Talk:Terms of use/Archives/2011-12-29

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Warning! Please do not post any new comments on this page. This is a discussion archive first created on 29 December 2011, although the comments contained were likely posted before and after this date. See current discussion or the archives index.

Licensing[edit]

In section "7. Licensing of Content", now the sentence:

"(Re-users may comply with either license.)"

has been added. As far as I remember, "either" can have the meaning of "all of them" or the meaning of "one of them", depending on the context. So at least for me, this sentence in brackets is not a real clarification.

--Rosenkohl 13:26, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

"Either" in this context means that you have three choices:

  • comply with the GFDL,
  • comply with CC-BY-SA, or
  • comply with both. WhatamIdoing 15:36, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

Thanks Rosenkohl. I have reworded as follows: (Re-users may comply with either license or both.) Does that help? Geoffbrigham 17:09, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

Ok, now the content page has been changed into:

>>Re-users may comply with either license or both<<,

thank you Geoffbrigham. This is quite similar to the clause on the current http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Terms_of_use:

>>Re-users can choose the license(s) they wish to comply with.<<

However I now notice that in my opinion this is more than a language problem, since i don't understand how can be correct. At the moment, can't see from http://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=Terms_of_use&action=history where this old policy has been discussed before, and am not aware if is clause has been discussed on this page Talk:Terms of use or in the talk archives so far (I just did a quick full text search with "re-use" which gave me no sufficient result).

Suppose someone wants to re-use content which has been published on Wikimedia under GFDL or under CC BY-SA, or both. Both licences require that the re-user is complying with the particular license, that means that he publishes the re-used content under the particular license. That means, content which is under GFDL must be republished under GFDL, and content which is under CC BY-SA must be published under CC BY-SA.

But this clause "re-users can choose the license(s) they wish to comply with seems" (or: "re-users may comply with either license or both") seems to allow to choose one of these licences, and simply leave away the other, or even to re-use content which was first published on Wikimedia under one of these licences under the other license. This means that a re-user could take content published under GFDL on Wikimedia and re-publish it outside Wikimedia under CC BY-SA, or he could take content published under CC BY-SA on Wikimedia and re-publish it outside Wikimedia under GFDL. But this would violate the particular licences it seems.

--Rosenkohl 10:25, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

Rosenkohl, I greatly appreciate your close reading and feedback here. Under the present user agreement under the subtitle of "Information for text contributors to Wikimedia projects," we state:
Therefore, for any text you hold the copyright to, by submitting it, you agree to license it under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. For compatibility reasons, you are also required to license it under the GNU Free Documentation License (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts). Re-users can choose the license(s) they wish to comply with.
http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Terms_of_use
So I don't think we are doing anything new here. The text at issue in the proposed TOS says (Sec. 7(a)):
When you submit text to which you hold the copyright, you agree to license it under:
* Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (“CC BY-SA”), and
* GNU Free Documentation License (“GFDL”) (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts).
(Re-users may comply with either license or both.)'''
I believe it is clear from this language that, if someone licenses text under CC BY SA and GFDL, the subsequent re-use of that text may be under either CC BY SA or GFDL (or both). This provision on re-use only applies to text that is previously licensed under both licenses. Does this clarify things for you or am I missing something? Cheers. Geoffbrigham 22:49, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Hello Geoffbrigham, thanks for your patient answers. In fact, I'm not very familiar with licensing issues of Wikipedia, so am trying to read up now on old policy, talk or frequently asked question pages, some of which I can only find by using google or other full text searches.

a) I do understand that the new draft ("(Re-users may comply with either license or both") is taking a version of the the old statement ("Re-users can choose the license(s) they wish to comply with") from the hitherto Terms of Use, without changing the meaning of this statement. However, I'm not convinced that even the old Terms of User are not without any problem.

To my understanding, for the re-user, GFDL generally is (to some extenxt) more restricitive than CC BY-SA, e.g. since under GFDL the re-user has to fullfill more, or more difficult requirements, including attribution requirements.

Now the proposal says under "7. h. Re-Use":

"In addition, please be aware that text that originated from external sources and was imported into a Project may be under a license that attaches additional attribution requirements."

Suppose someone is reading this statement, who wants to take content which is on Wikimedia under both CC BY-SA and GFDL, and intends to republish it outside Wikimedia under CC BY-SA. Then they must believe, that GFDL is a kind of "license that attaches additional attribution requirements" (because GFDL is the more restrictive license). And consequently, they must think that the Terms of Use require them to publish the content under both licenses, CC BY-SA and GFDL. But I think this would be a misunderstanding, and seems to run against the original intention, why double licensing had been introduced into Wikimedia in 2008?!

I'm definitely welcome expert advice on this, because I believe you raise an interesting point Rosenkohl. Let me tell you what I think. I believe when a document is licensed under both CC BY SA and GFDL, there is not a requirement that you must relicense under both. See http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl-1.3-faq.html . With respect to your reuse, you can choose between which license you want to apply to the reuse. Section 7(h) does not refer to the situation where a work was previously licensed under both licenses; I believe it refers to other free licenses (Sec. 7(c)) that attached to the imported text, which are compatible with CC BY SA but which require attributions beyond those enumerated in Section 7(h). Again, if there is anybody who wants to help us figure this out, please chime in. Geoffbrigham 23:55, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

b) The old Terms of Use, and new proposal both contain the expression:

"* GNU Free Documentation License (“GFDL”) (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts)."

The four attributes in brackets "unversioned", "with no invariant sections", "front-cover texts", "back-cover texts" are not explained anywhere in the Wikimedia-Terms of Use. It is not clear to what these attributes are meant to apply, to the text of the contributed content, or to the text of the GFDL. The terms "invariant section", "front-cover text" and "back cover-texts" are explained to some extent on http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html, but there it is no mentioning and explanation of what "unversioned" means.

So it is not clear at all for the reader what is meant with this bracket "(unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts)" in the context of Wikimedia Terms of Use. Perhaps it could be helpfull to explain it in full sentences?

I'm open to hearing from better experts than I on this. I believe that "unversioned" embraces the present and future versions of the license, like "GFDL 1.3 and beyond." If someone has a link that explains this better, that would be great. Geoffbrigham 00:53, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
Wikimedia projects never included any front-cover text, back-cover text or invariant sections as the GFDL defined them, so we never addressed what they were--all of the text is considered the main body of the work. (If you know that the GFDL was developed initially for the GNU manuals, this makes more sense--basically, the only GFDL-licensed works that really used these sections are the GNU manuals.) My interpretation of "unversioned" is the same as Geoff's. Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 20:11, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

c) The old Terms of Use in their chapter "Information for re-users" are starting to advise their reader in the section "Re-use of text" to re-use Wikimedia content with CC BY-SA. Then, only in a kind of addendum, "Additional availability of text under the GNU Free Documentation License" is mentioned. But the explanation there of how to re-use under GFDL is not as extensive as the explanation of how to re-use under CC BY-SA.

However, in the new proposed Terms of Use, parts of the explanation of how to re-use under CC BY SA seem to have been transfered into the section "7. i. Modifications or additions to material that you re-use". Section 7. i. says:

"When modifying or making additions to text that you have obtained from Project website, you agree to license the modified or added content under CC BY-SA 3.0 or later (or, as explained above, another license when exceptionally required by the local Project or feature)."

But now this reads as if when you make modification or additions to material under the new Terms of Use, the section 7. i. would require you to apply CC BY-SA in any event, and doesn't allow to apply GFDL instead anylonger.

I don't understand this restriction, and it seems to violate the GFDL.

