Talk:Terms of use/Archives/2011-11-08

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Warning! Please do not post any new comments on this page. This is a discussion archive first created on 08 November 2011, although the comments contained were likely posted before and after this date. See current discussion or the archives index.

Dispute resolution

Currently we are handling this discussion in a somewhat technical way, trying to determine what various people want this page to mean and the legal and non-legal messages that we want it to convey. Hopefully that will suffice and eventually a document will emerge that we are all happy with. I know I won't really be able to simplify the page to "Be nice, or we reserve the right to be nasty" but I'm willing to compromise, and I hope everyone else is as well. However it is possible that some of our disputes here will not be about how we phrase this page in a way that is equally clear, succinct, friendly and legally valid. There may be some disputes here where Geoff has been instructed by the Foundation to have these terms contain something even though some editors object. When and if that happens, what is the best way to escalate matters? Should we escalate to Sue Gardner, or to a trustee, or conduct a poll on Meta, or something else? WereSpielChequers 12:30, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

If the Board has issued orders to do X (or at least something approximating X), then a poll on Meta will be basically useless: no poll changes the Board's orders. Purely from the "normal organization" perspective, the useful choices for getting a directive from the Board (or, more likely, its interpretation and application) changed are:
  1. Whoever's doing the work (i.e., Geoff)
  2. Whoever that person reports to (i.e., Sue)
  3. The Board (whom one contacts through its Secretary).
As a practical matter (again, purely from the "normal organization" perspective), the further down the list you have to go, the more likely it is that the person has the power to do what you want, but the less likely it is that s/he'll agree to it. As a result, the best approach is to start at the top of the list and proceed further only if necessary. WhatamIdoing 19:43, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
Interesting opinion, I wonder what the WMF thinks. I think a better option is to identify the board member who is championing a particular change and talk to them. I was hoping that if there are changes that the Foundation has requested which will transfer certain risks from the Foundation to the volunteers, the relevant Board member would step forward. WereSpielChequers 19:14, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Is this enforceable?

I asked this on foundation-l, but I probably should ask it here: To what extent are terms of use like this actually meaningful? Are there any precedents of them being upheld in court? If so, in what jurisdictions? Does using a website really constitute acceptance of a contract that everyone knows you haven't read?

If you're not actually going to be able to do anything with these terms of use, then we shouldn't have any. --Tango 12:02, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Disclaimer - I am not a lawyer, though I have followed legal issues. The questions you ask are complicated legal ones, where a full answer would be very detailed and necessitate being familiar with many court cases. But a short answer would be "Yes, at least enough to be problematic". Perhaps the scariest aspect is the recent legal issue concerning making terms of service violations into criminal matters. See, for example, the Lori Drew case - "Federal prosecutors claim that Drew broke federal law by violating MySpace's terms of service ...". Given what Wikimedia Foundation counsel has done in the past - EFF said this, not me - "Wikipedia Threatens Artists for Fair Use" with nasty legal threats, the sort of threatening WMF lawyering which could be done here is very disturbing (note, please don't reply about good faith - this is simple prudence). -- Seth Finkelstein 12:54, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Hm, whatever happened to "not a bureaucracy"? Rich Farmbrough 13:08 10 September 2011 (GMT).
User agreement are enforceable. Courts will look at a number of factors. Here is a subset of cases that address the issue:
Cairo, Inc. v. Crossmedia Services, Inc., 2005 WL 756610, at *2 (N.D. Cal Apr. 1, 2005) (finding that assent to terms is imputed where defendant repeatedly accessed web page displaying notice of “Terms of Use” in underlined, highlighted text that indicated hyperlink to actual terms).
Burcham v. Expedia, Inc., 2009 WL 586513, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Mar. 6, 2009) (holding that express assent to terms not required where notice of terms is “immediately visible” to users)
Major v. McCallister, 202 S.W.3d 227 (Mo. Ct. App. 2009) (upholding “browsewrap” agreement
where each web page contained “immediately visible notice of existence of license terms” and
a hyperlink to those terms)
Snap-on Business Solutions Inc. v. O'Neil & Associates, Inc., 708 F. Supp.2d 669 (N.D. Ohio 2010) (denying summary judgment where reasonable jury could find that defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of terms and conditions placed on website defendant accessed to submit usernames and passwords)
Geoffbrigham 23:07, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for those. I'm not entirely clear on legal citation conventions, but I think those are all US cases. What about the rest of the world? Just as the WMF doesn't really need to worry about lawsuits in non-US jurisdictions, non-US users don't really need to worry about lawsuits in the US. --Tango 13:39, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Right Tango. I will post some international opinions as well. Apologies for the delay. Geoffbrigham 17:12, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
The short answer is that online user agreements are enforceable internationally (which comports with my experience as an internet lawyer in Europe as well as advice received from outside international counsel). Generally speaking, in civil law countries, proposal and acceptance do not require a particular form, therefore a contract may also be concluded online. That said, courts will look at different factors. Here are some international cases upholding online agreements:
Court of Turin, Punto Affari  S.r.l. vs eBay Europe Sàrl, dated March 18, 2011;
Court of Rome, Onori vs eBay Italia S.r.l. and eBay International AG, dated July 7, 2009;
Court of Naples, Ponticello vs eBay International AG, dated March 2, 2009;
Court of Catania, Ariti vs eBay Italia S.r.l., dated December 12, 2008 
Tribunal d'instance de Nîmes, dated January 4, 2011, Marilyn S. vs. Price Minister, Lionel M;
Juridiction de proximité de Castelsarrasin, dated January 13, 2011, Frederic L. vs. Price Minister.
BGH, NJW 2006, 2976 on the inclusion of T&Cs in a contract made online.
Geoffbrigham 16:29, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

Clarity of schedule

I think it is really commendable that Geoff and WMF have extended the review period beyond the 30 days required (which would have expired Oct. 8). But I think it would be really helpful if there were a clear new deadline announced. For those participating only as they are able, it would be very helpful (for instance) to know that we're aiming for next Wednesday, or next month, or the end of the year; that would make it much easier to make personal decisions about when and how much time to invest in review. -Pete F 00:43, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

I appreciate this comment. To be honest, based on the feedback from the Community, I don't want to rush this process. I originally said a minimum of 30 days, but, as others have suggested to me, we need more time. Some considerations: (1) I believe it is important to get international feedback, and people have told me that they need more time to translate and get the word out; (2) We are waiting for a draft of the global ban policy so people can see how it is intended to integrate with the user agreement; and (3) per feedback, people felt they needed more time to review the user agreement and get comments to me. All that said, I'm now aiming to finalize about the first week of November, unless I hear differently from the Community. Geoffbrigham 12:56, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Excellent, thanks Geoff. I've updated the notice (in English, anyway) on the front page of Meta accordingly. -Pete F 18:32, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

Section 4. / WMF obligation

Yes check.svg Resolved.

General question to the legal experts: Could this whole section be construed to mean that WMF places itself under the legal obligation to enforce these rules? If so, is that the section's intent? If not, should there be a line stating just that? (e.g. "Nothing in this section places the Wikimedia Foundation under the obligation to enforce these rules in all cases.") Seb az86556 02:49, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Seb az: Section 4 does not place WMF under a legal obligation to enforce these rules. Section 10 makes clear that the Wikimedia Foundation will become involved in enforcement only rarely, and that section specifically states that WMF "reserve[s] the right, but do[es] not have the obligation" to investigate and terminate a user for violating the Agreement. Projects are free to formulate and enforce policies that complement the TOS. I hope this addresses your question. Thanks. Geoffbrigham 21:06, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
It does. Seb az86556 21:49, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Missing a space

You're missing a space here:
"Posting or trafficking in unlawful obscene material;and" 18:57, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Fixed Thank you, Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 21:23, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Minor copyediting and question about section 12

I have the following comments about the new terms of use:

  • In the overview section, the word different in "we host different Projects too" should be replaced by other. Other has some added meaning that different lacks.
  • In section 7I, "obtained from Project website" should be "obtained from a Project website".
  • Section 12: By "terminate this account", do you mean blocking? In that case, it is still possible to access your account and its settings (i.e. user preference, watchlist) when blocked; it is only impossible to edit the project (except for your user talk page, if editing of that page hasn't been disabled). Graham87 00:56, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Thank you, Graham87. Excellent eye. I made the changes as you suggested.
In Section 10, it is indicated that "termination" may include either blocking an account or banning a user. In response to your concern, I rewrote the third sentence of Section 12, substituting the word "may" for "will." This makes clear that we are not guaranteeing access to the "terminated" user's account or settings (if at some time in the future, for example, we are able technologically to block a user's account or settings). Geoffbrigham 21:23, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Geoff. I just noticed that the fourth sentence is redundant and a bit contradictory. It says "In such a case, your contributions may remain accessible to other users.", while the previous sentence says "... you and other users will retain access to your public contributions ...". I'd suggest removing the fourth sentence. Graham87 03:23, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
Excellent point. I deleted the sentence. Thanks! Geoffbrigham 09:16, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks very much. Graham87 12:55, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Community Responsibility

The Overview reads, "The community has the critical responsibility of creating and enforcing policies on Projects."

This statement might seem fine from the point of view of large projects, but since this is a legal document, this has the capacity to create legal trouble for contributors to small projects. Small projects have a much smaller community, which may number in the tens or even single-digits. In such cases, this statement effectively means that those handful of people can be held responsibility for content on that project.

