) I understand that the matter was somewhat urget, but meetings during weekends are not really a friendly gesture.--Strainu (talk) 21:24, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
(I did not convene these meetings) There was a sense of urgency indeed - but I also suspect that the number of people/organizations that is enabled by having it in the weekend may outweigh the number that is disadvantaged. There were at least two meetings, to facilitate as many timezones as possible. Effeietsanders (talk) 21:30, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
@Strainu: That is a fair point that I am sensitive to. We chose two different times that tried to be inclusive of both Asia and Europe time zones, and given the deadlines involved we decided we had to move quickly. Imperfect solutions for an imperfect world. We'll keep striving to do better. -- Fuzheado (talk) 21:36, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
I will note as well that the letter text was not finalized during the meetings. The letter was proposed, the general direction agreed to and ideas discussed, and the final text was developed later by a small group with comments and contributions from many others. (In case my statement made it sound like the writing happened in the meeting; the meetings served as a way to gauge the level of support, and hear concerns). -- phoebe | talk 22:10, 23 June 2020 (UTC)

Changed unordered list to ordered list[edit]

Instead of bullets points at signatures, I changed it to numbers counting the signatories. Cool? Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:24, 23 June 2020 (UTC)


I think we should translate this page in as many languages as possible. -- Tito Dutta (talk) 19:05, 23 June 2020 (UTC)

Absolutely! Tito Dutta, I've now made the page translatable. --Base (talk) 19:32, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
Translated to Indonesian. Thank you. dwf² (runding) 19:48, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
thank you for enabling translations and thank you very much for the ID translation! I am very excited to see all the translations. -- phoebe | talk 22:27, 24 June 2020 (UTC)

Memebrand : historical context[edit]

I drafted a few notes on the context and history of the current branding effort. Edits, comments, and links welcome. It needs more historical framing, including the many times in the past that we've discussed conflating Wikimedia with Wikipedia; and what it means to have a shared organization to defend and protect our marks and shared identity. –SJ talk  19:40, 23 June 2020 (UTC)


@Peteforsyth: would you mind moving your comment to this page? It bears discussion, but feels out of place inline. –SJ talk  18:02, 24 June 2020 (UTC)

Sure @Sj: thanks for asking. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 05:14, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

What should happen prior to renaming[edit]

There are two underlying issues that should be addressed prior to making a name change, and the Wikimedia Foundation is in the best position to guide it. (1) The WMF should explore and report on what value exists among the Wikimedia volunteer communities, and how the organization can best support and nurture those qualities. (2) Once there is greater shared understanding among participants in the Wikimedia movement, it would be possible to design and execute an effective community engagement process; Wikimedia is far from the first entity to do this, and there is an art and science in how to do it effectively. Rushing into a rename without first taking the time to undertake these two tasks, which are long overdue, is sure to lead to conflict and controversy. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 18:11, 24 June 2020 (UTC)

Random list of people vs. status quo[edit]

It should be pointed out that there is no "no vote" option here. I think most people don't care. I for one support leaving things as is. It's clear enough. This vote itself a waste of resources, typical of latter day Wikimedia, which should stick to what it's good at, work to reduce the number of random counter-intuitive rules, and stop politicking. Pratyeka (talk) 22:36, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

If you're asking whether there is a status quo option in the WMF Brand Survey, there is not, and that's part of the problem we're trying to address here.--Pharos (talk) 02:19, 26 June 2020 (UTC)
It is an open letter, not a voting. For latter see Communications/Wikimedia brands/2030 movement brand project/Community feedback and straw poll and Requests for comment/Should the Foundation call itself Wikipedia. Chaddy (talk) 19:55, 28 June 2020 (UTC)

Current Breadth[edit]

Just from the list of individual editors, we currently have (stated) letter participants from at least 27 Wikipedia language variants, as well as Wikidata, Commons, Mediawiki, Wikisource (at least six variants), Wiktionary (at least four), Wikibooks (at least three), Wikivoyage (at least five), Wikiquote (at least three).

Nosebagbear (talk) 09:42, 29 June 2020 (UTC)

And also several chapters...
@User:Jimbo Wales, User:Pundit, User:Shani (WMF) and all the others: The support of this open letter is so overwhelming, it's time now to finally stop the renaming process! Come on, listen to the community. If you - despite of this strong sign - would further proceed, it would end up in a complete disaster... Chaddy (talk) 12:53, 29 June 2020 (UTC)
It would be useful to personally notify all the board members and contact persons of all remaining affiliates on their talk pages. Not everyone reads the affiliates mailing list etc. Nemo 14:21, 29 June 2020 (UTC)
WMCH will probably sign soon, they have said so in deWP-Kurier, I hope WMDE will follow as well. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 14:25, 29 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Just to clarify the informational uncertainty: I notified the Board about this letter. Pundit (talk) 18:32, 29 June 2020 (UTC)

Other recent appeals to the WMF board members[edit]

For comparison, just skimming the Meta-Wiki zeitgeist for pages which took first place in a month:

Nemo 13:00, 30 June 2020 (UTC)