So when you reuse the original text, you may do so under CC BY SA or GFDL. But when you modify that text, you are limited to relicensing under CC BY SA. This is what the present terms of use says: "Each copy or modified version that you distribute must include a licensing notice stating that the work is released under CC-BY-SA . . . ." Geoffbrigham 00:53, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, that quote starts with: "each copy or modified version", so it does not distinguish between plain copys of an original text and a modification of the text. I think it follows from the context on http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Terms_of_use, that this quote means that if you want to re-use text under CC-BY-SA, then your distribution must include a licensing notice stating that the work is released under CC-BY-SA.
In fact, http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Terms_of_use also says: "For compatibility reasons, any page which does not incorporate text that is exclusively available under CC-BY-SA or a CC-BY-SA-compatible license is also available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License." But GFDL (of course) allows modifications, see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl-1.3.html, chapter 4.MODIFICATIONS. Obviously, the term "re-user" in "Re-users can choose the license(s) they wish to comply with" of the hitherto Terms of Use encompasses both ways of re-use, to make plain copys of a document or to make own modifications. I think any new proposed version of Wikimedia Terms of Use must avoid to prohibit re-users from publishing modified versions under GFDL of double-licensed texts from Wikimedia, which I think has been possible so far.
--Rosenkohl 20:41, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

--Rosenkohl 11:22, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Rosenkohl - you raise a number of good points. I would welcome experienced experts in GFDL and CC BY SA to read Section 7 and ensure we have it right. Many thanks. Geoffbrigham 00:53, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm not an expert but I remember the old discussions about this. I think that the point here is that re-users are not re-using content thanks to an agreement with the WMF: their "license agreement" is directly with the authors; the WMF requires a license but that's a license to the general public; the WMF gives only some information to re-users, i.e. that all text is (or should be) available under a certain license.
The key difference between GFDL and CC-BY-SA in Wikimedia projects is that GFDL is not mandatory any longer: if authors have provided text under GFDL, re-users can use it in compliance with the GFDL, but the WMF requires only the CC-BY-SA for text (in general), and that's the only license it can say to be always attached to the text. Still, this has to be properly worded, because the WMF is not promising or ensuring anything here, and if re-users include content that in the end is discovered to be under a different license or even a copyright violation (to be reverted or deleted on the wikis), that's their own risk. Nemo 15:03, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
I think it's probably best to remove the "Re-users can choose the license(s) they wish to comply with." sentence since not all content is GFDL licensed anymore. -- WOSlinker 23:21, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
@Nemo & WOSlinker. Appreciate your comments. Under the present user agreement, we are dual licensing. Specifically, the present user agreement says:
Therefore, for any text you hold the copyright to, by submitting it, you agree to license it under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. For compatibility reasons, you are also required to license it under the GNU Free Documentation License (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts). Re-users can choose the license(s) they wish to comply with.
Therefore, it makes sense that, in this limited context for reusers, we allow an election of license. The proposed TOS says nothing different:
Text to which you hold the copyright: When you submit text to which you hold the copyright, you agree to license it under:
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (“CC BY-SA”), and GNU Free Documentation License (“GFDL”) (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts).
(Re-users may comply with either license or both.)
So, for consistency, I would not recommend changing. Please let me know if I have this wrong.
Geoffbrigham 19:09, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Revoking[edit]

GNU Free Documentation License (unversioned) vs GFDL 1.2 or any later[edit]

There is a mistake in the Terms of Use: untill the licence update all Wikpedian text content got GDFL 1.2+ (see old English Wikipedia:Copyright and German de:Wikipedia:Lizenzbestimmungen/alt_GFDL) but in this draft it is GFDL (unversioned). GFDL 1.0 isn't compatible with GDFL 1.2+. Syrcro 06:38, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Thank you Syrcro for looking at this. It is important to note that we did not intend to change anything from the original terms of use with respect to licensing. Today, for example, we are saying in the present terms of use: "For compatibility reasons, you are also required to license it under the GNU Free Documentation License (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts)." Maybe somebody can explain to us what we meant when we referred to the "unversioned" GFDL license in the original terms of use. Geoffbrigham 15:03, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
It basically means "whatever appears on http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html", AFAIK: otherwise we would link http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl-1.2.html etc. This is explained by the GFDL itself: «If the Document does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation». Nemo 14:48, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
The Wikipedia did specify a version of the GNU Free Documentation License: GFDL 1.2. ~ 1.2 or any later version, not 1.0. The draft includes all versions. Syrcro 13:54, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
When was "1.2 or later version" specified? It isn't, in the current terms of use. Nemo 19:10, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
English WP: 2003-06-19; German WP 2004-04-03. Syrcro 09:21, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
@Syrcro. I see your citations to policy, which I find quite interesting. I guess I'm confused why the original terms of use did not specify version 1.2. And I'm a little concerned about changing the licensing terms from the original terms of use. Is there someone in the community who is a known expert on free licenses who could read this over (as well as Section 7) for us and give us a recommendation? I understand this domain well, but I would like to have someone who lives and breathes this stuff to advise us. Geoffbrigham 20:19, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. (Geoff found somebody to review the content to advise; acting according to that advice.) Maggie Dennis (WMF) 13:36, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

Terms of use/summary[edit]

The informal summary recommended by User:Dcoetzee has been drafted by the legal team and is now placed in the article. Please don't change the text of this summary directly, but discuss alterations here first. While it is not a legal document itself and alterations to it do not change the Terms of Use, it is meant to be an accurate summary of the document to avoid misleading contributors. --Mdennis (WMF) 13:45, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

My rewrite

This summary is not a part of the Terms of use and is not a legal document. It is simply a handy reference for understanding the full terms. Think of it as the user-friendly interface to the legal language of our Terms of use – You must still adhere to the Terms of use and policies for each project.
Part of mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to:

  • Empower and Engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content and either publish it under a free license or donate it to the public domain.
  • Disseminate this content effectively and globally, free of charge.
  • You are free to Read our articles and other media free of charge.
  • No Professional Advice – the content of articles and other projects is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.
  • You are free to Save or print our articles to read later
  • You are free to Share our articles with others, as many copies as you like, provided you give credit to the authors and let your readers share too.
  • No Harm – You do no harm our technology infrastructure

Contributors:

  • You are free to contribute content, photos, recordings you have created to be added to our projects.
  • You are free to edit the content contributed by others on our various sites or Projects.
  • Free Licenses - You agree to your contributions and edits being shared and reused and edited by others under the various Free and open source licenses used on our projects. This also applies to editted versions of our content which are not not posted on our sites.
  • Civility – You support a civil environment and do not harass other users
  • Responsibility – You take responsibility for your the accuracy and legality of your edits and contributions (since we only host your content).
  • Lawful and Proper Behavior – You do not violate copyright laws or engage in other inappropriate behavior.

Filceolaire 00:15, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Filceolaire - thanks for taking time to reflect on this and to propose concrete suggestions. I like many of your ideas, which I have incorporated below. I might suggest that the additional bullet points and their grouping in your version make it a tad harder to read, so I tried to incorporate some of your concepts a little more concisely. In my personal opinion, I like the original format since it roughly copies the Creative Commons format and breaks up the bullet points into three easier-to-read groups (but, of course, if I hear more community opposition I'm willing to modify the text and order with the understanding that I'm just wrong there). That said, as I said, there were a number of concepts in your proposal that I liked. Below is a rewrite based on your input (with my italics indicating the significant changes). Does this work for you?

This is a human-readable summary of the Terms of use.

Disclaimer

This summary is not a part of the Terms of use and is not a legal document. It is simply a handy reference for understanding the full terms. Think of it as the user-friendly interface to the legal language of our Terms of use.

Part of our mission is to:

  • Empower and Engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content and either publish it under a free license or donate it to the public domain.
  • Disseminate this content effectively and globally, free of charge.
    [Note from Geoff: I noticed that you deleted this summary of our mission, but I think it is useful, especially for new readers.]

You are free to:

  • Read and Print our articles and other media free of charge.
  • Share and Reuse our articles and other media under free and open licenses.
  • Contribute and Edit content and contribute photographs and images to our various sites or Projects

Under the following conditions:

  • Responsibility – You take responsibility for your edits (since we only host your content)
  • Civility – You support a civil environment and do not harass other users
  • Lawful and Proper Behavior – You do not violate copyright laws or engage in other inappropriate behavior.
  • No Harm – You do not harm our technology infrastructure
  • Terms of use – You adhere to the Terms of Use and to the policies for each project.
    [Note from Geoff: I noticed that you included this last point in the introductory text, but, in my humble opinion, I think it makes that text a little too heavy.]