For example, if a project x has 5 regular contributors, the rest being non-active(for practical purposes, not the MW 30-day 1-edit limit); it could be said that the upholding of policies is the responsibility of these 5 people. If someone spams a project with copyright violations and this small community is unable to handle the volume and delete all of them in a reasonable amount of time; the copyright holder of the works could say in a lawsuit, "These people were legally responsible to delete my work from that project per the WMF TOS. They did not do so in a reasonable amount of time leading to losses of a xillion dollars for me. I want a zillion dollars in compensation from them."

Clearly, such a situation is impractical on large projects with hundreds or thousands of active contributors, but on the small projects; this could cause big trouble. The same problem could be faced on newly launched projects, which (obviously) have a small community.

And even though section 4 mentions vandalism as something what one may not do, it does not put the responsibility of that on the person who actually vandalised the project, which, by virtue of the overview line stated above, goes to the community. And even though section 1b does that, I think the overview line could still be misused to point the finger at the active contributors. Of course the communities have a moral responsibility to take care of policies, but making that a legal responsibility would be taking matters a step too far.

And if I am correct, this line was added to emphasize the role of the community in the projects. If this is so, the line should read something like "The community performs the critical function of creating and enforcing policies on Projects." since I think that absolves the community from legal responsibility. If there are other, better wordings possible which remove legal responsibility from the community; please suggest Face-smile.svg --Siddhartha Ghai 19:38, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

I greatly appreciate your comment Siddhartha. I changed the sentence to read: "The community undertakes the critical function of creating and enforcing policies on Projects." I believe this addresses your concern. Geoffbrigham 12:21, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Use page translation for translations?

Hi. I propose to use Page Translation for structured translations of this page. I've already e-mailed Geoff. I'd love to configure it, but as the page is protected, I cannot do that... --Siebrand 22:56, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Have been in contact with Geoff and Philippe in the meantime, and tagged the page for translation using my Foundation account. Structured translation is now active. Please give it a go! --Siebrand 00:46, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Ah, so this is what happens when you have dedicated language people on staff. Most excellent!! -Pete F 01:01, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Thanks Siebrand for organizing other translations. After the update to the 21:10, 19 October 2011‎ version of the English page, the page Terms of use (de) now has been updated a second time to a current English version. Due to page protection, I am not able to change the "outdated" attribute from the content page. However, if this page should be in "the way" of a different, better, or better structured German translation, perhaps Terms of use (de) could better be removed altogether in order to avoid double work, --Rosenkohl 22:04, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

The page still claims that Terms of use (de) which has been updated yesterday was outdated. Also Terms of use (de) is not part of the <languages />-template, and the link on the content page is mentioned in smaller characters than the other translations, --Rosenkohl 12:02, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
I added that manually, to not dismiss the work that was done previously on the German translation. Unfortunately, whole page translations made in the "no tools whatsoever" era, cannot be moved/copied to the new system. Can you catch me on IRC (siebrand) or Skype (skype), so we can maybe together work on getting it in the new system to make it a little easier for you? In any case, please no longer update the "Terms of use (de)" version. We should get the content in the page translation feature asap. Meanwhile I'll remove the "outdated" :). --Siebrand 20:25, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
Right, I just did the thing myself. Took 15 minutes; I thought it would be more. The page is now available built out of structured content blocks at Terms of use/de. Please give it a quick review here. I think I copied all sections correctly, but you never know... Check back here to see if there are any updates you need to address. No more comparing to old revisions in English -- yay! --Siebrand 21:10, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
Thank you Siebrand for your efforts to integrate the existing translation into the new template; I could find no error in your subdivision (and I don't think I could have completed the same in only 15 minutes ;-). I don't use IRC or Skype for Wikipedia; however my Wiki-E-Mail is open, Greetings --Rosenkohl 20:56, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Terms of use#15. Limitation on Liability

There should be a specific currency, as USD for the 100$. ~~EBE123~~ talkContribs 20:05, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Thanks Ebel123. I made the change. I also took the liberty of increasing the amount to $1000. My intention with the limitation of liability is to provide some protection of WMF funds. I don't want some big corporation suing our non-profit for unreasonable donor dollars, but I don't want to prevent legitimate claims from the regular user. The $100 USD limit is quite typical in other user agreements, but, in light of other feedback, I'm increasing the limitation to $1000. Geoffbrigham 23:49, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Agree with this change. $1000 is enough to cover most reasonable actual damages to an individual. Dcoetzee 03:00, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Terms of Use/Remixed

I've had a go at reorganising this by type of user. First is Terms of Use/Readers. All I've done is take the current TOU and deleted anything that doesn't apply to readers.

Anyone think this is worth pursuing? Next task is to put back all the stuff related to editors in the next section.--Filceolaire 17:47, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

That looks like a good conceptual division, except ... I see you have a small section "Authors, Editors and Content contributors" followed by another section "Republishing and Distributing our Content". A person reading this might think or say he thought that the later sections - important things such as disclaiming liability for the actions of third parties - were directed only at authors and editors. While the Wiki headings are very good for encyclopedic purposes, I'm not sure that I'd trust them to work out for you in this situation. Wnt 21:44, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Guess that needs an extra sentence to make it clear.--Filceolaire 22:08, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Done.I've added the content to the Terms of Use/Remixed#Authors, Editors and Content contributors and the Terms of Use/Remixed#Republishing and Distributing our Content sections now as well and changed the name to Terms of Use/Remixed. I think everything in Terms of use is now included somewhere but rearranged. I have added 2 new sections. Activities editors should refrain from now includes Terms of Use/Remixed#Incivility. and Terms of Use/Remixed#Bad faith editing, or working against the ends of the project.. I have also included lots more sub headings to make it easier to navigate to and link to and edit sections and I have added a paragraph ot the beginning of each main sectionFilceolaire 14:41, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
redone. Incivility and Bad Faith Editing sub subsections changed to Civility and Good Faith editing subsections Terms_of_Use/Remixed#Civility_and_Politeness--Filceolaire 17:59, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
I would far rather see one unified TOS than a fragmented series. WhatamIdoing 15:13, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
It's still one page just organised according to what users need instead of what lawyers need.--Filceolaire 17:59, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. Mdennis (WMF) 16:36, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Prohibited activities

Note This is a continuation of Talk:Terms of use/Archives/2011-10-11#Prohibited activities; please see that conversation for full context.

Now the content page reads:

" These activities include: [...] Engaging in False Statements, Impersonation, or Fraud [...] Intentionally or knowingly posting content that constitutes libel or content that is otherwise false, inaccurate, or defamatory;"

You write:

"We see daily attempts by people who try to vandalize our sites by introducing false statements, and I want to make clear to users, especially new ones, that this is not acceptable."

I don't see such attempts, and I have never seen attempts of people to introduce false statements in Wikipedia. In fact, Wikipedia does not contain any false statements or true statements.

There are many attempts to vandalize Wikipedia, but then without "introducing false statment", e.g. by introducing unsourced content, or false representations of sources, or content from irrelevant sources, or tendencious misrepresentations of sources etc.. Or Many new users try to spam an irrelevant book or website which they have just published, or change articles in order to advertise for their own enterprise etc., but this disturbing content is not "false". Or many new users simply try to vandalize by introducing just nonsensical content, which may be discovered and reverted soon by other users in smost cases, or remain undiscovered in few other cases, but this disturbing content is not "false".

However your answer Geoffbrigfham does not address the fact that an encyclopaaedia does not contain true or false content, and makes no claim to be factual true.

The concepts of falseness and truth may make sense in a religious context (e.g. the eighth commandment, that you shall not bear false witness against your neighbour), or in a legal context (e.g. when you are put on oath in front of a court), on in private relationship (e.g. when people expect each other not to betray), or in science (e.g. trying to accurately observe, describe and explain nature), etc.. But an encyclopaedia is neither a religious gathering, nor a court, nor a private relation, nor a research endeavour, and falseness and truth make no sense for an encyclopaedia.

--Rosenkohl 11:10, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

There may be some linguistic issues here. :) But I wonder, you list as among the possible ways to vandalize Wikipedia "by introducing unsourced content, or false representations of sources, or content from irrelevant sources, or tendencious misrepresentations of sources etc" and then conclude that this (along with behaviors) "is not 'false'." How is it not "false" to introduce a "false representation of sources"? For example, the group of people who created this now deleted article on English Wikipedia knowingly and willfully introduced a hoax. Can you explain what other words you feel would better define knowingly and willfully introducing a hoax? (Sadly, we've got a very incomplete list of them at w:Wikipedia:List of hoaxes on Wikipedia. :/) Knowing what language you would use might help clarify your objection to the word "false". :) --Mdennis (WMF) 12:15, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

Sorry but you seem to misrepresent what I wrote. I did not claim that the behaviour of the users is not "false" from the point of view of an encyclopaedic project. My point is that the content itself which these user would introduce is not "false". Rather, this content then is incorrectly sourced.

From the point of view of an encyclopaedia, we have to distinguish between the reality itself, and a source which makes a statement about the reality. Of course a written book etc which we use as a source is a part of the reality, too (as the encyclopaedia is part of the reality, too). However for the encyclopaedia, there is a difference between making a statement about reality on the one hand, and representing a source which contains a statement about reality on the other hand.

The Neutral point of view (NPOV) is considered as the mandatory editorial principle for the Wikimedia projects, according to page Founding principles.

According to (say) en:Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, NPOV means:

>>representing fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources.<<

So from a NPOV, you don't say what is true or false in reality, but you say what reliable sources claim about reality.