Thanks for this list @Nemo bis: I've been working on something similar. Currently in user space, though the time to publish it may be here. At any rate, I welcome additions or comments from you and others, if you have them. Trying to capture an overview of the various governance issues in the Wikimedia movement. User:Peteforsyth/governance -Pete Forsyth (talk) 18:52, 30 June 2020 (UTC)
I believe the letter on Superprotect and Media Viewer was the largest ever consensus/signatures in community history (982 signatures). As of now (10:14, 9 July 2020 (UTC)) the signature count on the current letter is 68 official affiliates + 4 non-affiliated regional orgs + 852 individuals = 924, and growing at somewhat under 1 new signature per hour. At that rate this letter takes the top spot in 3 days, but more likely 4 to 7 days depending on how quickly the inflow of signatures tapers off. Or a new advertisement somewhere could easily bring in the needed 59 signatures in a matter of hours. Alsee (talk) 10:14, 9 July 2020 (UTC)

A minor gesture of protest: W?F[edit]

As a minor gesture of protest against the Wikimedia foundation's decision to rebrand itself with Wikipedia's good name, until they back down I choose to call them "the "W?F".

Feel free to assume that this stands for "WMF", "WPF", or "WTF".

I call on those who oppose the rebranding to start using "W?F".

"We should have been clearer: a rebrand will happen. This has already been decided by the Board."[1] -- Heather Walls, head of the Communications department at the Wikimedia Foundation and executive sponsor of the Brand project.

Sometimes it is the small things that tip the scales. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:59, 1 July 2020 (UTC)

Closing in on survey respondents[edit]

So the most recent board letter indicates that the current survey has around 700 respondents. Participating for those against re-naming is obviously a judgement call by individuals. I participated early on as this hadn't been mooted yet.

Obviously I've no idea how many of them support at least one primary option, or what their views are on the second halves of the names, or are against them and propose their own.

Regardless, we are currently just over 80% (as of 563) which is a fairly clear marker. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:44, 1 July 2020 (UTC)

@Nosebagbear: Which letter? Could you please provide a link? 4nn1l2 (talk) 11:48, 1 July 2020 (UTC)
@4nn1l2: Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard/Board Update on Branding: next steps Nosebagbear (talk) 12:08, 1 July 2020 (UTC)


What do you think of creating a subpage (or a page anywhere) which captures some statistics/data analysis? Some data can be captured such as:

  • How many editors signed as an individual who are admin on at least on Wiki?
  • Geographical distribution/map of language projects/affiliates?
  • what else (gender? As the gender template etc shows, I am unsure about this)

As more than 500 people have signed, it'll quite good amount of work initially, however after that it'll be general updating. If people agree here we can think of this. If there are a few people interested in this, it'll be easier. -- Tito Dutta (talk) 23:33, 1 July 2020 (UTC)

May be activity could be interesting, either global number of edits or number of recent (last month?) global edits. And I guess registration time.--Ymblanter (talk) 05:32, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
Sure, sounds fun. I'll write up a script. --Yair rand (talk) 05:58, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
So, these stats don't include those who didn't link to their local userpages on Meta, but it includes most people who signed the page. 877 users.
  1. Global usergroups: 11 stewards, 74 otrs-members, 14 global rollbackers, 5 global sysops
  2. 385 users who are a sysop on at least one wiki, 664 instances of sysop rights. (That's a surprising number of people who are sysops on multiple wikis, huh.)
  3. 97 interface admins, 218 rollbackers, 116 bureaucrats, 33 checkusers, 18 oversighters. (These are "on at least one wiki".)
  4. 517 who registered before 2010. Median registration date is August 2008.
  5. Number of users by "home wikis", defined as whatever wiki they have the most edits on: afwiki=1; alswiki=1; arwiki=4; bclwiki=1; bgwiki=8; bnwiki=2; bnwikisource=1; cawiki=6; commonswiki=89; cswiki=6; cswikiversity=2; dawiki=2; dewiki=175; dewikisource=1; dewikivoyage=2; dewiktionary=3; elwiki=3; elwikisource=1; enwiki=157; enwikinews=2; enwikisource=3; enwikiversity=2; enwikivoyage=6; enwiktionary=1; eowiki=1; eswiki=25; eswikinews=1; eswikisource=1; eswiktionary=1; etwiki=1; euwiki=2; fawiki=4; fiwiki=9; frwiki=68; frwikibooks=1; frwikisource=4; frwikiversity=1; frwikivoyage=1; frwiktionary=6; fywiki=1; fywiktionary=1; gdwiktionary=1; hewikisource=1; hiwiki=1; hywiki=3; idwiki=6; ilowiki=1; itwiki=33; itwikivoyage=1; jawiki=3; jvwiki=1; knwiki=1; kowiki=1; lawiki=1; mediawikiwiki=3; metawiki=10; minwiki=1; mkwiki=3; mlwiki=2; mswiki=1; myvwiki=1; mywiki=1; nlwiki=12; nlwikimedia=1; nlwiktionary=1; nnwiki=1; nowiki=8; pawiki=1; pawikisource=1; plwiki=28; plwikisource=1; plwiktionary=2; ptwiki=11; ptwikisource=1; rowiki=1; ruwiki=10; ruwikinews=1; ruwikisource=1; ruwiktionary=1; srwiki=2; suwiki=1; svwiki=3; swwiki=1; tawiktionary=1; trwiki=1; ttwiki=1; ukwiki=3; viwiki=3; wikidatawiki=95
  6. Total edit count: 153573725 edits. Median edit count: 40549. Lower quartile is 12596, upper is 96275. 19 people have over a million edits, including one with 19023361. I don't wanna know.
Anything else that would be of interest? --Yair rand (talk) 06:50, 2 July 2020 (UTC) (updated. --Yair rand (talk) 17:41, 5 July 2020 (UTC))
  • You know what? You are amazing. Face-smile.svg The stat is ready, and can go on /Statistics page, or can be read here as it is, whatever you all think, -- Tito Dutta (talk) 07:18, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
Thanks, interesting stats.Ymblanter (talk) 10:10, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
@Yair rand:, this is just awesome. Where can we get the script? -- Bodhisattwa (talk) 14:02, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
@Yair rand: Very cool. Any chance you could post the source code? :) Best, --Mdaniels5757 (talk) 16:15, 4 July 2020 (UTC)
@Bodhisattwa and Mdaniels5757: Posted here. --Yair rand (talk) 17:47, 5 July 2020 (UTC)