With the understanding that:

  • You License Freely Your Contributions – you generally must license your contributions and edits to our sites or Projects under a free and open license (unless your contribution is in the public domain).
  • No Professional Advice – the content of articles and other projects is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.

Geoffbrigham 20:05, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

I think the expression "(since we only host your content)" should be emphasized as "(since we only host your content)" or make this clear otherwise. I first read the sentence with emphasis on "your" then on "content". All of them make sense but are not what we mean. --PaterMcFly 22:19, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
Made the change above. For now I simply followed your suggestion to put in italics. If there is a more eloquant way to express this right, I'm open to suggestions. Geoffbrigham 12:36, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Not hearing further objection, I will ask Maggie to modify as suggested above. Thanks all for your contributions, especially Filceolaire. Geoffbrigham 00:43, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Hey, you might want to take a closer look at the section you headed "Lawful and Proper Behavior": This could be easily construed as a requirement that Wikipedia be censored. I don't thank that's what you mean. - Lord Vargonius 22:28, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

A few nitpicks here. (I like this addition very much, by the way!)

  • I know what a free license is, but I'm not sure what a free and open license is. Are we inventing a new term here? Why not just "free license?"
  • The current text includes: "Contribute to and edit our various sites or Projects under free and open licenses." This is redundant of the later assertion that: "You freely license your contributions — you generally must license your edits and contributions to our sites or Projects under a free and open license (unless your contribution is in the public domain)." I think the first line should be shortened to simply: "Contribute to and edit our various sites or Projects"
  • This line seems strange to me: "Lawful and proper behavior — You do not violate copyright laws or engage in other inappropriate behavior." "Inappropriate" seems (at least mostly) covered by the previous bullet point. As for the law, copyright is one of several kinds of law that constrain behavior. This item could maybe be changed to "Intellectual property" or else it could be written more broadly as "The law", mentioning other legal aspects. I'm not sure what the best solution is, but it seems problematic as written.

-Pete F 01:59, 16 December 2011 (UTC)


OK - In light of the above feedback, here is my proposal (which I will ask Maggie to incorporate):

This is a human-readable summary of the Terms of use.

Disclaimer

This summary is not a part of the Terms of use and is not a legal document. It is simply a handy reference for understanding the full terms. Think of it as the user-friendly interface to the legal language of our Terms of use.

Part of our mission is to:

  • Empower and Engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content and either publish it under a free license or donate it to the public domain.
  • Disseminate this content effectively and globally, free of charge.

You are free to:

  • Read and Print our articles and other media free of charge.
  • Share and Reuse our articles and other media under free licenses.
  • Contribute to and Edit our various sites or Projects.

Under the following conditions:

  • Responsibility – You take responsibility for your edits (since we only host your content)
  • Civility – You support a civil environment and do not harass other users
  • Lawful Behavior – You do not violate copyright or other laws.
  • No Harm – You must not harm our technology infrastructure
  • Terms of use – You adhere to the Terms of use and to the policies for each project.

With the understanding that:

  • You License Freely Your Contributions – you generally must license your contributions and edits to our sites or Projects under a free and open license (unless your contribution is in the public domain).
  • No Professional Advice – the content of articles and other projects is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.

Geoffbrigham 22:18, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

   Any reader with a bio-brain should be offended by
human-readable
"This is a human-readable summary..." may seem user-friendly, but the ridiculous implicit distinction between "human" and attorney (i.e., human and super-human -- or is the insinuation human and shark?) is a bad joke and too close to "this summary is here because too many stupid assertions and questions have been imposed on the discussion by those who obviously are incapable of making any meaningful use of the proposed ToU". I agree the summary is useful, but it would be better to trash it completely than to leave that (or any) ironic language in it.
   How about
The contents of this box summarizes, while minimizing use of legal terms of art, ...
-- hmm, or perhaps
...the technical language of judges and attorneys...
(I leave out legislators, since they either are attorneys, or hire attorneys to draft laws -- or both.)
--Jerzyt 04:30, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
@Jerzy.  :) I understand where you are coming from, but the previous discussion indicated that we wanted to follow the format of Creative Commons summary sheet. I like that since it is a format with which the community is familiar for complicated legal documents.
On another note, I would center the phrase: This is a human-readable summary of the Terms of Use. Also I would not put the word "Disclaimer" in bold, and I woud put the below language in a smaller font (all being centered):
This summary is not a part of the Terms of Use and is not a legal document. It is simply a handy reference for understanding the full terms. Think of it as the user-friendly interface to the legal language of our Terms of Use.
Unless there is strong objection, I will ask Maggie to make those changes. Geoffbrigham 18:24, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Geoff, you have addressed my concerns nicely, thanks. I do have a small additional concern -- sorry I didn't catch this before! This draft uses the phrase "donate…to the public domain". I notice that Creative Commons uses the term dedicate instead of donate. Might want to follow suit for the sake of simplicity/consistency? -Pete F 19:53, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
@Pete. Fine with me. I will ask Maggie to make the change. I will also ask her to make my suggested changes as set out above since I have heard no objections. Happy holidays all. Geoffbrigham 17:37, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

This section has been reviewed. If there are new issues or outstanding concerns related to this, please start a new conversation. Maggie Dennis (WMF) 13:14, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

Password security and user accounts[edit]

I think a note here that storing password via a cookie. Something that addresses the auto-login option. IE, you are responsible for any action taken for an official account while you are logged in regardless of who is using the account.Jinnai 17:20, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

I personally agree with you Jinnai, but this point was previously discussed, and the consensus was to avoid mention of collateral responsibility. For that reason, I intend to leave this provision as is. Thanks for your comment. Geoffbrigham 21:41, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Mention to WMF-chapter relationship[edit]

Quite a few people seem to mistakenly assume that the services of Wikimedia websites in a local area are operated by the local chapter there (if one exists). As related concerns have been noted, such misunderstandings can cause some extra costs to both WMF and chapters. Would it be possible to insert a short line saying something like this?

The Foundation have cooperating organizations known as local Wikimedia chapters, who are dedicated to supporting the Wikimedia movement in a certain area or country. However, a local chapter is not part of the Foundation; The Foundation, not a local chapter, is responsible for operating the Wikimedia project sites, in any area you may live in.

You might also want to (re-)assure that a user is not making an agreement with local chapters in the scope of this Terms of use. --whym 03:01, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Interesting idea. I orginally did not like it, but the more I think about it, the more it grows on me. I would like to hear the ideas of others, but, if we do this, maybe we could use text like this (building off your proposal, Whym):
For clarity, other organizations, such as chapters and other local associations, that may share in the same mission are nevertheless legally independent and separate from the Wikimedia Foundation and have no responsibility for the operations of the website or its content.
What do you think of that? Geoffbrigham 19:06, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
I like it, Geoff. I agree that whym brings up a good point here; exclusively talking about WMF and individual users/volunteers would provide no insight whatsoever into the role of chapters, and as a document that is meant to inform the user, that doesn't seem ideal. Your proposed text seems like a good way to address this. I would suggest explicitly saying Wikimedia local chapters instead of merely chapters though. -Pete F 20:03, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Geoff, thank you for your refinement, it looks better to me. Another suggestion, in addition to what Pete F suggested, would be to replace the linked URL with http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Chapters/en, which is considered to be more formal and stable. --whym 12:00, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Ok. Thanks. So this is what I will insert now:
For clarity, other organizations, such as local Wikimedia chapters and associations, that may share in the same mission are nevertheless legally independent and separate from the Wikimedia Foundation and have no responsibility for the operations of the website or its content.
Thanks for the suggestions. Geoffbrigham 21:47, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Port scanning by Wikipedia admins looking for open proxies etc.[edit]

This is probably just as illegal as the probing of WMF servers, yet they are conducted all the time by higher-up admins looking to enforce the No open proxies policy. Are these probes covered in the ToS? Something like "If you contribute to WMF projects, you agree to have your contributing IP addresses port scanned for the presence of proxy software." I searched for the word "proxy" in the ToS, and I didn't find anything. ASCIIn2Bme 17:03, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

There is actually quite a bit of precedent that nmap et al. are normal network diagnostic tools and that port scanning to determine things like running services aren't attempts to "circumvent protection measures or gain illicit access". This was raised during the DMCA debacle.