The page Neutral point of view reads:

>>Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikibooks, Wikiquote, Wikisource and Wikinews—but not Wikiversity, Wikispecies, Wikimedia Commons, the many "backstage" projects, or here at Meta—have a strict neutral point of view (NPOV) policy, which states that their missions are best served not by advancing or detracting particular points of view on any given subject, but by trying to present a fair, neutral description of the facts — among which are the facts that various interpretations and points of view exist.<<

So in fact, these six projects Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikibooks, Wikiquote, Wikisource and Wikinews have adopted the NPOV, while there exist other Wikimedia projects which don't follow the NPOV.

I think it would be acceptable if the Terms of Use would say that the NPOV is mandatory for those Wikimedia projects which have adopted the NPOV, or if the Terms of Use would say that the Founding principles should be respected.

--Rosenkohl 21:24, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

Let's try a practical example:
  • If I were to write, "Rosenkohl is a convicted criminal", is that not a truly false statement about you, rather than one merely in need of a source?
  • Since NPOV is not mandatory right here at WikiMedia, on what grounds would you object to such a false claim here, if merely saying it's false is irrelevant? WhatamIdoing 17:10, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
Why do u get personnel again, @whatamidoing, even if it was meant as an example. Lets try to explain to u in short, what was meant. True and false concerning facts are relative, as u say: The truth always lies in the middle of a subject. Thats why NPOV is important. If u state a fact and someone else poses the exact opposite to that, either u post a false content, or ur opponent does. NPOV means to show both sides of the coin. Thats all.--Angel54 5 21:22, 24 October 2011 (UTC) PS.: Its a clear difference, if so. shows false behaviour (this one u can define, the content is always to view out of a myriad of possible meanings of specialists - will u define, who of them is right, and who is wrong? That would be TF.)
Actually, Angel, Rosenkohl says above that you are wrong: He says that if I state a fact, and someone else poses the exact opposite to that, then nobody is posting false content, because Rosenkohl believes that false content cannot exist. Rosenkohl says that what you call "false content" is not false, but only "non-neutral" or "incorrectly sourced" content.
So I wish to know: Does Rosenkohl really believe that no statement can be false? Is he happy if I write these statements about him, or does he wish the Foundation to prohibit me from writing false statements about him?
(The truth does not lie in the middle here: either Rosenkohl really is a convicted criminal, or I would be making a 100% false statement about him.) WhatamIdoing 20:36, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Counter question: How many errors of justice do u know? Thats factfinding, but those facts can be wrong. There is no security that something is absolute true or false.--Angel54 5 21:34, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
It simply doesn't matter if the conviction was just. If someone is wrongly convicted of a crime, that person is still a convicted criminal (unless and until the conviction is overturned). Either the statement about the person's criminal status according to the court is true or false. It cannot be halfway true: you cannot be a partly convicted criminal.
The problem here is that Rosenkohl does not want the WMF to be able to force me to remove false statements about him on the grounds that they are false statements, apparently because he does not want to admit that false statements could possibly exist.
It doesn't much matter what the false statement is: the terms of use should equally prohibit me from saying that a never-convicted editor is a convicted felon, that a middle-aged German man is a ten year old Chinese girl, or that Angel 54 gets paid millions of Euros every year for editing Wikipedia. These are all false statements (so far as I know), and Rosenkohl should be willing to admit that they really are false statements and that false statements like this are not wanted—not in articles, not in userspace, not anywhere. WhatamIdoing 17:27, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for this discussion. I guess I might retort that, even if NPOV is the standard (as opposed to truth vs. falsity) for an encyclopedia or other Project, the "intentional[]" "posting [of] content that is otherwise false" is inconsistent with NPOV. The primary purpose of this provision in Section 4 is to enforce against vandalism where persons intentionally leave false statements in what effectively constitutes an attack against the NPOV principle or the integrity of the Project to become a source of credible information (i.e., knowledge). I feel comfortable with this provision as is, but, of course, if consensus is otherwise, please let me know. Geoffbrigham 23:02, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
It seems to me that a great deal of the confusion here could be avoided by substituting the phrase "intent to deceive or manupulate" for the "intentional". This would resolve all variations wherein the user knowingly posts a falsehood as part of a broader argument or project. For instance, in a reductio ad absurdum argument, or while transcribing a classic text written prior to a modern scientific discovery. It's the intention to decieve one's fellow editors and/or readers that poses a problem, not mere intention to post a falsehood. -Pete F 23:19, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
I think that "intentional" is okay, since we would interpret it in the context of the whole action in context. Posting a classic text—and correctly labeling it as such—is not a false action. "I faithfully transcribe the classic text about the Earth being flat to Wikisource" is a true and honest action.
"Intentional" means "not by accident", which I think is our limited goal. "With intent to deceive or manipulate" is likely to result in wikilawyering about the impossibility of knowing someone's internal motivations. WhatamIdoing 20:36, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
I think you and I are in agreement about what needs to be communicated, but not entirely about the best words to do so. I think that "intentional" is as much about "intent" as is "intent to deceive or manipulate," so I'm not sure it's any easier to prove. Also, aren't we concerned with actual lawyering, not wikilawyering, when composing TOU? It seems to me that courts of law deal with the need to establish intent all the time; it's challenging, but not impossible. Of course, you're the lawyer, not me. But when I read the following statement (from the current draft):
Intentionally or knowingly posting … content that is otherwise false, inaccurate…
…that, to me, sounds in plain English like it prohibits perfectly good Wikisource transcription of documents that state "the world is flat." That strikes me as a problem, and I'd like to see it phrased in a way that does not (appear to) prohibit productive work. -Pete F 21:47, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
To be clear, Geoff's the lawyer, not me. I've only got an armchair.
If your goal is protecting the WMF against real lawyering, then I honestly don't think that the phrase is a problem. Real lawyers already know the difference between saying "The Earth is flat" and "Here are the contents of this document, which says, 'The Earth is flat'". Wikisource never makes any claims of fact; it's sole purpose is to say "Here are the contents of this document, which says..." WhatamIdoing 17:48, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
What u write is not clear to me, @whatamidoing. If in the first sentence I read "would interpret" and in the last one about the "impossibility of knowing someones internal motivations" thats a clear contradiction. What are u trying to say?--Angel54 5 21:46, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Last question: What has the content to do within the TOU anyhow? In an instruction manual of a washing machine u get advice, how to use that thing, not what to put in it.--Angel54 5 22:09, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Let me give you a concrete example. Wikisource exists for the purpose of posting old documents. Let's pretend that you post an old document—say, the famous book by Hecataeus of Miletus from about 500 BCE—that says the Earth is flat.
Now, we know that the Earth is round, not flat. Pete worries that someone might demand that the WMF remove this old document or punish you, because you posted "false" content.
I do not believe this will happen. When you post the old document, you are not saying "The Earth is flat". You are actually saying—and the WMF is smart enough to know you are saying this—that "2,500 years ago, Hecataeus of Miletus said the Earth is flat"—and since Hecataeus of Miletus actually did say this 2500 years ago, then there is nothing false about what you did and no grounds for a complaint. In this instance, your internal motivation is irrelevant, because your action is unquestionably truthful: you truthfully and accurately say that Hecataeus of Miletus was ignorant of the Earth's shape.
(You might want to go read a manual for a washing machine. They definitely include advice on what not to put in them, exactly like we are telling people not to put false statements into WMF websites.) WhatamIdoing 17:58, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Whatamidoing, you misunderstand me: my concern above is not about specific impacts or possible actions, but about the clarity of text. I just would prefer to see a TOU that does not prohibit "posting … content that is … false" when, in fact, we often encourage and praise the posting of content that has factual inaccuracies. It's not a really substantial issue, it's more along the lines as wanting typos and grammatical errors fixed. (I do happen to think it's a overkill to have even actual falsehoods prohibited at the TOU level, and something that is occasionally within the bounds of acceptable behavior; but that's a separate matter, and not an argument I'm really looking to enter into.) Sorry for identifying your profession incorrectly, I mistakenly thought I had seen that on your user page. -Pete F 21:26, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
(And to be fair, I think my comment is the source of that confusion, because of my talk about actual lawsuits. Muddy presentation on my part. -Pete F)
This is a close call. WhatamIdoing makes good points. Nevertheless, I restructured slightly and inserted the phrse "with the intent to deceive." It may not be necessary, as WhatamIdoing suggests, but I'm fine with the addition if it clarifies things for others. I'm not as worried about proving an intent to deceive; proving intent is well know to legal proceedings as well as Wikimedia actions. Thanks everyone for thinking about this so thoughtfully. Geoffbrigham 21:47, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Ok then, if this is a close call - but I warn about that stuff. Looks to me that WMF is trying to control content and to control authors with their contributions. As I said, science consists of many meanings of a subject. If u define as WMF, whats the right opinion, u might lose contributors.--Angel54 5 19:22, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
+1 on accuracy requirement, but I'd still like to see criticism excepted. James Salsman 07:17, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks James. I believe there is an active discussion ongoing above about the "criticism execepted" issue. I will put my comments under that discussion topic. Cheers. Geoffbrigham 16:02, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. Mdennis (WMF) 16:05, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Use of "free"

There are some places where I am wondering the sense of "free": free of charge or free in the sense of free license? The French has two different words ("gratuit" vs. "libre"). I was wondering particularly in §1 "providing [...] to the public for its free use.", but I think there are other occurences of that ambiguation. Thanks a lot! ~ Seb35 [^_^] 16:02, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

"gratuit et libre"? :) ...I think the only exception is "culture"... can that be free-of-charge? Seb az86556 16:23, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Seb35, thanks for your observation. I think we should try to be consistent when we are talking about "free as in beer." I propose we use the phrase "free of charge" for "gratuit." I rewrote the sentence in Section 1 to read as follows: "The Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free multilingual content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based Projects to the public free of charge." In that sentence, "free multiligual content" means "libre," and "free of charge" means "gratuit." Does that make sense? I did a quick read through of the proposed TOS, and I think that we are consistent in saying "free of charge" when we mean "gratuit" (but, of course, a double-check would not hurt). Merci! Geoffbrigham 15:49, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
After reading the entire document, I think it is consistent within the text. Anthere 18:53, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. Mdennis (WMF) 15:53, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Quick grammar change, again

Yes check.svg Resolved.