Comments on the great stats[edit]

  • I find a few things really interesting here. The first is the breadth, which I made a section on with my earlier, poorer, manual, count. But the peaks are interesting: 116 enwiki editors and 111 dewiki is perhaps not so surprising, but big groups from commons (62) and wikidata (76) are big exclamations that our sister projects are rightly concerned with a change that minimises them. 58 OTRS members is interesting, but the figure that really surprises me is 80 interface admins - we don't have many, and it's not like there's an inherent "IA skills/viewpoints disagree with rebranding". 72 home-wikis overall. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:38, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
Commons and Wikidata likely show that it is very easy to get huge numbers of edits there. My edit count on Commons is over 100K, approaching my edit count on en.wp, and on Wikidata when I am working (manually) on adding info on railway stations, I can easily get several hundred edits in an hour - just because filling each field is an edit. IAs are indeed less trivial - though I am an interface admin myself on three projects.Ymblanter (talk) 10:09, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
My reading of it was number of IAs, rather than number of instances, which like the total admin count would be a significant drop, though still fairly substantive even then Nosebagbear (talk) 12:18, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Thanks for doing this. There's also a good number of former and current board members of various affiliates, including the WMF, which is harder to quantify because that's not a userright; there's also one (identified) donor who posted. I think OTRS folks are significant (along with many others of course!) because the name change is primarily about external relations and how people know about us in the world -- and OTRS is on the front lines of our customer service, so they know what people are asking about and why they are asking it and where the areas of confusion are. -- phoebe | talk 14:18, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Also, fun with math: if we assume each of those 116M edits each only took 10 seconds (a super low estimate, probably accurate for bot edits on Wikidata and not much else) then -- the total represents **37 years** of work. If we assume each edit took 1 minute, then it's **222 years** of work represented here. (The spread here is very wide, of course; my edits often take half an hour each, if I'm doing research on something, but a tool-assisted edit might only take a few seconds). Regardless, it's an extraordinary amount of effort, especially considering most of us also do other things for Wikimedia -- the majority of my time for Wikimedia has been spent doing outreach, trainings, etc that aren't reflected in edit count at all, and I know the same is true for many of us. -- phoebe | talk 14:26, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
"Editor-century" is a nice sounding unit! And at a fairly low average of 30% mainspace edits and 50 edits per article...equivalent content creation effort to 715,000 articles. Nosebagbear (talk)
"editor-year" and "editor-century", yes! And that is more articles than in any Wikipedia but the top 19 language editions. -- phoebe | talk 17:00, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Perhaps we can re-run the script after a landmark... um 1,000 individuals signing, or total 1,000 signatures (or something so)? The stat makes a lot of sense. We all knew that many admins etc are signing, but the result is more surprising that I/we thought. -- Tito Dutta (talk) 17:20, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
I hope the rebranding process will be stopped before we get 1K signarures here.Ymblanter (talk) 19:03, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
Indeed! - but depending on the complexity of running the script, doing it at, say, 750 would be a good addition :) Nosebagbear (talk)
The 750 mark will probably reached in about 20 hours on July 4th. Sounds like a symbolic date... ;-) ---<(kmk)>- (talk) 22:51, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
@Ymblanter: - if you could re-run the stats at 750 signers that would be super! Fuzheado and I are working on a brief summary of the letter process and having up to date stats would be very good. Thank you! -- phoebe | talk 16:25, 4 July 2020 (UTC)
This is not me, this is @Yair rand:Ymblanter (talk) 16:57, 4 July 2020 (UTC)
sorry both of you! got mixed up, tagged the wrong person! -- phoebe | talk 14:31, 5 July 2020 (UTC)
Gottcha! 750 is reached, a wee bit later as -<(kmk)>- prognosed, but here we are. So, could you, @Yair rand:, please run another round of your much adored script? I certainly would appreciate it. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 09:11, 5 July 2020 (UTC)
@Phoebe and Sänger: Updated stats posted above. --Yair rand (talk) 17:48, 5 July 2020 (UTC)
  • This is excellent. If he hasn't noticed, I'd call Nemo_bis' attention to this effort; Nemo did incredible work on this on the Superprotect letter, e.g. demonstrating that it was vastly more international than other high-participation events in Wikimedia's history. I'm having trouble finding the page, though this discussion was part of it. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 21:25, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