Indeed, there are quite a few services on the 'net that will even portscan you systematically as you access them – many IRC networks do, for instance, and I've read that eBay does it under certain circumstances. — Coren (talk) / (en-wiki) 14:21, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks ASCIIn2Bme for your input. I will be interested in hearing more about this, but, as I see it, this is a good issue for the privacy policy. We may be taking a look at the privacy policy next year, and maybe we can address your concern there. Geoffbrigham 19:19, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Email for copyright infringement (section 8)[edit]

If you must include the email address for requesting informal removal of copyvios, please put it as info-en-c at wikimedia.org to send it to the right OTRS queue. You may also wish to include such verbiage as "other requests sent to this email address will not be processed promptly". Stifle 09:25, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks Stifle. I made the change to the email address. Much appreciated. Geoffbrigham 20:08, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Of course, that's the English language queue it points to. Hopefully as the TOU are translated this queue is something that gets changed according to the language! -Pete F 19:48, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
And guys, not every language has an OTRS queue for that. I think it's a mistake to get it away from a generic address. Philippe (WMF) 21:12, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
OK - I changed back to the original email address: info at wikimedia.org. Cheers. Geoffbrigham 22:24, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Credit Wikipedia[edit]

When you use stuff you find on Wikipedia in an online or offline publication, you should credit Wikipedia, and this is how you do it:

  • For online publications, you link back to the wikipedia page you used
  • For offline publications, you say "CC-by, Wikipedia" or something like that

Reading through the short version, it just seems like two things are being merged into one page:

  • Using Wikipedia for other media
  • Contributing to Wikipedia

There may be a a third thing, namely "creating interactive channels to Wikipedia" or something like that. In general, I think the short version is now way too long and needs to be split into re-use and contributions, and then for the re-use part the emphasis should be on attribution. Considering the fact that most of our cultural partners are afraid of losing attribution when they make a donation to Wikipedia, we should start with confirming our own need for attribution. Jane023 15:16, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

No, actually, you don't credit wikipedia, you credit individual contributors. Seb az86556 16:02, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
No actually I think it should be a link back to the actual page or it's url. The fact that we all have a different understanding of something so basic suggests that some guidance on attribution is needed - an FAQ for reusers perhaps. Filceolaire 22:38, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
I believe that the license actually requires you to credit individual contributors, but that a link to the Wikipedia page (which does that) is considered a valid method of crediting those individual contributors. WhatamIdoing 17:40, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps replacing you should credit Wikipedia with you should credit Wikipedia's writers would resolve this. WereSpielChequers 00:06, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
In my opinion, you should just credit the article, and preferably the original source of the material (the citations). Tracking down the original author of a useful piece of information in an article can be very difficult, since it could be from five years ago and heavily modified since then. Also, Wikipedia:Ownership of articles. Yes I can understand that the info on Wikipedia is summarized by individuals and that it can be a few (or one) person who puts the most work into an article, but tracking things down could be a really challenge. So, just cite the article as a thank you for collaborative work, or the citations themselves for their information. Citing Wikipedia in a publication is a bit of a red flag for the legitimacy of the publication's information, but that's beside the point. Jessemv 18:39, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
That's moving on to how one does it. I'm proposing a change to the first line at the top of this thread, so we make clear that you are crediting Wikipedias contributors and the way you do that is for example to link to the Wikipedia page. WereSpielChequers 19:24, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
It's interesting to read here that creditting Wikipedia is apparently not part of the Terms of Use simply because there is no way to do it in a reasonable way (I would agree that requiring re-users of Wikipedia information to list all editors of an article is not a good solution). I think including the article name would be fine, except the information behind one Wikipedia article for language A may differ for language B. In most cases the language cited will be the same as the language the publication is in. I disagree that we should only have re-users credit the writers. Wikipedia is the only media for most of the writers, since even well known writers on Wikipedia often edit under Wikipedia usernames which are not the same as their real names. We definitely need something easy so people can easily credit wikipedia in offline publications - isn't there an easy way to generate the article number (you see this in catscan)? Jane023 19:47, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
When you click (Save page) you agree to agree that a hyperlink or URL is sufficient attribution - it's in the text just above this button. I believe the relevant URL is that for the page the information came from. As the URLs for all the WMF wikis are fairly short I don't think we need a url shortening service. Perhaps we shuld change the label for the 'View History' tab to 'Attribution' or 'Contributors to this page'. Filceolaire 20:23, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
Using the url to the Wikipedia page as a form of attribution is fine, and I have no problem with that for online publications. My point is that you can now read our terms of use and still not understand how to do this for offline publications. Neither is it required. Jane023 21:37, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
My thinking (Geoffbrigham 22:37, 24 December 2011 (UTC)) was that the licenses should control the attribution requirements, and different free licenses (such as those used with Wikimedia Commons) may have different attribution requirements. It will be difficult to review all the different types of licenses and attribution methods in a high-level document like the TOS. This is especially so as licenses change (like the CC proposal for a CC-BY-SA 4.0). I frankly think a better way of handling this is for the community to prepare a policy on attribution.
I'm not sure you are right that different free licenses have different attribution requirements or that the WMF and the community would accept any license which has different attribution requirements. --Filceolaire 12:03, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
To the extent it may be helpful for drafting such a policy, here is something that my legal department wrote for those responsible for WMF publications:

When the Wikimedia Foundation publishes hard-copy or online publications - such as outside presentations, pamphlets, annual reports, and posters - we must insert the terms of our Creative Commons license. With all such publications for outside consumption, please do the following:

1. Magic Words

Include this language in a visible location:
The content contained in this publication is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License v3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) unless otherwise stated. The trademarks and logos of the Wikimedia Foundation and any other organization are not included under the terms of this Creative Commons license. The Wikimedia Foundation trademarks and logos are usually pending trademark registration or are registered trademarks of the Wikimedia Foundation. For more information, please see our Trademark Policy page, http://www.wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Trademark_Policy or contact trademarks@wikimedia.org.

2. Attribution

Ensure that you give attribution and license credit for images as required by the applicable license. Some examples:
  • Include this language when publishing online:
This image, Snell’s law wavefronts, is in the public domain and may be reused freely.
  • Include this language when publishing in hard format:
This image, Snell’s law wavefronts available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Snells_law_wavefronts.gif, is in the public domain and may be reused freely.
  • Include this language when publishing online:
This image 1880 Barn, Podunk, East Brookfield MA is © 2010 John Phelan, published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.
  • Include this language when publishing in hard format:
This image, '1880 Barn, Podunk, East Brookfield MA' (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1880_Barn,_Podunk,_East_Brookfield_MA.jpg), is © 2010 John Phelan, published under a CC BY-SA license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/).

3. Legal Review

With any outside or online publication, please run the final license language by the Legal Department for review before the publication.