Can someone remove the "in order" from the notice at the top of the terms of use? It's completely redundant in this case. Thanks! Graham87 06:49, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Done. Geoffbrigham 20:00, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

"The community is the reason"

Geoff, I've only got a minute today, but I think you've got a problem with this paragraph:

Importantly, the community - the network of users who are constantly building the Projects - are the reason we have this unique website. The community contributes to and governs our sites. It has primary responsibility for drafting and enforcing policies on their Projects. This user agreement seeks to simply complement these policies and their enforcement and to support the community as it continues to construct this unprecedented respository of free knowledge.

Last I checked, §501(c)(3) did not list "having a community" as a reason for non-profit status or activities. The WMF's purpose is education ("to collect, develop, and disseminate knowledge"). You don't want the IRS to have any excuse at all to define these websites as Unrelated Business. These websites exist—and the community is fostered and supported here—because the Board believes that these websites and this community support leads to education. The community is a means, not an end. (There are a couple of good law firms in SF that specialize in non-profit law if you want a professional opinion.)

Also, the grammar is wrong: "the community is", not "the community are".

The facts are wrong, too: this agreement does not "seek[s] to simply complement these policies". The TOS is primary, and the policies are required to complement it, not the other way around. The WMF is banning child porn and harassment and copyright violations, full stop, no matter what any community at any project chooses to put in its policies. WhatamIdoing 15:41, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Thanks much WhatamIdoing. I'm trying to respond to the feedback that the community must be acknowledged as primarily in charge of policies and enforcement. If you had the time, I would greatly appreciate your drafting some language that accurately captures that concept. Many thanks. Geoffbrigham 15:49, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
This page tells you about the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), our services, our
relationship to you as a user, and the rights and responsibilities that guide us
WMF host an incredible quantity of informational content, all of which is
contributed and made possible by volunteers like yourself. The WMF do not
contribute, monitor, or delete content (with the rare exception of policies like
these Terms of Use or legal compliance for DMCA notices). Editorial control is in
the hands of various Projects. The largest of our projects is Wikipedia but WMF host
a number of other project too, each with slightly different obejctives and ways of
working. Each project has a team of volunteers who work together to create and
manage the content on those projects and you are welcome to join these teams and
work with them to improve these projects. The WMF
merely hosts the projects. Additionally, because the WMF are dedicated to making
content freely accessible to the public, we generally require that all content you
contribute is available under a free license or in the public domain.
Please be aware that you are legally responsible for all of your contributions,
edits, and re-use of Wikimedia content under the laws of the United States and of
your home country. This means it is important that you use caution when posting
content. In light of this responsibility, we have some rules about what you cannot
post, most of which is either for your own protection or for the protection of other
users like yourself. Please keep in mind that the content we host is for general
informational purposes only, so if you need expert advice for a particular question
(such as medical, legal, or financial issues), you should seek the help of a
licensed professional. We also include other important notices and disclaimers, so
please read the entire agreement.
In a nutshell: The WMF provides websites where groups of volunteers can create
useful content for anyone to read and use. You are welcome to join these volunteers
to help in these projects but you should follow the policies of the individual
projects. The WMF merely hosts this content and if any part of the content is
against the law then the responsibility lies with the contributor of that content
and not with the WMF or the other contributors.
As we can't edit the original I've posted the Overview above for editting here.
My comments:
In Wikipedia the Overview is included in the lead section above the table of contents. I think that is worth doing here.
When you start a sentence "In a nutshell" don't spend the next sentence telling what the terms of Use are for - go straight to a summary of the terms.
You define the community as the people who contribute content and state the WMF is here for them. This is a common misconception which the TOU should correct.
  • As a charity the WMF is here to provide content to readers.
  • The people who contribute content are here create and curate content for those readers.
  • The WMF hosts projects to distribute the content created to the readers
  • The WMF also hosts projects to enable the contributors to collaborate to create new content and manage the projects. (In the case of the MediaWiki software project the creation and the consumption are via different sites)
  • Republishers help the WMF in the distribution task. When they improve the content they also help the content creation task.
This is not an Agreement. It applies whether the readers agrees or not.--Filceolaire 00:43, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
This is all really helpful. Incorporating the feedback is taking longer than I anticipated, but I will get to this shortly. Thank you! Geoffbrigham 01:32, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
Overview editted again.--Filceolaire 22:07, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I think I have captured the spirit of the above suggestions. I took out the "nutshell" paragraph since it appeared repetitive. Many thanks! Geoffbrigham 19:46, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
Geoff, I'd leave it out altogether, but there are several things that I think could be safely said, if the goal is to soothe ruffled feathers among people who are just now discovering that they don't own their favorite projects. Among them, you could declare the community of contributors to be a "critical" means through which the Board is accomplishing its educational goals, and its activities are the "primary" method for developing and applying detailed standards for each project, as embodied in their content, behavioral, and other policies. But since the best-case scenario is that this statement has no actual effect, then I'd personally leave it out entirely. WhatamIdoing 21:05, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
This one is a little difficult for me. The above feedback makes clear that we need to underscore the critical role of the community (as opposed to the WMF). I believe that is a valid point for obvious reasons, and I think we need to capture it in the agreement. My couple of attempts appear somewhat subpar, so I remain interested in proposed language or additional proposed wordsmithing that we believe would have community consensus. In the meantime, if OK with everyone, I would like to leave this thread open a little longer to hear views and proposals. Geoffbrigham 13:57, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing - I definitely understand your point and appreciate it. However, it is not uncommon in contracts to include some limited sentences that describe the environment or facts surrounding the agreement. I would put these comments in that category, and, as I have said, I think it appropriate and wise to acknowledge the principal and important role of the community. I'm still open to comments, but I'm leaning towards leaving this language in. Geoffbrigham 22:54, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
If you want something like that, then you might try modifying the original text along these lines:

The community—the network of users who are constantly building and using the Projects—are the principal means through which the Foundation is achieving its fundamental educational goals. The community contributes to and helps govern our sites. It has the critical responsibility of creating and enforcing policies on Projects that support and complement this user agreement, the Foundation's policies, and the Foundation's purpose in constructing these unprecedented respositories of free knowledge.

You get lots of nice-sounding words, it's all true, it's all in the context of achieving a 501(c)(3)-authorized charitable purpose, and it presents an accurate relationship to the WMF. WhatamIdoing 17:44, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, to be honest, I tend to like the language that we have already, but I have taken the liberty of lifting some of your prose and putting it in the "Overview" section. I liked its flow, and it introduces the concept of the community. I'm not sure you will be satisfied though, since I left in the other language. Given the feedback from a number of sources, I do want to emphasize the importance of the community since it takes primary responsibility on policy creation and enforcement. Hopefully this is not a deal breaker for you. Geoffbrigham 15:54, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Basically, there are no deal-breakers for me. I have never been under the illusion that I control the Foundation. You may freely accept or reject any suggestion I make. In the end, the Board will approve whatever TOU it chooses to approve, and—as a part of the community—my only true choice will be to like it or lump it. They are extremely unlikely to approve anything so irrational that I would feel compelled to stop contributing. WhatamIdoing 20:15, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Actually, you have had excellent ideas here, and, because of you, this is a better document. I know you are greatly respected in the community, so I have quite a bit to learn from you. If you think I'm too far off base, let me know. I trust your instincts and wisdom here. Many thanks again. Geoffbrigham 23:52, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