    I'd add, in an ideal world, the Wikimedia Foundation would assign staff to evaluate the demographics of a request like this, and publish the underlying methodology and the results. I'd much rather it spend its resources on generating useful information like that, than big bold initiatives. But that's probably a discussion for another time and place. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 21:29, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
    Given the issue with data presentation in regard to the rebranding issue, this one is probably not the time for this (but I'm absolutely for more data-backed evidence, whether in-house or out, - I loved the research done on ACTRIAL for example) Nosebagbear (talk) 23:22, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
    I've read this and I thank Yair rand too! I don't remember exactly what I had done, but I'm pretty sure that Tgr's contributions to the analysis of the MediaViewer RfC were vastly superior to mine! See his script Nemo 18:51, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Unlike Nosebagbear I feel that 116 / 111 signatures for enwiki and dewiki are indeed significant. The current number of active editors of these wikipedias is 45 000 and 6 900 respectively (according to Wikistats 2). Based on these numbers I'd expect six times more signatures from enwiki than from dewiki. Apparently, the German wikipedians are massively more likely to put their name here. -<(kmk)>- (talk) 23:31, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
@KaiMartin: that's an excellent point - I thought we were somewhat closer in terms of active editors than that. Is it particularly present as a topic on de-wiki (or your chapter), or are de-wiki editors just (proportionately) more active on meta? Nosebagbear (talk) 08:05, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
dewiki editors are much more active on meta and have disproportionally stronger opinions on governance, while also being much more organized than enwiki. WMDE has developed several big tools when the WMF dragged its feet on them for once. enwiki has raw numbers, but dewiki is a powerhouse of engagement. Headbomb (talk) 13:17, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
Also, generally the majority of the English Wikipedia editors are monolingual and just do not care about what happens outside of their project. Wikipedia for them means English Wokipedia, and Meta is something from another galaxy.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:04, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
Also, it's imaginable that there are 'demographics' that play a role (tenure on dewiki may be typically higher, activity on sister projects too) or the (imho justified) fear that enwiki will become more dominant even in international conversations when the Foundation (and effectively the whole movement) starts calling itself 'Wikipedia'. There's a ton of possible factors that contribute, but my guess would also be that German speakers are more used to speak up about WMF's use of their power. I suspect you'll see a similar pattern in previous instances (although it's hard to think of other precedents of similar community impact & magnitude). Effeietsanders (talk) 23:05, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
@Ymblanter: you might be right about the monolingualism (although IMHO English language Wikipedians tend to be more cosmopolitan than the larger English language speaking community), but en.wikipedia also features Jimmy Wales' home page, & that attracts a lot of traffic that might otherwise go to meta. (And be glad of that: at any given time his Talk page is full of kooks, who might otherwise find their way here.) -- Llywrch (talk) 04:49, 4 July 2020 (UTC)
Or, more simply, the matter wasn't yet properly advertised on some wikis. On the English Wikipedia there was ample coverage in the signpost last week but w:en:Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Open for signatures - Community open letter on renaming was only posted two days ago. (Thanks Andrew!) Nemo 06:51, 4 July 2020 (UTC)
And here is another factor: I might be considered active on enwiki (en-3), although I don't edit there seriously, but I'm definitely not considered active on dewiki (de-0). I believe there are many users like me, so the ratio of (45,000 / 6,900) is not genuine. It's false to think that enwiki has manpower at least 6 times larger than that of dewiki. The actual ratio should be between 3 to 4. There are other factors involved. 4nn1l2 (talk) 11:40, 4 July 2020 (UTC)
Yes, that's right. I probably count as well as an editor for enWP, though I wouldn't really count me as such. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 11:43, 4 July 2020 (UTC)
And now dewiki actually surpassed enwiki (142 against 140).Ymblanter (talk) 18:10, 5 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the update! Equivalent content work to c.865,000 articles now and an even more notable number of IAs (anyone know the # of IAs atm?) and OTRS agents. Nosebagbear (talk) 20:49, 5 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Thank you kindly for this, Yair. Is there any way to track bots associated w/ or run by different user accounts? Whenever edits are pooled in large quantities I wonder about this, given how much we rely on the bot ecosystem. –SJ talk  01:44, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
    @Sj: Unfortunately, I don't know of any way to track bots in that manner. --Yair rand (talk) 01:50, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
    @Yair rand: perhaps I'll look through the table here by hand. –SJ talk  22:04, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