Geoffbrigham 22:40, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

I just downloaded an en:WP article as a pdf, using the option on the left side menu and then I downloaded an en:WP:BOOK as a pdf. These have fairly comprehensive attribution however it is different from what Geoff describes above.
For the article there was an Article sources and contributors section, listing the user names of the editors who worked on the page followed by a separate Image sources, licenses and contributors section listing each media file and it's details, including it's license and the copyright owner. This was followed by a link to the CC-BY-SA license. For the book the attribution details were similar.
Geoff, Can I suggest you review these as examples of best practice. We could even mention them in the TOU. "We try to ensure the documents produced from the Export option, on the left hand menu, comply with these licensing requirements, so that they can be freely copied and redistributed unchanged, however we are not your lawyer and you should seek independent legal advice." The last bit needs polishing. Filceolaire 01:51, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
Happy holidays, Filceolaire. :) Thanks for your comments. I took your suggestion and checked out the sourcing on "Export" You're right; I do like how the "Export" option credits. Of course, under CC-BY-SA 3.0, you need to adjust attributions according to the medium and reasonableness. So I think the "best practice" will depend on various factors. For that reason, I would prefer to use separate policies, not the TOS, to address this level of detail. For example, the disclaimer you suggested for the TOS might be better placed on the "Export" landing page. In the TOS, we do say the following in Section 7(b):
Attribution: Attribution is an important part of these licenses. We consider it giving credit where credit is due – to authors like yourself. When you contribute text, you agree to be attributed in any of the following fashions:
Through hyperlink (where possible) or URL to the article to which you contributed (since each article has a history page that lists all authors and editors);
Through hyperlink (where possible) or URL to an alternative, stable online copy that is freely accessible, which conforms with the license, and which provides credit to the authors in a manner equivalent to the credit given on the Project website; or
Through a list of all authors (but please note that any list of authors may be filtered to exclude very small or irrelevant contributions).
We then say in Section 7(c):
You agree that, if you import text under a CC BY-SA license that requires attribution, you must credit the author(s) in a reasonable fashion. Where such credit is commonly given through page histories (such as Wikimedia-internal copying), it is sufficient to give attribution in the edit summary, which is recorded in the page history, when importing the text. The attribution requirements are sometimes too intrusive for particular circumstances (regardless of the license), and there may be instances where the Wikimedia community decides that imported text cannot be used for that reason.
We have similar language in Section 7(h). For me this is sufficient. Again you're points are well taken, but I would rather see the more detailed explanations in separate policies that are directly applicable to the tool or project at issue. Geoffbrigham 14:20, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for this, Geoff! I forgot how many flavors of licenses there are on Wikimedia Commons. I have complained in the past that the attribution to the original uploaders on Wikimedia Commons (in many cases our cultural partners) consists merely of the clickable link on the image in a Wikipedia article, while many people never click on the picture or see that the picture is even clickable. I guess in the TOS you could link to some extra page with the "magic words/attribution/legal review" from the WMF as a working example. Jane023 18:01, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Jane. Yes, once the community drafts a strong policy on attribution that provides good examples, we can include a link in the TOS. It might require Board approval, but that probably should be easy to get. Enjoy your holidays. Geoffbrigham 22:55, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Discussion about purpose of the page[edit]

____________

As Geoff states above, your comments and questions are definitely desired here, and we'll do our best to answer in a timely fashion. Thanks, Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 21:24, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
I have been impressed by and grateful for the feedback and comments to date. Many comments - albeit challenging - have been quite constructive. I firmly believe that we must have a document that works for the Community, so I believe that, in putting together the next draft, we need to be flexible. Geoffbrigham 17:54, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
"In the legal department at the Wikimedia Foundation, we have been examining for some time whether, as the 5th largest website in the world, we need a new terms of use agreement." In keeping with the new WMF policy of making all the decisions, we decided we do, and are now going to consult the community about the detail only.
Has nothing been learned from the image filter fiasco? Rich Farmbrough 13:24 10 September 2011 (GMT).
"Be Bold" ? :-) -- Seth Finkelstein 10:43, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
I hear your points, but, to be honest, it is hard to have a discussion about a user agreement without proposing a draft. This version - as hard as it may be to believe - is actually not as legalistic as other user agreements, though I now see room for improvements based on the comments. I may be wrong but I also see the draft as serving as a tool to facilitate the discussion about a number of points. We may decide to delete certain provisions because they are too controversial or not right for now, but I still think that the discussion they engender is useful for thinking about the issues. Geoffbrigham 17:54, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
That leaving real legal work to a bunch of teenagers and wikilawyers is a bad idea? WhatamIdoing 01:05, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Undoubtedly. I expect the Encyclopedia Judeica used professionals when they put the prohibition about "cancelbots" in their ToS. Face-smile.svg
But certainly there is no harm in having a qualified professional produce the actual document, and advise as to the content. However the community (or "teenagers and wikilawyers" as you so charmingly call us - I regret I am not the former and I hope I am not the latter) should be capable of producing the requirements spec. If anyone can tell me the practical use of :
  • "Using the Services in a manner that is inconsistent with any and all applicable laws and regulations."
I would be most interested. It is basically like a card game that has a rule saying "no cheating". If that rule is needed then there is another one needed saying "No breaking the rule about no cheating". And so forth. Really we need to decide what the purpose or purposes of the ToS are and build them on that basis, not just put in as many clauses as we can that look good. Rich Farmbrough 01:27 14 September 2011 (GMT).
I think this is a fair point, but here is my view: A list of prohibitions in one spot can be helpful. Many users have not thought through all the possible legal ramifications of their actions, so users may see listed improper conduct - like copyright infringement - and think twice about what they are doing. A cut-and-paste of the list may also be helpful in educating users who ask questions about behavior on the site. Finally, the list of prohibitions in the agreement is helpful legally in making clear to others - including law enforcement, rights owners, regulators, etc. - that we do not support certain activity on our site. Geoffbrigham 17:54, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
It looks like a basic catch-all: We will ban you if you break the law, even if the specific example of lawbreaking isn't mentioned above. To give two examples, I see nothing here about prohibiting behaviors that break the insider trading laws or prohibiting you from looking at pictures on Commons while a court has banned you from using the Internet at all, but either of these behaviors might result in the WMF blocking your access to the site. WhatamIdoing 17:44, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
Why should leaving real legal work to a bunch of teenagers and wikilawyers be a bad idea? After all, what the WMF should be about is letting a bunch of random people, including teenagers and wikilawyers, write an encyclopedia, a dictionary and a bunch of other things. As everybody knows (remember Nupedia or Citizendium?) it is better to leave this to the experts, and using an open wiki model can't possibly work. Kusma 19:54, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
I actually agree with this. I think the Community understands the site better than anyone. Hopefully this is an effort to get the expertise of the "teenagers and wikilawyers." One thing I have learned since joining Wikimedia: The Community is a pretty amazing law firm - really smart people. Geoffbrigham 17:54, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Having some experiences with contributions to Wikipedia articles I am convinced that we need new terms of use - and I have no problems with Geoff's intentions.--Fox1942 16:47, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Details from Section 10[edit]

Hey all, per the fact that Section 10 refers to a Global Ban Policy where the community gets to lay out how it wants things to work, I've kicked off a draft for comment and editing. There was previously a combined draft at "Global blocks and bans", but since there is technically no current ability to globally block an account, I have separated them out into two drafts for discussion. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 22:12, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Dispute Resolution Bodies[edit]

I have been asked to consider adding the below language to the proposed TOS. I am supportive of this language since it describes our reality, and, accordingly, I wish to put it forward for discussion.

You agree to comply with the final decisions of dispute resolution bodies that are established by the community on specific projects (such as arbitration committees). These decisions may include sanctions, such as your ban as a user, the closing of your account, or other prohibitions or restrictions on your contribution activity.

Geoffbrigham 01:40, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

I think this correctly matches existing practice, and provides the necessary support to community process without imposing a specific method to projects. Disclaimer: I am currently an arbitrator on the English Wikipedia, and this proposal results from a discussion with Foundation staff in which I have participated. — Coren (talk) / (en-wiki) 03:06, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
I like it, but a few quibbles... Technically we can't "close" accounts as in deleting them. We can lock them so you're unable to log in, but that's really a hack due to the fact that we don't have global blocking. Also, a ban can mean no editing under any alias, so that should be specified. I suggest the following edit: "... These decisions may include sanctions, such as blocking of your account, a ban on editing under any account, or other prohibitions or restrictions on your activity." Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 06:36, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
"Close" may be good enough; I'm not convinced that people will interpret "close" as meaning "permanently delete". "Suspend" is another possible word. Probably any of them are good enough. WhatamIdoing 16:03, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I was a little iffy about "close" at first, but the common meaning of "close your account" is clearly "make it no longer available for use", which fits.