"The community are" is ordinary British English... AnonMoos 00:51, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Yea, but it looks terrible. Brya 09:52, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree that the parts on "community" are problematic. It may sound very fine to say "The community has the critical responsibility of creating and enforcing policies on Projects." but this is not something that is effected here. If the WMF board obligates the community to create and enforce policies, it will first have to define (and create) the judicial body that is this "community" and then enter into legal agreements with this body. At the moment there is not anything that can be pointed to as being this "community", having rights and duties. For example the Dutch Wikipedia does not have a NOR-policy page (just about the most basic thing a Wikipedia should have) and it will never have one, unless the WMF creates one or finds somebody it can obligate into creating one.
The phrase "submitted community content" is highly mystifying. As a user I have a responsibility for what I write and contribute ("my content"), I have no responsibility for what I did not write. Who is this community that wrote this content, and where can he be sued?
"and we expect you to be civil and polite in your interactions with others in the community and to act in good faith and cooperate with others for the success of the shared Project." is terribly vague. Is this intended to give a legal base to the often-heard "you have made an edit on Wikipedia and thereby you have sold your soul in slavery"? I think this won't even begin to fly unless it is going to be specified how much of a transfer of money, time, knowledge, etc the "new community member" has contracted to in making an edit. How much does it cost to make a Wikipedia edit? How long a period of indenture has the "contibutor" let himself be trapped into?
I could go on, but I hope to have made the point that a TOU should be between the individual who agrees to use the site and the body that is legally responsible for the site (the WMF). This mystical "community" (different with everybody who uses the word) that is supposed to have unspecified rights and duties should first be regulated in a separate agreement between the WMF and that "community". Brya 09:52, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
"slavery"? Seb az86556 12:12, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
To paraphrase a user here: "Of course experts are welcome at Wikipedia, as long as they realize that they are there as resources to be used, and that they are not real Wikipedians". A very common attitude. Brya 06:29, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
Brya: This clause does not demand, require or even expect any particular quantity of edits. It merely notes that, for however many (or few) edits you choose to make, we expect you to be civil and constructive. I really can't see how you would interpret these words any other way but if you have a suggestion for improving the wording please put it here.Filceolaire 00:14, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
It may be that the clause is not intended to demand anything, but that is not what it says. The term "cooperate" covers an enormous amount of ground. In this case the "and we expect you to be civil and polite in your interactions with others in the community and to act in good faith and cooperate with others for the success of the shared Project." could be replaced by its opposite, for example "and we expect you to be civil and polite in your interactions with others in the community and to act in good faith, and that any edits you make are aimed at furthering the goal of the shared Project." This still offers a lot of latitude, but at least eliminates the so-popular slavery.
Of course, this still leaves the more general point that you cannot force any particular user to be responsible for the existence of a community that is going to be doing all sorts of things. The most a TOU can do is set limits and expectations on the conduct of that particular user. Brya 06:25, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
Thank you, Brya, for your helpful comments. I'm fine with your rewrite. Unless I hear any strong objections from others, I would be inclined to use the substance of Brya's proposed langauge. Cheers. Geoffbrigham 14:36, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Brya, I rephrased a bit and included the following sentence in the proposed TOS: We expect you to be civil and polite in your interactions with others in the community, to act in good faith, and to make edits and contributions aimed at furthering the mission of the shared Project. I believe this addresses your concerns; let me know if it doesn't. Geoffbrigham 16:29, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. Mdennis (WMF) 20:53, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Politeness and civility

The Projects hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation only exist because of the vibrant community of users like you who collaborate together to write, edit and curate the content. We happily welcome your participation in this community, but we require you to be civil and polite in your interactions with others in the community and to act in good faith and cooperate with others for the success of the shared Project.

I was afraid of words such as "polite," "civil," "collaborate," and "cooperate" would make their way into this user agreement. Could someone please at least change "require" to "insist"? As good as collaboration is, challenging and disputing is just as good for these projects. I could say confidently from personal experience that editors tend to work against each other than with each other. Sue Gardener said that the Terms of Use wouldn't create excuses for kindness enforcement. In addition, it's sometimes difficult to convey ideas concisely to others while submitting to a certain community's definition of "politeness" and "civility". There's a reason political correctness is often compared to Newspeak. I don't have any problems with words such as "good faith" (working with the goals of a project) and "bad faith" (working against the goals of a project), since those words refer to motivations rather than how to communicate. These words weren't in the ToU until recently, so I'm sure that they could be modified or removed. --Michaeldsuarez 23:39, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Michaeldsuarez, your citation to Sue's email is quite appropriate. These changes were in response to some feedback I received in the above discussion topic "Concerns with the present text." I would like to hear other opinions, but I see an argument to delete the language if we cannot find wording that meets consensus. Thanks much. Geoffbrigham 03:00, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
I drafted those words. I agree with Michael D that disagreement and discussion is central to much of the ongoing improvements to our projects, especially Wikipedia, however this only works if it is civil disagreement between parties working in good faith to try and make the article better. If the disagreement descends into name-calling (fascist! racist! communist!) and incivility or even polite intransigence and refusal to work together then that has no place in our projects and I think the Terms of Use needs to make that clear. Some more words about how we expect people to work together to resolve disagreements should be added elsewhere in the TOU.--Filceolaire 13:15, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Are you saying that you believe polite intransigence should be forbidden on all Foundation projects? Dualus 15:40, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Yes. The POV warrior who knows all the rules and keeps politely insisting there is no consensus for any position except the one he supports is more of a threat to Wikipedia than a drive by vandal.--Filceolaire 21:33, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Actually, collaboration isn't really required in practice. How exactly does one "collaborate" on uploading a self-made photograph to Commons? That's a solo activity by its very nature. Are you really "cooperating" with anyone if you write an encyclopedia article by yourself? (That's a common outcome for articles about obscure people and organizations.)
Most projects have freely chosen to require civility, but so far as I know, none require politeness, which is a somewhat different concept. And I share Michael's concern about people having different ideas of what those words mean. What was once called "the cut direct"—publicly and directly refusing to acknowledge someone's existence—is officially classified as civil behavior and described in older (Western) etiquette books, but it's not "polite" and is commonly condemned when seen on the English Wikipedia. WhatamIdoing 15:10, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
None of these "Terms of Use" apply in 99.9% of the edits on our projects. This page is here for the 0.1% of cases where there is a problem. Maybe we should advise that "If you think you might have trouble keeping your cool then you should stay away from hot button issues. There are quiet corners of Wikipedia where you can edit and seldom see another editor." --Filceolaire 21:33, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
You're apparently trying to write terms for Wikipedia. The WMF is trying to write terms that apply equally to ALL the projects, including projects that focus on (for example) software development.
As a point of fact, these terms apply to 100% of every use, not just uses that cause disputes between users. WhatamIdoing 20:14, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't agree that Civility and Good Faith collaboration only apply on Wikipedia. I think they are pretty central to all the Wkimedia Projects.
While the TOU apply to all users all the time what I meant was that the Terms of use would only come into consideration when there is a problem and when problems happen I think the TOU should require users to work together to solve them. -- 00:41, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Collaboration and interaction with other users, on the other hand, is 100% optional, and if you aren't interacting with other people at all, then there is no possibility of your behavior being either civil or uncivil.
You cannot require volunteers to work together, because you cannot require volunteers to work at all. The most we can do is say that if you seriously misbehave, you'll get banned. WhatamIdoing 17:00, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
(ReUn-indenting.) Hi guys. I just wandered by here because I saw this page in RC, but while I'm here I will comment on the politeness and civility issue. Michaeldsuarez was right to quote me as he did, and I can imagine why he raises the issue: one person's incivility is another person's haste, or fatigue, or language barrier, and raising civility to the level of a requirement creates a risk that we will all drown in complaints about each other. But, I also agree with Filceolaire that incivility and intransigence do hurt the projects. I wonder if we could resolve this by just having the TOU *ask* people to be civil and polite. Truth be told, people are going to be rude to each other sometimes, and they will mostly be forgiven or ignored or reasoned with: we would likely never kick anybody out of the projects for simple rudeness. So I think asking might be sufficient, in terms of pointing the way to the kind of behaviour we'd (all) like to see in the projects. Geoff if this is inappropriate in a TOU, or if there are other arguments against it, feel free to ignore me :-)
Also I will say super-fast: this page is kind of great. I know some of the conversation has gotten a little heated, but I actually think this is a superb process. I'm glad everyone here has been participating, and I'm grateful to Geoff and the other staff here for stickhandling it and incorporating everybody's input. Thanks. Sue Gardner 02:36, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
What about "expects" as in "We expect you to work together in a civil etc. etc." I think we should also "ask" editors to assume good faith and to expect the same from other editorsFilceolaire 12:51, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
Because it isn't true. We actually expect, based on the data we have, that most users are non-editor readers who will never "work" at all, much less "together". WhatamIdoing 18:39, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
I ended up putting in the word "expect," so it now reads: We happily welcome your participation in this community, but we expect you to be civil and polite in your interactions with others in the community and to act in good faith and cooperate with others for the success of the shared Project. I think this works because we always articulate this expectation in the context involving "others," so civility is only expected when working with others. Let me know if this doesn't work. Geoffbrigham 21:42, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
"Expect" works for me, Geoff: thank you :-) If I were to be ridiculously nitpicky I would ask us to welcome people's participation AND expect civility and politeness rather than BUT expecting it. It just feels warmer and more positive. But I am definitely absurdly bike-shedding at this point, so I will stop :-) Sue Gardner 18:57, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Done. I assume others are fine with this, but, if not, let me know. Geoffbrigham 23:58, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
The trouble with a term like "politeness" is that some users tend to confuse anything they do not like hearing -including true facts- with 'impoliteness' or 'insult'. In their hands a politeness requirement easily degrades into an instrument of sheer censorship. Another group of users simply ignore anything explained to them in a polite manner -this is why many talk pages go unanswered-, until they are somehow confronted with the fact that there is really a problem. They then typically consider that impolite, but yes it occasionally is the only way to get through to them to be blunt about the problem. Of course "expecting" civility and politeness" is open to many shades of gray in its interpretation, but these situations do need to be taken into account IMO. Jcwf 18:17, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Jcwf, you make good and reasonable points, and I get what you are saying. I would be more concerned if we "mandated" politeness, but we are only "expecting" it from both sides of a debate. You are correct in saying that there is ambiguity in the provision, which will be interpreted according to the specific situation. Hopefully, in understanding what politeness means in a specific context, people will rely on common sense (and assume good faith). That said, the phrase does set the expectations and the environment we seek, which will be helpful as newbies and others try to understand our site and our rules of engagement. I would leave the language in, realizing that it is only an "expectation" and that the issues you raise are completely valid. Geoffbrigham 16:41, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. Mdennis (WMF) 20:56, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

A few new thoughts

Geoff and team, I'm glad to see most of my earlier concerns resolved! In several cases, I was especially gratified to see elegant solutions that hadn't occurred to me.

I've spotted just a few others that have arisen due to the changes:

Yes check.svg Done §4: Knowingly accessing, tampering with, or using any of our non-public areas in our computer systems.