Wikimedia CH and the open letter[edit]

Hello everyone, for transparency I communicate on behalf of Wikimedia CH that the chapter responded to the branding change by addressing a letter directly to the branding team and the board after consulting the Swiss language communities ("communities" in the plural) not limited only to members of the association but also to those of the Wikimedia projects. As you know, the context in which Wikimedia Switzerland works is a bit different, especially for the huge cultural difference, especially linguistic. Since its origins Wikimedia Switzerland has strongly avoided identification with a single project and with a single language: it would have been the easiest way, but also the the worst way to identify the chapter as a chapter. So we preferred to work in a difficult way but also in a more sensible context. The open letter, which has been proposed here, indicates many interesting points but does not underline that of multilingualism for which Wikimedia Switzerland wanted to indicate different and more valuable elements for those who work in a multilingual and multicultural context. We would like to emphasize this point above all towards the communities with which we operate and which have been consulted and from which we have collected suggestions.

Kind regards. --Ilario (talk) 17:22, 5 July 2020 (UTC)

@Ilario: Can you share WM CH's letter here? This is an appropriate place to document Wikimedia chapter responses to the Wikimedia Foundation rebranding proposal. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:09, 5 July 2020 (UTC)

User:Ilario: to underline that of multilingualism I asume WMCH is going to translate this statement in multi languages? Or is the multilingualism just an excuse and actually you don't care? ...Sicherlich Post 20:20, 5 July 2020 (UTC) yeah, no answer needed. Its pretty obvious a lame excuse

@Sicherlich: very simple. The process of consultation started before the presentation of the three proposals and a draft was ready before the decision of the community to have this Community open letter on renaming. In order not to repeat the consultation process again, it was thought that it was better to proceed as per the established plansand as explained to the participants to the consultation. Essentially the letter does not differ much from the opinion expressed in Community open letter on renaming but underlines some aspects that emerged with greater insistence in the consultation process. For clarity, the discussion was open to all Wikimedian communities of the Swiss national languages (German, French and Italian) and not limited only to Switzerland. --Ilario (talk) 00:55, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
Hello Ilario, when the not-open-letter of WMCH does not differ much from this open letter (and mainly has additional input), why is it important for the chapter to not sign the community-letter and so give the impression of a gap between your interests and the ones expressed here? And since other members of WMCH have signed this open letter with their personal account, what is your personal opinion to it? --Magiers (talk) 07:17, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
@Magiers: people can sign the document in personal form (even if staff members) as they can also fill in the survey in personal form: one thing is the personal position and another thing is the official position which, as I explained, collects the opinions of all those who participated in the consultation. One thing is for sure: Wikimedia CH cannot force staff or members not to express their opinion freely or to impose them a choice. There would certainly be a problem if those who sign in favor would have said something different to us instead. For the rest I do not understand these comments: What is the aim? Expressing an opinion or to lengthen the list of entities that sign this letter? We can take different means of locomotion and arrive to the same destination. We basically followed the procedure indicated by the WMF board, nothing more and nothing less. If I understand correctly the negative comments simply comment that we had to join the group instead of making an official statement, even if this statement basically said the same things? Probably who comments must motivate why we must do something different than that communicated to people who participated to the consultation. --Ilario (talk) 07:55, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
Hello Ilario, I am sure WMCH has its channels for communication with the WMF. The community has not and was widely ignored in the Branding process, so it has only the option of speaking out in an open letter. I just find it remarkable, that some chapters (like WMAT) join this open letter at the side of the community (more precise: the part of the community that speaks out here). But I find it also remarkable, that other chapters (like WMDE and as it turns out now WMCH) don't. Even if you think you have good reasons for this, it is missing an opportunity in backing up the communities on an open platform (not only in non-open letters or other direct communication). --Magiers (talk) 09:54, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
@Ilario: I expect from the chapters and other affiliates, to be as open as possible, and such a letter must not be dealt with in some shady backroom for "lichtscheues Gesindel", but in the full and bright sunlight. Everything done in some backroom talk is of far less validity then stuff done in the open. Imho organisations, where such backroom fiddling is done at all, have a huge problem, and as openness and transparency are a core value of the Wikiverse, nearly Nothing must be done in such illegitimate environments.
This letter has to be an open letter as well, otherwise it's illeggitimate, full stop. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 10:47, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
Thank you for your suggestion but we answered to a clear request of the branding team about our opinion to change the name and this is the reason why the process to prepare a statement started before the "open letter" and we did not suppose to discuss it in a Wikimedia project exactly because we did not suppose to prepare the statement of the Wikipedia community but only a statement of Wikimedia CH. When we consulted the communities we explained this choice and we also shared with them how to communicate this statement and there was not an opposition about our decision to write directly to the branding team. The meetings we organized were online and OPEN to everyone (the 23th, 24th and 25th June when the "open letter" was published only the 23th June!), so why you did not participate to suggest us your position? Everything can be done better, but there is the right time to comment and to propose. Now we agree about your sentence to be "as open as possible" and we agree on this vision but beside the transparency there are also some values to take into account like for instance the respect of the opinion of other participants (if I remember well this is also one of the five pillars of Wikipedia). Now we are receiving the requests to have a "public statement" and we are discussing it, but we have also to consider the opinions collected in our meetings with the communities where we cleary said that the statement was finalized only to answer to the branding team. --Ilario (talk) 20:25, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
I'm a German from Bremen, I would not have thought about partaking in a meeting by the Swiss, even if I had known about it, that's none of my business. But this was a conversation with the service agency of the community, not a chapter with members, about the name, what could possibly be so secret about it? I suspect bad stuff, if such things are dealt with in clandestine secret backrooms, out of sight of those, who is talked about. Yes, you're not required to publicise it, but not doing reeks very bad. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 04:11, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
Hey all,
Lets stay constructive here :) We're all on the same side, and working on better processes. I trust that WMCH had solid reasons to follow the process that they followed, probably because it's an established process that they follow frequently. Maybe next time, a different process will be considered when an international effort is already ongoing. Effeietsanders (talk) 04:52, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

"Survey" for the chapters[edit]

The swedish chapter has made their answers to the "survey" public, something that could be done by every such entity. For individuals I would not ask for it, as it would be completely against privacy and data protection policies. But for affiliates there is no such thing as privacy (for the org, individual members of course have the right for privacy), they are not private, and in this open and transparent community such things must not be secret. Could the other affiliates please post their answers as well somewhere in the open? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 08:02, 6 July 2020 (UTC)