True, there is the occasional request to "delete my account" that clearly expect it going away from histories and user lists, but we clearly cannot do that. — Coren (talk) / (en-wiki) 19:57, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

When we ban people we ban them from editing the site. we don't allow them to edit as IPs. So I'd be uncomfortable with the "a ban on editing under any account" suggestion. But I'm also uncomfortable with "your ban as a user" - as we never ban people from reading, we block some forms of automated reading and hides some diffs, but we don't ban people from using Wikipedia or our other products. When we ban people we ban them from editing our sites, not from using them (and I appreciate that not every site uses the Wikipedia term "editor", but I can't think of a better one). This may seem a subtle point, but it actually goes to the heart of what we are doing here. We really are making this information available to everyone, and that includes all the millions we have blocked or banned from editing. WereSpielChequers 22:30, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
Have we really blocked or banned millions of people? What a colossal waste of time. A few days ago, WereSpielChequers advocated breaking the rules by reverting the edits of banned users without reading them. See Talk:Global bans#Clarification please. Now he objects to the phrase "a ban on editing under any account." I think people should be discouraged from spending time examining the edits of IPs which remove inaccuracies with a view to reverting them should it be decided that the IP is a banned user. The time could be better spent examining the edits of banned users so that those which remove inaccuracies are not reverted.
The amendment of the global banning policy to give a right of reply to blocked editors put up for global banning is a step in the right direction. This right should be extended to blocked editors put up for community ban. On English Wikipedia administrators routinely institute community ban discussions without giving the requisite notice beforehand. The recipient of this unwanted attention, the "target" in adminspeak, has already been blocked and had talk page access cut off on a pretext and will probably only find out after the ban has been enacted. Should he happen upon the proceedings he will see a succession of involved administrators telling lies during the course of a unanimous !vote in favour. This not only looks illegal, it is - the policy says

"the community may engage in a discussion to site ban, topic ban, or place an interaction ban or editing restriction via a consensus of editors who are not involved in the underlying dispute."

The proposed phrase

"You agree to comply with the final decisions of dispute resolution bodies that are established by the community on specific projects (such as arbitration committees)"

could be construed as limiting the right of appeal to the community. The relevant policy states

"Administrators are prohibited from reversing or overturning (explicitly or in substance) any action taken by another administrator pursuant to the terms of an active arbitration remedy, and explicitly noted as being taken to enforce said remedy, except:

(a) with the written authorization of the Committee; or
(b) following a clear, substantial, and active community consensus to do so."

62.140.210.130 12:29, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't fully understand the proposal: what happens to such decisions taken by the community without a specific "dispute resolution body", for instance by consensus, vote, formal vote, administrator decision? The proposal seems to give undue relevance to such bodies; «Authorized members of the Wikimedia community may also take action according to the community policies of individual Projects», as currently stated, seems enough. Nemo 20:48, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it's intended to replace that provision; the intent behind this is to empower whatever the system the communities put in place (many wikis that do not have an Abitration Committee have other, just as legitimate, systems of dispute resolutions). — Coren (talk) / (en-wiki) 16:28, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Who are "authorised members" and what are "authorised acts"?[edit]

The discussion in this section uses the terms "your ban as a user", "the closing of your account", and "a ban on editing under any account." I think the meanings are perfectly clear, but in the past administrators have de facto banned people who only have the one account for "abuse of multiple accounts." Can someone in authority confirm that this is illegal both under the Terms of use as they are at present and as they will be in future? 62.140.210.130 19:18, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

No, it's not "illegal", and it won't ever be. As it says, "Authorized members of the Wikimedia community may also take action according to the community policies of individual Projects, including but not limited to investigating, blocking, or banning users who violate those policies."
This means that admins (="authorized members of the Wikimedia community") may issue bans for any number of reasons, "according to the community policies of individual Projects". As far as I can tell, no Project's community policies listed "abuse of multiple accounts" as the sole legitimate justification for bans. WhatamIdoing 20:41, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

In the example given, it was not suggested that the power of authorised personnel to ban was limited to cases of "abuse of multiple accounts." The issue here is whether they can ban people who keep to the rules and only register one account for "abuse of multiple accounts." To put it another way, if the only capital offence is murder, can a judge sentence to hang someone who has been convicted of stealing a banana? Incidentally, on English Wikipedia no individual has authority to ban. 62.140.210.130 11:18, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

A de facto ban (the type you specified in your original question) on en.wiki is an indefinite block issued by a single administrator that no other admin chooses to overturn. A de facto ban can therefore be described as the action of a single individual.
The terms of service does not require the blocking administrator to provide any reason at all, much less an accurate reason, for issuing a block. Consequently, it is "legal" for an authorized person to block someone and to give an erroneous or mistaken reason for it. (If you are blocking someone for Problem A, I don't recommend saying that you are blocking them for Problem B, but if the person deserved to be block for any reason, then the account should and will remain banned.) WhatamIdoing 22:23, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Hi all. I am enjoying reading this discussion but feel you guys have the expertise here. So I will just wait for proposed language from you. If that doesn't make sense, let me know. Geoffbrigham 01:30, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

I think that what's in the draft Terms of use now is adequate.

"Authorised members of the Wikimedia community may also take action according to the community policies of individual Projects"

means, as WhatamIdoing points out, that if there is no reason to block an editor the de facto ban is invalid. As the software cannot distinguish between legal and illegal blocks the editor is fully within his rights to continue editing as an IP until such time as the blocking administrator comes to his senses and lifts the block.

Banning someone and giving a spurious reason for doing it is gaming the system - it means that the administrator is aware that a ban can never be achieved by legal means because there is no evidence to put before the Community. As to the administrator's motive in behaving in this fashion, this is revealed by what follows: he deletes all pages created by the "banned" user under

"G5: Creation by a banned user in violation of ban."

This practice is expressly forbidden by the banning policy. 62.140.210.130 15:25, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure I see your point, here, you seem to be arguing about defects in how individual administrators apply policy; this proposed section is strictly about final decision from dispute resolution bodies. Perhaps there is a valid discussion to be had about standard of evidence for individual administrator actions, but this doesn't seem to be the right place for it. — Coren (talk) / (en-wiki) 18:27, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
(Oh, and no, "[a blocked editor] is fully within his rights to continue editing as an IP until such time as the blocking administrator comes to his senses and lifts the block" is clearly incorrect on its face. Block evasion is (quite correctly) already against the rules on every project I am aware of. There are methods to get a block reviewed or appealed, and the correct thing to do if you feel you have been unjustly blocked is to avail yourself of those processes – not compound the issue by adding block evasion on top of it.) — Coren (talk) / (en-wiki) 18:31, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Well, I'd guess that the unregistered user's first point is "I thought that every single one of the hundreds of WMF projects had banning policies exactly identical to the one I got banned under on the English Wikipedia."
The second point appears to be "I thought that the English Wikipedia cares more about the words used in the original block log than in reality".
The third point appears to be, "I believe that deliberate, policy-violating block evasion is a valid method of appealing a block that I personally believe is unjust".
The fourth point appears to be, "Block evasion—which is defined as using multiple accounts or IP addresses to edit in violation of the community policies—shouldn't count as using multiple accounts or IP addresses to edit in violation of the community policies".
So what we apparently have here is a self-confessed sockpuppet, who doesn't believe that en.wiki's socking policies apply to him merely because the original reason for abusing multiple accounts or IP addresses to edit in violation of the community policies wasn't socking. WhatamIdoing 18:37, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Happy Christmas, everyone. I have to admit to playing devil's advocate here - would the scenario presented elicit comment on the lines of "The block was indefensible...the editor must be unblocked immediately...how can I help", etc." (The editor was actually unblocked following a review of the evidence). What actually happened, as can be seen above, was very different, although Coren did helpfully point to appeal procedures. So my conclusion is that it is unsafe to water down or dismantle existing safeguards.