If this document applies to all users, that would include functionaries like admins, OTRS volunteers, and checkusers, who routinely look at/edit things that are not publicly viewable. I think "without authorization" needs to be added to this bullet point as well.
Good point. Change is made. Geoffbrigham 13:17, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done §6: I think this is just a typo; the final link should be [1] instead of [2] (which redirects to a section of the former).

Done. Thanks. Geoffbrigham 13:17, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Half tick.jpg Half-done/On trial §8: I still think a little bit of guiding language of how to find the copyrights violation page on another project might be helpful. I'm aware there may not be any fully sufficient language, but another sentence (for instance, suggesting that one ask at the central discussion page, or search for the term "copyright" in the local language) would be helpful, and might mitigate any perception that we are overly preoccupied with English Wikipedia. I'm happy to let this one drop, though, if you don't see any effective way to get at it.

I see the point, but I can't find the solution. I have looked at non-English sites for consistency, but I can't find it. It may be my own failings here, so, if someone can suggest useful language which does not confuse the situation, I'm open to it. Geoffbrigham 13:17, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
In each translated version, you could add a link to the relevant page on that language's Wikipedia (i.e.,'s for the German translation of the TOS). That's still very encyclopedia-centric, but it's better than linking for all options. WhatamIdoing 20:23, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
We could just put the info-<lang> OTRS address and say that on-wiki solutions are always available (specific request page, general request page, village pump...). Otherwise, w:en:Wikipedia:Copyright problems at least has more interwikis. Nemo 11:25, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Good points. From the interwiki links you mention, Nemo, I have generated a page here on meta: Copyright problems Thus far, I have included all the relevant Wikipedia and Wikisource pages that were linked via interwikis from the English language editions of those two projects. It seems relatively straightforward to add similar tables for all the Wikimedia projects. I would recommend linking to Copyright problems from this section of Terms of use. Even if incomplete, it will be vastly more useful than a single example from enwp. -Pete F 18:29, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm noticing that some projects (like Wikinews and Wikiversity) Don't seem to have pages for listings; rather, they just use templates. Commons is more or less in that camp too. (I've added some items from each of these projects to Copyright problems.) This might suggest further rewording of this item. -Pete F 22:00, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
I will need your help to solve this. After thinking about this more, I have modified the TOS to explain simply that DMCA reports may be made through the legal email address (without mention of informal channels). It is important that we provide an email address where the DMCA report is delivered directly to the legal department, allowing us to respond quickly as required by the statute. We could include another short paragraph afterwards to explain more informal ways of working with the community on copyright issues (as opposed to filing a formal DMCA report), but, in light of this discussion, I would appreciate someone providing some suggested language that I could insert and that would make sense to the community along those lines. Thanks. Geoffbrigham 21:18, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
Okay, here is some suggested text, based loosely on what you had before:
Our volunteer community seeks to accommodate reasonable requests as part of its normal operation. In most cases, a project's ordinary process is the fastest, most effective option for the removal of improperly published material under copyright. If you find that such material is included on a Wikimedia project, you are advised to first post a notice according to that project's conventions, seeking the intervention of our good faith volunteers, who are generally diligent about adhering to copyright law. For an extensive (but not exhaustive) list of the relevant process for each of our projects, see . (You may also try our volunteer-operated email support system, by mailing

If you do not find these processes satisfactory, you may request that the content be removed under the DMCA. To make such a request, please email our designated agent at, or mail a request to this listed address.
(Note: The second paragraph is mostly copied from the existing text. I'm not sure what "this listed address" refers to; you may want to edit that, regardless of what you think of my additions.)
-Pete F 02:17, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done §10: Third sentence needs some grammatical help (looks like the victim of a copy-paste that didn't quite get resolved).

Yep. I think I corrected it. Thanks. Geoffbrigham 13:17, 15 October 2011 (UTC)


Half tick.jpg Half-done/On trial Formatting detail: bullets, (a/b/c), (i/ii/iii) and so forth -- my earlier suggestion had a small inaccuracy, and there is some general cleanup to be done here. With Geoff's permission, I would be happy to simply make the appropriate edits to make the bullets cleaner. (As an admin, I have the technical ability to edit the page, but it seems unwise without Geoff's explicit agreement.)

Yes check.svg Done Section numbering: If you look at the table of contents, you'll notice that there is some automatic numbering going on that is a single unit off from the intended numbering scheme. One way to straighten this out would be to include the "Overview" above the table of contents, by simply bolding the title Overview instead of making it a proper section heading. (See above, I'm happy to address this one too.)

-Pete F 00:34, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Great. Go for it Pete! I appreciate your making the changes. Geoffbrigham 12:58, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
OK, thanks. I made two edits which I think resolve both edits as well as possible. There is a minor issue with duplicate section numbering in the Table of Contents; it's not a huge issue, but I believe it is reflects a small shortcoming in the MediaWiki software, so I filed a bug about that. Hopefully that issue will be addressed in a way that permits a slight formatting improvement in the future. -Pete F 18:34, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Note: there are some (relatively minor) spacing issues remaining. Hopefully somebody with better wiki skills can put the finishing touches on. -Pete F 18:29, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Hi, Pete. Can you be specific about the spacing issues? I'm not sure where you mean. :) I can try to find somebody who can polish it if I can spotlight the problem. --Mdennis (WMF) 13:25, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Hi Maggie, that's really more Steven's issue than mine, you could look at our mini "edit war" from a couple days ago and/or check with him. Essentially, there is room for improvement in the relative amount of line spacing within a bulleted item, and between bulleted items, in §7. I think it's only as important as you guys determine..probably not the most pressing issue :) -Pete F 17:16, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I agree it's not a big deal, just futzing. I think it's important to use the right markup in numbering the document, and the spacing thing is just me being anal. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 17:59, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. Mdennis (WMF) 16:37, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Pete contacts me to tell me that the suggested text for change is still awaiting reply. I am reproducing it here to make further progress on the conversation simpler. It can be seen in context within the collapse box above. --Mdennis (WMF) 16:51, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Okay, here is some suggested text, based loosely on what you had before:
Our volunteer community seeks to accommodate reasonable requests as part of its normal operation. In most cases, a project's ordinary process is the fastest, most effective option for the removal of improperly published material under copyright. If you find that such material is included on a Wikimedia project, you are advised to first post a notice according to that project's conventions, seeking the intervention of our good faith volunteers, who are generally diligent about adhering to copyright law. For an extensive (but not exhaustive) list of the relevant process for each of our projects, see . (You may also try our volunteer-operated email support system, by mailing

If you do not find these processes satisfactory, you may request that the content be removed under the DMCA. To make such a request, please email our designated agent at, or mail a request to this listed address.
(Note: The second paragraph is mostly copied from the existing text. I'm not sure what "this listed address" refers to; you may want to edit that, regardless of what you think of my additions.)
-Pete F 02:17, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

Many thanks for this Pete. I appreciate your taking the time and providing a nice draft. I have massaged the language a bit and fixed the link to which you refer. The new language now reads:

If you are the owner of content that is being improperly used on one of the Projects without your permission, you may request that the content be removed under the DMCA. To make such a request, please email our designated agent at legal at, or mail a request to this address [LINK].
Alternatively, you may make a request to our community, which often handles copyright issues faster and more effectively than prescribed under the DMCA. In that case, you can post a notice explaining your copyright concerns. For a non-exhaustive and non-authoritative list of the relevant processes for each of the Projects, look here [LINK]. Before filing a DMCA claim, you also have the option of sending an email to the community at info at

Geoffbrigham 17:38, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

That looks great, thanks! -Pete F 17:28, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. Mdennis (WMF) 16:31, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

The WMF must pay professional translators to provide translations in four or five languages

In Talk:Terms of use/Archives/2011-10-11#Modifications to this Agreement: internationalization I proposed that the 30 day period should start running only after translations of the draft have been completed in the languages of the major Wikimedia projects or the core languages as defined by Communications subcommittees/Trans/core langs .

At 19:24, 8 October 2011 (UTC), user:Geoffbrigham said I added the following: "If substantial future revisions are substantial, we will provide an additional 30 days to allow for translations." Hopefully this addresses your concerns. diff