Is there a way to retrieve them from Qualtrics after posting them? Nemo 08:06, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Sänger, could you or anyone else confirm the survey response is compatible with licenses in Commons? I see WMSE has uploaded their letter on their own wiki. Thanks. --Joalpe (talk) 11:52, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
I fail to see any "Schöpfungshöhe" (Threshold of originality) for the survey. The text is from he WMF, thus has to by definition at least CC4.0, and the layout is not original enough. But IANAL. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 12:05, 6 July 2020 (UTC)

W?F response?[edit]

I apologize if the following sounds irresponsibly pessimistic. If another business or organization encountered a reaction to one of their decisions this unfavorably, there would be an immediate response. Action on the decision would immediately be halted, someone at the upper levels would make a public announcement, maybe someone would lose their job over this. But of course, & to no one's surprise, the Foundation has yet to respond, even to acknowledge they have noticed. Based on prior performance, can anyone be surprised if the Foundation decides to rename itself as "Wikipedia Foundation", the volunteer communities be damned? (I find it sad to admit this is the likely outcome.) The Foundation is all too willing to ignore community opinion when convenient. Unless someone starts flaming Katherine Maher on Twitter, her favorite platform, over its lack of response. -- Llywrch (talk) 13:55, 6 July 2020 (UTC)

The survey ends tomorrow, the Board publicly stated that they are going to let it be as is until their August 5 meeting when they will make a decision whether to pause/stop/continue. Until then all we can do is just wait. tufor (talk) 14:03, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
Well, continuing to exert pressure up and until that point is worthwhile. We can exert pressure in two ways - whether by our voices or by more direct action (e.g. blocking the central banner notice). I don't believe flaming the executive director would prove notably helpful in convincing anyone to our cause. Unless and until that Board meeting comes out with a bad response (which is certainly not impossible) I'd also discourage any direct action. Nosebagbear (talk) 17:45, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
+1. I think many of us know, even personally, quite a few reasonable, decent, and cool-headed people in the Foundation. In fact, I very much like to believe that this whole sad story is just an example of the so typical human biases and inability to recognize them, when they are our own, which none of us are free from. In other words, I'd like to think that everyone in the Foundation is indeed a decent person and nobody has honestly wished to neglect the opinion of the community.
But, of course, if the project does continue as if nothing has happened, and even more so if the reaction continues to be along the lines of the evasive corporate jargon, bordering on hypocrisy, I will see myself forced to change my opinion. I'm even afraid that such an act may damage the trust between the community and the Foundation beyond repair. It won't be the end of the world, but it won't be pretty either. So, let's really hope that's not a likely outcome.
Oh, and, by the way, my most sincere thanks to the people who have prepared this letter and to everyone who has devoted their time to protect the best interests of the community!
— Luchesar • T/C 12:07, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

Well, I've been active in Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects for many years, and I think I have never seen such an overwhelming statement not only by individuals, but also by Wikimedia affiliate groups, of which already an astounding 57 (I never knew that there are so many!) have signed this open letter, including chapters such as Wikimedia France, Austria, Argentina, Sweden (Sverige)... So it is clear now that not pausing the process (probably better: ditching for good the whole renaming idea and end that sorry affair quickly) would be a brutal slap in the face of the worldwide community, slews of some of the most active content contributors, Wikimedia chapters, and other groups. I hope that not only Pundit who I see has responded on this page and notified the board, but each and every board member follows the development of this open letter closely, and takes it to heart. By the way: There were very clear signs from the beginning that not just individual users, but many chapters would not take the idea of "Wikipedia" as a brand for Wikimedia well. Time and time again, in various places, people had warned about this. But, it seems, in the wrong places or in the wrong way, and now we're in this mess... Gestumblindi (talk) 20:31, 6 July 2020 (UTC)

Four more (affiliated) user groups and we have a majority of them! Nosebagbear (talk) 09:54, 9 July 2020 (UTC)

Additional individual notifications[edit]

The open letter has been recently advertised to the Distribution list (I think) by a WMF employee, together with the WMF-run survey. That's good. Given what we know about the signatures, I wonder if we should send some more notifications (without using the CentralNotice which is a bit overboard).

One goal could be to increase the number and quality of translations, for instance: this page has a good number of translations, the board statement not so much. We need more translations in some large language of ours (like Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Swedish, Korean, Farsi, Hungarian, Finnish, Hebrew, Norwegian...).

To avoid spam, one possibility is to focus on users who were active on Meta-Wiki in the past and therefore showed some level of interest in cross-wiki matters, translations etc. The current median editcount for the ~800 signers is a bit more than 50 Meta-Wiki edits. There are less than 7000 users with over 50 edits, active in recent years, who didn't edit the pages related to the open letter yet. (Another approach is to count the global editcount but that's a little bit more tedious.)