I hope that Coren now sees the point of my post. He is, as disclosed, a member of the Arbitration Committee of the English Wikipedia, and another member, Kirill Lokshin, has submitted the following proposal for their consideration:

"The community has no obligation to demonstrate that the editor to be restricted violated any rules, deliberately or otherwise; or that the restrictions to be imposed are necessary to prevent a violation of any rules".

There is no corresponding provision relating to the acts of "authorised personnel" so it would seem that they are required to justify their actions, contrary to what WhatamIdoing claims above. The clause under discussion has been quoted in full above: it reads (with emphasis)

"Authorized members of the Wikipedia community may also take action according to the community policies of individual Projects including but not limited to investigating, blocking, or banning users who violate these policies."

The one reinforces the other - an administrator cannot de facto ban an editor without giving a reason, and if the reason is spurious then the innocent editor is able to argue that he cannot be banned because he hasn't violated policy.

This is why I feel that the existing clause in the draft should be retained.

I wish all of you, sincerely, a very peaceful New Year. 62.140.210.130 15:16, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

You are operating from a logical fallacy: an explicit authorization to block "users who violate these policies" does not mean that there are no other circumstances under which a user may be blocked. "You may eat the red apple" does not automatically mean "You may not eat anything except the red apple".
There are important situations in which "demonstrating that the user violated the rules" is a very bad idea. Imagine someone who appears to be sexually soliciting children on a WMF website: the policy is to block now and ask questions later. The policy is specifically and explicitly to provide zero public reason for such blocks, because we are rightly horrified by the possibility of publicly accusing an innocent person.
Your personal belief that the reason for your block is "spurious" is completely irrelevant. It's not your website. You actually have no right to participate. The WMF can throw you out of its website for any reason at all, exactly like I could throw you out of my home. Every single person's participation is solely at the discretion of the WMF—and, because of the way they choose to operate, therefore at the discretion of the project admins. Just like you don't have to "violate a policy" for me to say, "Your visit is over, go away" when you visit my house, you don't have to "violate a policy" (or believe you did: it's amazing how many serious and persistent policy violaters believe that their actions are somehow not really, truly policy violations) for an admin to show you the door at a WMF website. WhatamIdoing 17:33, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

WhatamIdoing, you gave the argument away in your second sentence. "You may not eat anything except the red apple" is the same as "You may eat nothing other than the red apple", so your proposition may be phrased as

"You may eat the red apple" does not automatically mean "You may only eat the red apple and nothing else."

I agree. In Wikipedia, anything not specifically forbidden is allowed unless it conflicts with the law. The observation "The WMF can throw you out of its website for any reason at all" is actually too restrictive - the WMF can throw you out of its website for any reason or no reason, as it pleases. The reason why it does not is because it is a charity with educational objectives. It is bad for such an organisation to say "You are banned for a reason and we are not disclosing the reason" and it is worse for it to say "You are banned because the moon is made of green cheese". In that case the user may simply assume that an error has been made and continue to use it.

WMF has devolved wide powers of exclusion to the Community (which should use them responsibly and avoid doing anything which might embarrass WMF) while reserving the power of gratuitous exclusion to itself. This is why Kirill Lokshin's proposition is wrong and the person who described it as "batshit insane" is right. WhatamIdoing is barking up the wrong tree when she says that WMF has granted these powers to anyone who can get past RfA. Look at some of the people who have (en:Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Darwinbish)! In reality, what an administrator can or cannot do is carefully set out on appointment, and banning people who have not violated policy is not included. Remember, a ban is something you go for when all else has failed.

WhatamIdoing apparently also believes that the maxim "Better that a hundred guilty people go free than that one innocent person be convicted" is less applicable in Wikipedia, a community that derives its strength from its fairness, than in society generally. Also, a lot of her argument seems to be wishful thinking. A legislature can pass any laws it wants, but only laws it actually has passed are effective. The enforcement arm (the executive) is not given unlimited powers (even in a dictatorship) but each individual law enforcement officer must act within the specific limits to his power which are imposed when he is appointed. In the example given, the judge who signs the death warrant of the person convicted of stealing a banana is acting ultra vires ("beyond the powers") because he is limited to only sentencing to death people who have been convicted of murder. Now let us suppose that the person convicted had actually obtained the banana by killing the person in possession of it. Her argument that the person can be executed because he killed someone but was not convicted of it is obviously wrong. Suppose that a hungry burglar sets out with refreshment in his toolkit in the form of a banana. The householder confronts him and a fight breaks out in which the householder kills the burglar in self defence. To calm himself he picks up the banana and begins eating it. All this is witnessed through the window by the police who arrive, alerted by neighbours, just too late to see the killing. It may be that the householder is detained on a "holding charge" of theft while the police investigate, but to suggest that he can be executed for it is ludicrous.

Some other places where I think that WhatamIdoing's argument fails to stand up - it is wrong to claim that "Block evasion ... is defined as using multiple accounts or IP addresses to edit in violation of the community policies." Actually, block evasion is editing in defiance of the terms of a block. The fact that an editor is blocked does not necessarily mean that all subsequent editing is "block evasion". For example, if a username is blocked because it is inappropriate, it is not "abuse of multiple accounts" to register a compliant username or edit anonymously. Again, an editor may be told to choose one account to edit from, whereupon all the others are blocked for "abuse of multiple accounts." Lastly, an editor may edit from "multiple ... IP addresses" because the IP address changes daily at the whim of the ISP. Such editing is not "abusing multiple ... IP addresses in violation of the community policies." 62.140.210.130 16:14, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

In that case the user may simply assume that an error has been made and continue to use it.
No, you may not. If you are actually banned from the WMF websites, you may not continue to use them. You have no more right to continue to use the WMF websites after being told to leave than you have to continue to sit in my home after being told to leave.
It happens that the English Wikipedia has established procedures that permit you to appeal blocks and bans that you believe are in error—just like if I order you out of my home, you might ask me to reconsider—but you may not continue editing just because you personally believe that the reason for your block or ban is invalid. WhatamIdoing 00:29, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

"If you are actually banned from the WMF websites".

That is the $64,000 question.

The original block of the single - account editor for "abuse of multiple accounts", which was described as "infinite" rather than "indefinite" was recognised to be invalid, which was why a community discussion was listed to deal with the situation. The Community's powers are set out in en:WP:CBAN as follows:

"If an editor has proven to be repeatedly disruptive in one or more areas of Wikipedia, the community may engage in a discussion to site ban, topic ban, or place an interaction ban or editing restriction via a consensus of editors who are not involved in the underlying dispute.[1]When determining consensus, the closing administrator will assess the strength and quality of the arguments."

Elsewhere the rule says that for the discussion to be valid the editor must be told about it. That wasn't done. At no time was it suggested the edits were disruptive, comment and !voting came from administrators who were intimately involved and the closing administrator has just been voted onto the Arbitration Committee with maximum support!

"English Wikipedia has established procedures that permit you to appeal blocks and bans that you believe are in error."