No it does not. Giving 30 days to Non-English readers while giving 60 days to English readers would be unfair. The English version should remain undisclosed as long as the translations are not ready. But this is not the biggest problem. As we can see right now, a translation was started in Spanish on 28 October, but it is not yet finished. Hardly more than a stub, started on 27 October, exists in French and there is almost nothing in Japanese. We are having a full translation only in German, which was started and almost finished on the same day on 28 October. Even if we consider only this German translation and forget all other languages, this is evidence that an "additional 30 days to allow for translations" is not, has not been, enough. The non-English-speaking German users are not being provided 30 days to understand the new terms and express their views, as the same user:Geoffbrigham also said above at 12:56, 15 October 2011 in #Clarity of schedule : I'm now aiming to finalize about the first week of November, unless I hear differently from the Community diff.
Paying professional translators is perhaps the only effective way to ensure that a significant number of non-English-speaking users have access to the talk in a timely manner, and to ensure the quality of the translation. Translating legal terms requires high translating skills and a legal education background.
I suggest
A) to add some language stating that the WMF will provide professional level translations in at least four languages from the beginning of the 30 day period.
B) That the WMF starts finding translators for French, Spanish and Japanese for the current draft, and that we have a new fresh 30 day period start running again after those translations are provided.
I guess this should take us to the beginning of 2012. Teofilo 12:37, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
+1. The general problem of nearly all discussions and decissions on the meta is the huge majorizing and dominating by English speaking users. Please do not argue, that everybody can take part in the talks here and if not, it is his problem. I do not mean this. But first, non-English-speaking users must find the way to English-speaking Meta; secondly, many en-users here do not recognize that a bit more simple language would enable the understanding of non-English users (in every discussion you can find hundreds of abbreviations you know probably from enWiki, but in many cases I do not know what you are speaking about - and the interest to take part on the talk decreases a lot). I realy think that users from other projects have a huge language handicap. -jkb- 13:00, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
All that might be true, but you need to realize that as soon as you start using wikimedia, you agree to the English language TOU; no other version has any value or legal merit. Seb az86556 14:29, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Sure I accept it and it would be stupid no to; but the users here should know about this and they should try to write in not complicated sentences (I registered 7 and half yers ago here and I know quite a lot users, who denny to participate on discussions here because the do not understand what's going on); more over, as demanded obove by Teofilo, the period for the discussion of important questions should be long enough, and such discussions schould be clearly announced not only here but in all projects (doesn't happen every time). -jkb- 18:40, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
jkb -- I understand and appreciate your point. I'm curious -- do you consider the Wikimedia Announcements email list (where this process was initially announced) sufficient notice to the movement as a whole? If not, what would you advise? -Pete F 20:02, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
I want to ensure that we hear the international voices and appreciate the ongoing efforts to translate the user agreement. I think with this first draft, it would have been hard to provide professional translations from the start because the original draft was constantly changing as the community set forth excellent ideas for changes. Given that we have a version that is closer to the final, the ongoing translations make sense now in my eyes. Given the above feedback, I will keep discussions open until at least the first week of December, depending on how fast the translations can get done. I want to personally thank all the non-native English speakers for their patience and willingness to work in English as they have.
I think the point about translations is fair. We don't have large budgets, so I prefer to rely on our existing community translation services (who do a great job). That said, maybe as a compromise, we could require in the agreement that the closing date for discussion would be 30 days after the delivery of translations in English, German, French and Japanese. Does that make sense? Geoffbrigham 02:09, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Geoff, a good suggestion; but I'm not sure if those are the right languages to pick. English, French, and German are all Western languages, and I believe there's a great deal of crossover among the speakers of those languages; that is, I think it's more likely a native French speaker would be able to participate in English than, say, a native Russian speaker. Given Wikimedia's current strategic priorities, I think there's a good case to be made for prioritizing Portuguese and Arabic translations. It almost might be worthwhile to distribute prioritized translations according to language family. There's probably a lot of research on the strategy wiki that could help find the right mix. -Pete F 02:17, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
(@ Pete F 20:02, 1 November 2011 UTC) I think there are different levels of significance and importance of innovations, which are prepared and organized on Meta. On the one hand, there are the matters of the Language Committee, Grants, or problems of the servers, on the other hand then new licenses, steward elections, or - as now - the image filters. The mentioned e-mail list is even in the first case not useful, because it is largely unknown. It is the question of the perception of the Meta (and WMF) in the projects, and this is currently not very good.
In important cases you need something else. Yes, a site notice is good, but the users don't like it and hide it. The chapters and communities must be addressed and informed directly so that these announcements can be posted (and discussed) on central places such as Village pump, Forum etc. This, and the translations in some few major languages​​ could prevent that WMF is suddenly confronted with a resistor.
However, I want to note one thing: The resistance in the deWP against the image filter has completely different reasons - the German community has been informed about it and the community had even a polling on the question. The problem here is that a project (i.e. deWP) is forced to accept something against his will and decision - and that's a novelty. But this problem must be solved not by the deWP but by the WMF and board. Regards -jkb- 10:21, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think this is a solvable problem. Among the problems:
  • Let's say that the WMF provides perfect translations—and then Geoff changes something. Then all of the translations are "wrong". There were an average of five edits per day to this document during October.
  • We say four languages—but nobody can agree on which languages, so we decide according to discussion... which is dominated by people who already speak English fairly well and who thus don't need the translations nearly as much as the people who can't join this discussion.
  • We pick four languages—and ten years from now, as the Internet spreads, we need a different four, and whichever language group is no longer on the list will be mad. (Probably the Germans, by the way, because their language is only the 10th or 12th most spoken language in the world, and so many Germans also speak English. Mandarin, Russian and Arabic are likely to displace German before long.)
I honestly don't think that a good, practical solution is available. In fact, I wouldn't even bother with promising any time period for translations, because I'm not convinced that it will actually help in practice. If we truly need to make a change for some reason, then we should be free to do so, and if we don't, then the discussion and time for translations can be as long as we want. WhatamIdoing 18:16, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
If this is the answer to the concern that some projects are lagging behind and need help, so OK, that was clear and direct answer. You continue as before, no reflection, no matter what others complain about. Thaks. -jkb- 18:26, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
jkb, don't worry :) It looks to me like Geoff has heard your concerns, and he is really the one in a position to do something about it. While WhatamIdoing is correct in identifying the design challenges of having layered translation on a changing document, I think her conclusion that improvement is impossible is premature. Geoff's suggestion that an initial phase be conducted all in English, followed by a period with some translations once the document has begun to stabilize, seems appropriate. What's more, the translation tool is designed to highlight text that becomes outdated by changes to the original; for anyone who hasn't looked at one of the translated pages, I suggest you do so. German is a good example (even if you don't speak German); the page is completely translated, but a few sentences are automatically highlighted in pink. Those sentences are directly linked to a diff in the English version when you click into translate mode, allowing a translator to quickly see what portion of the text changed. Anyway, there is room to address these concerns; it will take a careful combination of project management and technological innovation, but I think the important components are already in place. -Pete F 18:48, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I do not say that improvement is not possible, nor even that improvement is not desirable. I say that no matter what you do to improve matters, someone is going to be extremely unhappy with what happens, and what constitutes "an improvement" today may be seen as a bad decision tomorrow.
Consequently, I would not codify any specific approach, but let the process develop freely over time, so that whatever we do five years from now responds to the actual situation we're in five years from now. WhatamIdoing 17:04, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, WhatamIdoing, I see your point now. I guess I see it like this: the issues raised in this section are basically reasonable concerns, but contain some unreasonable elements (e.g. that non-English speaking users must get a day-for-day identical length of time to review documents). But I still think there's a reasonable and useful core to what Teofilo and jkb are bringing up. I think Geoff's approach makes sense; you're right, it isn't a guarantee that nobody will complain. And I think a little more consideration ought to go into which languages are chosen, ideally according to the research conducted in our strategic planning process, and the strategic goals that came out of it. But I think the basic idea is good: (1) take care of the first, stormy round all in English (2) pay for a few high-quality, timely translations, and let the 30 day period begin at that time. I don't think anything needs to be "codified," but I think if Geoff follows that practice things will be pretty good! -Pete F 18:48, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Also, an observation: I don't speak German, but I just did a rough Google translate of the German discussion. It's hard to follow, but it appears that the two users talking there are getting hung up on the very issues under discussion here. I think this strongly supports the notion of providing some high-quality, professional translations into major languages during the review period. I think especially for such a technical document, it's likely that technical terms will be poorly translated by volunteers, leading to further confusion. (For instance, the German talk page shows some confusion around terms like "contributor" and "employee".) -Pete F 20:54, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Hallo Peteforsyth, just by chance and to my surprise I see that Google-translates of what I said elsewhere are discussed here. If you need any English translation of something in this wiki posted in German by me, or in a conversation were I participate, you are invited to ask me personally, please tell me here, or please notify me on User talk:Rosenkohl or by wiki-e-mail. Also I'm not sure if languages other than English should be avoided on talk pages of this wiki, if this is the case I will avoid using German in the future.

I did never claim that Terms of use/de is a translation of a particular high or literal quality. Actually, a German translation of the English draft has been proposed since September 11 2011:

"A discussion of the entire Terms of use on the German Wikipedia, including a good translation into the German, but foremost a vivid participation on Talk:Terms of use I do consider meritorious, to not the least possibly still change or prevent something." "Sowohl eine Diskussion der gesammten Nutzungsbedingungen innerhalb der deutschsprachigen Wikipedia, einschließlich einer guten Übersetzung ins Deutsche, vor allem aber auch eine rege Beteiligung auf Talk:Terms of use halte ich für verdienstvoll, nicht zuletzt um möglicherweise noch etwas zu ändern und zu verhindern."

Of course we editors do grant this translation free of charge, and in this sense of the word it is not "professional". I can't judge about myself, but most of the other German speakers who have edited the translation so far I recognize from de.wikipedia, and they all have an excellent command of the German language and besides they are experienced writers of Wikipedia-articles in German. Till now, noone has pointed out any gross error in the translation, or that any important technical term has been translated poorly.

Of course, on wikimedia projects users try to collaborate, and in the case of differing opinions, they use the talk page for discussions. If you think that this wiki-principle is too "confusing" in the case of this German translation, and should not be applied, please let me know directly. In this case I will stop editing there, and it will probably be the best to protect Terms of use/de from writing for non-employed contributors.