To make the notification a bit less English-centric, maybe we can send it just on Meta and reuse some of the translation units from the existing pages. Otherwise we can try something more serious and translate the notification as well, but that would take a while. Nemo 12:45, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

So firstly, I'm always pro more translations, and it's nice to have all the key bits share a common set of translated languages. However, I'm generally against pinging - if we start canvassing groups aggressively like that, even on purely an activity basis, then we're artifically inflating our numbers. A better route might be seeing if it's been added to the Village Pump-equivalents on more wikipedias, preferably with a fairly neutral message. Nosebagbear (talk) 16:02, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
Yeah, I agree that further pinging would probably do more harm than good. If the message hasn't come across yet with these numbers, it never will. Effeietsanders (talk) 17:18, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
Effe: +1. –SJ talk  22:06, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
Farsi translation, done. 4nn1l2 (talk) 07:52, 8 July 2020 (UTC)

I find it striking and worthy of note how even in the current heated conflict, community members are systematically dedicated to not-canvassing, not biasing or inflating our numbers, neutral advertising, etc etc etc. On the other hand it would be a major project trying to document all of the careless, misleading, or cooked data and surveying from the Foundation. In the ImageFilter referendum you could select 10 if you thought adding a filter was important or select 0 if you thought adding it was unimportant - thankfully nobody wanted to indicate opposition! The Flow survey canvassed everyone who had specifically requested their user_talk be converted to Flow. That canvassing managed to inflate Flow support to a whopping thirty-odd percent - and a good thing too! If the figure had turned out any lower the survey-report might have appeared slightly biased when it issued that glowing recommendation for the WMF to pursue expanded Flow deployment. I'm not even going to get started on the cooked or disastrous data for VisualEditor. The list just keeps going and going. Alsee (talk) 13:33, 9 July 2020 (UTC)

It's frustrating too, since the WMF has done good data work before. They also did well when they reached outside for data review on ACTRIAL, which was very nicely done (within the constraints that the 30 day turn-off period didn't get much time to both sample, review, write-up and share the switch-off data, but that was our fault, not there's!) Nosebagbear (talk) 08:08, 10 July 2020 (UTC)


I'm not very pleased by this layout edit. It's way harder to read now. Usually it's one vote per line. --StYxXx (talk) 14:55, 8 July 2020 (UTC)

I like it, as I don't have to scroll that far to see everything, and I don't have to see tons of white-space. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 15:57, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
I like it as well. I think the one-vote-per-line strategy works best for smaller lists. This is getting very large. --Joalpe (talk) 20:43, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
And it's better for enWP-like RfC's, where you have to put some reasoning to your subscription. This is just a list, only few have extended their entry. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 20:50, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
I also like it. It's rather unusual, but looks good IMHO, and I have no problems reading it. Gestumblindi (talk) 21:26, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
Three columns is okay, but the small font made the individual signatures hard to read for more people than one might think, so I changed that back to regular size (diff). Afaic, we now have the best of both worlds. Wutsje (talk) 21:58, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
I found the 1 per row significantly easier to read. It obviously required more scrolling, but that was hardly time consuming. I find it blurs the reading of what people have described their principal areas as into the next number & signature. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:48, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
I've got 6 columns here on my 4K-monitor, on the normal one at home I think it's 3 or 4. So now scrolling is very nice, it was endless before. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 13:48, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
The change took me by surprise, but overall I'd give it an extremely mild "ok to stay this way" (after Wutsje's edit restoring the larger text). I don't think many people are going to be treating a gazillion signatures as reading material anyway. If strong or multiple objections roll in then we should go back to the normal format. Alsee (talk) 18:20, 9 July 2020 (UTC)

Summary of the Official Statement of Wikimedia CH about the Wikimedia Foundation Branding Process[edit]

Hi all, below the summary of the letter of WM CH to the branding team as per request here:

Summary of the Official Statement of Wikimedia CH about the Wikimedia Foundation Branding Process (sent to Nataliia Tymkiv from the WMF Board of Trustees and the Branding Team on 1st of July 2020 per mail)

The Board of Wikimedia CH acknowledges the naming convention proposals - as well as the process and the discussions that led to these.

As a Chapter, Wikimedia CH’s feedback focuses mainly on 2 major points:

1. Multilingualism and inclusivity:
Wikimedia CH does not identify with a single linguistic community but is divided into 4 distinct communities speaking not only a different language but also having different roots. Generally speaking, the Swiss community does not identify itself with one single Wikimedia project (i.e. Wikipedia) only. Choosing one of the proposed options as a brand name would not correlate with WMCH’s needs nor its sense of identification, and hence not be inclusive.

2. General issues concerning marketing and outreach:
Wikimedia CH has founded doubts about changing the name from Wikimedia to Wikipedia. We do not think that a name change will help to clear the positioning of the organisation and the movement in the Swiss environment. We are convinced, that the renaming bears a high risk and will cause a lot of confusion, let alone an enormous workload and costs. Wikimedia CH is recognised as an important actor in the country, with prominent partners and stakeholders. Changing the name would mean we would become less recognisable. 

Therefore, Wikimedia CH is of the opinion that Wikipedia should remain the brand for one particularly well-known product. Wikimedia on the other hand remains being the organisation supporting the various projects, being an actor in society for pushing important issues with one common voice. WMCH is clearly against the rebranding and the change of name from Wikimedia into one of the proposed options and asks for stopping the process and investing the money into an awareness raising campaign across the world for Wikimedia.

WMCH will of course follow the direction that will be chosen, as having different names throughout the world will certainly undermine our common efforts.

--Ilario (talk) 14:42, 9 July 2020 (UTC)

I appreciate this statement of the current board and staff of WMCH. Especially the second point provides ample food for thought for the decision-makers. --Pakeha (talk) 15:47, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
+1. The statement proves my sceptical question above had no reason. Thank you for the clear position. --Magiers (talk) 20:09, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
Thanks, Ilario, much appreciated indeed! Gestumblindi (talk) 12:28, 12 July 2020 (UTC) (member of WMCH)

Chapters Thoughts[edit]

As of yesterday, we now have an outright majority of all usergroups (69/135) which is seriously impressive.

I know we have a couple of chapters, but I was wondering, is the comparative dearth of chapter signatures because they're generally pro the rebranding, or split, or just that chapters confirming a formal position on something is more complicated and so just that most haven't made a formal statement on it? (I'm aware that there are other options, like being against making a chapterwide judgement on certain issues etc).

Obviously it could be a mix or even all of those across all the chapters, but I was just wondering if anyone had any insight into likely possibilities? Nosebagbear (talk) 08:14, 10 July 2020 (UTC)

The Swiss chapter has not signed, but written their own letter, that I think is even more clear against the renaming as the open letter. The heads of WMDE somehow think it's better to engage in secret backdoor instead of an open discussion, and they say, they were involved from the beginning. They are definitely not The German Community, just a support agency for the german community, like the WMF is just a support agency, not the boss. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 08:32, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
26 chapters out of 39 signed, how is that "comparative dearth of chapter signatures"?
Also remember that WMF has been on a mission to destroy chapters for at least some ten years, so most chapters tend to be disillusioned and old. We're soon reaching 10 years of frozen turnover. Nemo 08:44, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
I hadn't actually realised the chapter count was as high as that, despite reading it through several times. Thank you for highlighting Nosebagbear (talk)
FYI there are 39 chapters, 135 user groups (which doesn't include chapters) and two thematic orgs, which brings the total count of affiliates to 176; by my count we currently (at 70 signatories) have just about 40% of all affiliates signed (not counting the non-affiliated groups who signed). So we have just less than half of all affiliates but over half of the chapters have signed (Nemo's count of 26 is right, I think). -- phoebe | talk 13:11, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
my 2 cents. We must also consider the neutral positions. Neutral means not in favour nor against, but definitely it doesn't mean that 60% are supporting if 40% have signed. --Ilario (talk) 13:54, 12 July 2020 (UTC)

I know this will be un-popular[edit]

I realize this is going to be a very unpopular opinion. So let me preface this with:

* I'm not a Wikimedia employee, nor am I related to any of them.
* Yes, I looked at the history between Wikimedia's official employees and Wikipedia.
* I'm not employed by any company that supplies anything to Wikimedia or any of its communities.

With that said - here's the unpopular opinion. This open letter starts with:

Volunteers have built up the good name of Wikipedia as an independent, community-driven resource for 20 years.

Is Wikipedia independent? Not really. We're using software written and copyrighted by Wikimedia, we're using servers and computers owned by Wikimedia as well. As that's true, we're not independent, at best we would be inter-dependant. Yes, I've read through the history between WMF and Wikipedia users, and quite frankly, some of it isn't good. That said, at the end of the day, they actually own this and have a right to make what changes they wish. No, sometimes those changes aren't well-received, there was even one I saw that got reverted by a Wikipedian and this action generated quite a fight on Wikipedia. No, sometimes the WMF didn't do a great job communicating with the volunteers. No, sometimes the volunteers didn't treat WMF right either.

Either way, they actually own the software and the hardware we're using, so as much as I disagreed with what I saw in history from them, the fact is, they own both the hardware and software of Wikipedia and as long as we use both we're not independent of them. W.K.W.W.K All Lives Matter 20:56, 11 July 2020 (UTC)

MediaWiki is not copyright of the Wikimedia Foundation. Nemo 05:42, 12 July 2020 (UTC)

@Wekeepwhatwekill: There is some truth in what you write, but it's not quite correct.

  • "We're using software written and copyrighted by Wikimedia" - MediaWiki is open source under the GPL; its development is coordinated by the WMF, but much of it is actually written by volunteers. There are also paid programmers, yes.
  • "That said, at the end of the day, they actually own this" - no, they actually own not that much. The server hardware, yes - and the brand. But neither the software nor, most importantly, the content of the projects. Copyright for all content lies with the individual contributors who release it under CC-BY-SA (you confirm this with every edit you make). It's not transferred to the WMF or anything like that. The WMF is just allowed to use it, as everyone is.
  • That being said, we're currently not quite independent as communities, that is true. We rely on the support, the hosting of the servers and other means of support from the WMF, from things like legal affairs to funding for projects. If we were to break ties with the WMF, we would need a replacement organisation. In theory, we could do that. However, in the past, Wikipedia forks were not very successful (see the example of Enciclopedia Libre Universal en Español). And we couldn't stop the WMF to continue hosting Wikipedia with its trademarked brand, whilst a fork would have to use a new name. That would be a huge disadvantage. And, actually, the WMF hasn't done a bad job in the last years, I'd say. I would prefer dialogue to confrontation. There should be more mutual understanding of how we depend on each other - I fully appreciate the financial, legal etc. support the WMF can give and think this should not be underrated, but on the other hand, the WMF sometimes doesn't seem to be aware that it wasn't them who made Wikipedia successful, but the community who wrote it. Gestumblindi (talk) 12:13, 12 July 2020 (UTC)