--Rosenkohl 13:50, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Rosenkohl, I think you should continue translating. Perhaps someday, the WMF will hire professional translators, and then someday we might follow different rules. However, now, today, there are no professional translators. Everyone needs you and the other editors to continue your very helpful translation work. WhatamIdoing 17:49, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
+1 -- I very much agree! Please continue. It is possible -- or actually, probable -- that I misunderstood what I read in the automated translation of the German discussion. If my comments about it were unhelpful, please ignore them -- I was simply trying to make sense of what I saw, and maybe failing badly to do so. The bottom line, I think, is that having more people from more language backgrounds is highly desirable; so please keep approaching this in whatever way is working best for you. -Pete F 18:29, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
So here are some things I think about: (1) I agree that we should not favor exclusively Western languages; (2) I agree that the relevant languages may change with time but that will be hard to predict; (3) I feel there should be some commitment to translate; (4) professional translations may be too expensive so I prefer to avoid that level of commitment; (5) most proposed revisions will be short in length, eliminating some of the worst logistical nightmares in most cases; and (6) no system will be perfect no matter how much wordsmithing we engage in. So, with that in mind, I propose the following:
Delete this language in Section 16: Therefore, we will provide this Agreement, as well as any substantial future revisions of this Agreement, to the community for comment at least thirty (30) days before it goes into effect. If future revisions are substantial, we will provide an additional 30 days to allow for translations.
Substitute this language for the above: Therefore, we will provide this Agreement, as well as any substantial future revisions of this Agreement, to the community for comment at least thirty (30) days before the end of the comment period. If a future proposed revision is substantial, we will provide an additional 30 days for comments after posting a translation of the proposed revision in at least German, French, and Arabic. The community will be encouraged to translate the proposed revision in other languages as appropriate.

The above solution is not perfect but workable in my opinion. This proposal makes clear that there must be at least a 30-day comment period following the posting of the translations. (It also clarifies that there should be at least 30 days before the end of the comment period (as opposed to the effective date)). As Pete points out, we could do a deeper analysis on what languages are appropriate, but, in the end, those languages will vary over time. This proposal allows for professional translations, but does not commit to them. I include Arabic because it steps away from a Western bias and comports with at least one of our global initiatives. I don't feel comfortable committing to more than three additional languages for logistical reasons. However, as said above, I would expect most proposed revisions to be relatively short in length, so I believe the community will be able to post translations in other languages without too much trouble (most of the time). I have made the changes in the proposed TOS, but I'm open to reconsider if there is strong opposition. Many thanks for the thoughtful discussion on this topic: it was most helpful. Geoffbrigham 13:48, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Unless you enjoy repeatedly revising the terms as conditions change over time, I strongly suggest saying only "at least three other languages" and not promising that it will be any particular three. WhatamIdoing 17:00, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I agree with WhatamIdoing. I do think it's valuable for you to announce clearly, in advance, what the three languages will be; but "codifying" them into the TOU themselves doesn't seem necessary. -Pete F 17:09, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
You're right. I'm making the change. Geoffbrigham 12:49, 9 November 2011 (UTC)


This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. Mdennis (WMF) 20:58, 14 November 2011 (UTC) Sorry for the time lag, but this is crucial. A translation in only three languages is not enough. It has to be a translation into 5 at least: Chinese, Spain, French, German, Arab. And if the community does not translate it in one day (24 hours), it has to be paid. -- 10:08, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Where is the WMF's commitment to respect the licensing terms ?

Why does not the Terms of use#Licensing of Content section include the slightest hint that the WMF sees itself as one of the licensees and intends to respect the licensing terms ? Teofilo 13:06, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Teofilo, isn't WMF bound by the terms through the licensing agreement itself? I'm not sure if we need to reiterate that requirement in the TOS. I don't believe we do so in the present terms of use. But I'm open to ideas if you have some rough language you would like us to consider. BTW, many thanks for all your useful comments. Geoffbrigham 02:17, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. Mdennis (WMF) 16:25, 14 November 2011 (UTC)


"any user that" -> "any user who" -- Jtneill - Talk 11:36, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

See User:WhatamIdoing#That.2C_which.2C_and_who. The use of that is grammatically correct, and is common in formal writing, e.g., "He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression." WhatamIdoing 20:16, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Sometimes I said "user who," and one time I said "user that." For consistency I changed the latter to the former. I only found that one example of the inconsistency. If you see others, feel free to let me know. Geoffbrigham 20:24, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. Mdennis (WMF) 21:07, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Contributor-centered multijuralism - Implementation of the antimultijuralistic Disputes and Jurisdiction section ?

Is the WMF board aware that the Disputes and Jurisdiction section is burying the grave of the multijuralistic and contributor-friendly contributor-centered approach of the Creative Commons 2.5 and 3.0 licenses ? (For example "The construction, validity and performance of this Licence shall be governed by the laws in force in Canada and, where applicable, those of the province in which the Licensor normally resides." : 8-g of ; "The construction, validity and performance of this Licence shall be governed by the laws in force in the Australian Capital Territory, Australia." 13 of .

How is the WMF board going to implement the Disputes and Jurisdiction section ? Are the localized CC 2.5 and 3.0 licenses going to be banned ?

While the Creative Commons blog encourages the contributor-centered approach isn't there a rift opening between the WMF and the Creative Commons Corporation ?

Teofilo 14:11, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Teofilo, thanks for your comments, though I think I need to understand them a bit better. Now our present user agreement refers to the unported version of CC BY SA 3.0, which I don't believe has a jurisdiction provision. Are you concerned about compatible licenses, which are allowed through importation of text, for example? Can you give me some examples where ported CC licenses have been used on the projects? I believe we can add a provision that eliminates your concern, but I want to be sure I understand it first. Thanks. Geoffbrigham 01:50, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
A lot of images are tagged that way. Text (AFAIK) never. Seb az86556 03:10, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
This is a really helpful discussion, proving once again that collaboration results in a better product. Thanks, Teofilo, Seb az and others! So our intention is not to supersede or modify applicable free licenses. The scenario that you raise, Teofilo, would be a dispute between a contributor and WMF where the claim alleges that WMF is not respecting the license. There, I believe the court would be inclined to apply the terms of the free license (not the TOS). I need to think about this more, but to get the conversation going, we could include a general provision that says something like this: Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in this Agreement, we (WMF) and you do not intend to modify the applicable terms and requirements of any free license that is employed on the Projects when such free license is authorized by this Agreement. Now the language may need some massaging, but this is the idea. Does this work? Geoffbrigham 16:15, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Hearing no objections, I have made this change, inserting the proposed language in Section 17 (Other Terms). Thanks all. Geoffbrigham 20:50, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. Mdennis (WMF) 21:03, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Data-mining reuse

Would it be worth making the allowance of data-mining by automated processes an explicit allowed reuse? The key contradictory statement in the current terms may be the restrictions on attribution which might not be possible depending on how transient text is analysed. For example a geodata graphic may use 100,000 Wikipedia articles to generate and the end result would have no meaningful attribution to the original contributors. Thanks -- 14:22, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

IMO the only thing really worth saying about automated processes is that if they slam the server, we're going to block them.
Attribution is required by the licenses, not by the TOU. Changing this document doesn't change the GFDL and CC-BY-SA requirements. WhatamIdoing 17:57, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
+1 to Whatamidoing's comments. Also, in the U.S. at least, the "BY" attribution doesn't supersede fair use, or the concept that facts are not subject to copyright. If a graphic reflects data from 100,000 articles, I think it would be up to the article contributors to prove that the use infringes on their copyright; and, from my non-lawyerly background, anyway, it seems like that would be a pretty hard thing to prove. -Pete F 18:03, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
That is my (layman) understanding of US law, however for projects in the future that may not be hosted on US based servers (such as the toolserver) the situation may not be so straightforward and our intention of encouraging use of Wikimedia project data for wide reuse, particularly for innovative research, may run into these issues where Fair Use is not recognized. -- 19:09, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I think this is a topical discussion as we look at the value and uses of data-mining. That said, we are required to follow the terms of the free licenses at issue (which are not only CC BY SA 3.0 licenses). My opinion is that we do not address data-mining as a reuse in the TOS (since we must accept the licenses as they are): in short, the licenses - not the TOS - will determine whether reuse is possible. That said, Fae raises an important issue: in any data-mining, we are required to adhere to the terms of the licenses and attribution, and we should find consistent ways to do it in a reasonable and correct fashion. My only suggestion is that we have that discussion in a context other than the TOS. Geoffbrigham 15:51, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. Mdennis (WMF) 21:10, 14 November 2011 (UTC)


I just noticed today that when pages are displayed on the new Wikipedia Mobile site there is no link to the History page. I think this means we are in breach of the "Attribution" requirement of the CC-BY-SA license.

Even on the normal site there is nothing to tell people that contributors are listed on the View history tab. Should we ammend the footer to read:

The copyright to the text is owned by the contributors listed on the
History page and is made available under the
Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License; additional terms may apply.
See Terms of Use for details.

--Filceolaire 20:15, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, Filceolaire - I've passed this along to Geoff to get his opinion, and copied in Tomasz, WMF's Director of Mobile. Philippe (WMF) 16:06, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Filceolaire is right. The CC BY SA 3.0 license, for example, allows us to attribute "reasonable to the medium or means" that we are employing (sec. 4(c)). That said, I have asked our legal and tech team to come up with improved language. I appreciate your spotting this. Geoffbrigham 20:30, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. Mdennis (WMF) 16:23, 14 November 2011 (UTC)


I think I've spotted some legalese. Rather than "the English version controls" may I suggest "the English version takes precedence". It might also be tactful to say something along the lines of "Whilst we hope the translations of this agreement into languages other than English are accurate, in the event of any differences between the meaning of this agreement and that of the translations, the English version takes precedence". WereSpielChequers 17:20, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks! I massaged your language a bit and made this change:
This Agreement was written in English (U.S.). While we hope that translations of this Agreement are accurate, in the event of any differences in meaning between the original English version and a translation, the original English version takes precedence.

Hopefully this addresses your concerns. Geoffbrigham 15:39, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks that's just fine. WereSpielChequers 00:42, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. Mdennis (WMF) 21:06, 14 November 2011 (UTC)