Nobody has claimed that good edits from a single account prove repeated abuse of multiple accounts, so nobody has claimed that this ban has any validity which could give the Arbitration Committee jurisdiction to consider an appeal. 62.140.210.130 10:31, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

We don't need to claim that good edits from a single account prove repeated abuse of multiple accounts. We are claiming only that even if the block is a complete mistake, you are required to abide by the terms of that block unless and until you have gotten it overturned on appeal. WhatamIdoing 17:48, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

WhatamIdoing, you're not being logical. You accept the editor did not abuse multiple accounts. You accept the editor did nothing wrong. You accept the block was a complete mistake. The whole point of Section 10

Authorised members of the Wikimedia community may also take action according to the community policies of individual Projects, including but not limited to investigating, blocking, or banning users who violate these policies

(emphasis added) is to ensure they act judicially and stop them pursuing vendettas against people they don't like. Otherwise, what was the purpose of putting the clause in in the first place? Note also that en:wp and fr:wp for example are separate Projects. 212.85.1.2 18:58, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

I make no claims either way about whether the editor (you, but with a new IP address today?) abused multiple accounts before being blocked. For all I know, the editor in question was a serious sockmaster. Even if he wasn't, he may have earned that block by violating other policies. Socking is not the only possible way to earn a block: he might have been a vandal, or engaged in libel, or doing any number of other bad things.
However, the editor confesses to continuing to edit after being blocked, and that certainly makes him guilty of "violating these policies" now. If you're wrongly blocked on the English Wikipedia, then according to "these policies", the only edits you are permitted to make during that block [clarified: on the English Wikipedia] are the ones in which you are directly engaged in appealing your block. There is no policy that says "if you personally decide that the block is unjust, then you can just ignore it and keep editing." WhatamIdoing 22:31, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I haven't read this whole long thread, and don't think I have the time to absorb it all. But this point jumped out at me. Not sure how important this point is to the broader discussion, but it's often overlooked that a "block" is generally a technical act restricting the use of an account or IP, while a "ban" is an action specifically intended to restrict a person's behavior. Blocks may include, for instance, accounts that violate pretty innocuous aspects of the account naming policy, or accounts whose passwords have been compromised; in such a case, there's no problem at all with the individual who owns the account continuing to edit from an IP or from a different account. They also have no bearing (along with bans) on access to other Wikimedia projects. So it would be a little dangerous, I think, to consider every blocked or banned user to have violated the TOU. A user banned on English Wikipedia is typically (apart from the new Global Ban Policy) free to edit other projects without restriction. (If this is all just repeating the obvious, please forgive my intrusion!) -Pete F 23:09, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Deliberate block evasion normally results in a community-imposed ban, and the editor in question began with a specific question about a de facto ban, which is an indefinite block that no admin is willing to overturn. In essence, the block in question is also a ban.
But you are correct: it applies only at the English Wikipedia, and although the user's actions are a clear local policy violation, it is not necessarily a TOU violation. WhatamIdoing 03:17, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Hi all. Thanks for the discussion. Here is one possible phrasing (which I will include in the TOS for now though I understand that the community may agree to remove it):
You also agree to comply with the final decisions of dispute resolution bodies that are established by the community on specific projects (such as arbitration committees); these decisions may include sanctions as set out by the local policy of each Project.
It would be understood that we keep the provision in Section 10: Authorized members of the Wikimedia community may also take action according to the community policies of individual Projects, including but not limited to investigating, blocking, or banning users who violate those policies.

Let me know if this works. Thanks. Geoffbrigham 22:39, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Works for me, and it's probably for the best to avoid making an enumeration of what sanctions means in the TOS. — Coren (talk) / (en-wiki) 15:07, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

The purpose of the block is to stop the editor "abusing multiple accounts" and it's a physical impossibility for him to do that (he only has one account). So, per Pete above, there's no problem at all with the individual who owns the account continuing to edit from an IP. 62.140.210.130 19:06, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

No. The IP address itself counts as an account, and editing as an IP while your only registered account is blocked is considered block evasion, which is prohibited by the blocking policy at the English Wikipedia. WhatamIdoing 16:50, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Look at Pete's explanation again. He is dealing with exactly the situation where the one registered account is blocked. I think the confusion in your mind may be due to your belief that an IP is an account. Actually, it's not the same - IP editors can't watchlist, move, edit semi - protected pages, vote in RfA or RfB, elect candidates onto the Arbitration Committee or create pages outside userspace. 156.61.160.1 17:41, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

WhatamIdoing is continuing the discussion elsewhere - I'm transcluding what has been added so far:

Meta's got a discussion going from a blocked user who makes the following claims:

  • He didn't actually commit the violation named in the block log (he was indef'd for socking), so the block is invalid/doesn't count/can be ignored.
  • It's perfectly okay for him to keep editing as an IP despite the block, because his IP address isn't "an account".

It might be worth expanding the section on block evasion to explain the concept so that even this user will be able to understand it. (I'm not watching this page.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:54, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

I only brought up username policy violations and password issues. There are lots of blocks (perhaps the vast majority) where, in my opinion, Whatamidoing's interpretation is the accurate one. If you are blocked for behavior, on en-wp at least (where I have the most policy and process familiarity), you are generally violating a block if you continue to edit under an IP. Failing to understand or observe that (I think) obvious point would be, in my opinion, good grounds for increasingly aggressive blocks. -Pete F 21:28, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
I dunno. If Wikipedia is not therapy, policy most definitely isn't. I'm always wary of the practice of writing policy with the worst troublemakers in mind, instead of the good-faith new users who just want to learn and understand how we do things around here and why. I know where you're coming from but extensive experience in this area has left me utterly pessimistic about reforming bad behavior by bad editors through wording changes in policy. causa sui (talk) 17:47, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Quick comment: "He was indeffed for socking" - a single registered account can't be a sock. 195.191.66.226 16:08, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

I think you will find he was indeffed for editing while banned. Editting via an IP counts as editting so it is a breach of the ban. Accounts are blocked but editors are banned. There is a subtle distinction which could perhaps be made clearer in the TOU. Maybe Geoff should change
* Block a user's account or ban a user for actions violating this Agreement,
to
* Ban a user from editting and/or block a user's account for actions violating this Agreement,

Filceolaire 17:42, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

@Filceolaire - Good suggestion. I'm really deferring to you guys, who know the right terminology and technology better than I. If people are in agreement (and if I understand correctly), I will use this phrase: Ban a user from editing or contributing or block a user's account for actions violating this Agreement . . . . If I hear no objections, I will make this change throughout the TOS. Makes sense? Geoffbrigham 18:09, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
OK, I made Filceolaire's recommended change in Section 10. Let me know if I didn't get it right (or need to make the edit elsewhere). Note: I don't want to make the change in Section 8 because that Section tracks the legislative language. Geoffbrigham 15:12, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

The editor Filceoclaire is talking about registered an account and was indeffed four days later although there was no suggestion that policy had been breached. The first mention of a ban came from the administrator who used the word as an excuse to delete all the pages the editor had created. The apparent reason for this was to hide the content so that other editors would be unable to secure its retention by opposing at MfD. 82.35.114.215 18:36, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

In Section 10, I propose "Authorized members of the Wikimedia community may also take action according to the community policies of individual Projects, including but not limited to investigating, blocking, or banning users who violate those policies. You also agree to comply with the final decisions of dispute resolution bodies that are established by the community on specific projects (such as arbitration committees); these decisions may include sanctions as set out by the local policy of each Project. Especially problematic Users who have had accounts blocked on multiple Projects may be subject to a ban from all of the Projects, in accordance with the Global Ban Policy. In contrast to Board resolutions or this Agreement, policies established by the community, which may cover a single Project or multiple Projects (like the Global Ban Policy), may be modified by the relevant community according to its own procedures. On English Wikipedia, administrators are not authorized to ban users"

If I'm reading this correctly, I think your only change is adding the last sentence. If so, I would suggest that this is better handled by community policy, which, in the terms of use, we recognize as limiting authority. Section 10 reads in part: Authorized members of the Wikimedia community may also take action according to the community policies of individual Projects. Also we are trying not to customize the Terms of Use too much to the English Wikipedia, given the other projects and languages. I hope you find this acceptable. Geoffbrigham 15:02, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

but I would like a definition of "Authorized members of the Wikimedia community" because some people may claim they are authorised to do things when they are not.

I hear this point, but, without making the terms of use too complicated, I would prefer to avoid such a detailed explanatio. Indeed, in the end, it is a community decision as to who is authorized, so maybe we can say: "Users who are authorized by the Wikimedia community by written policy". Does that work? Geoffbrigham 15:02, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

(Section 12) "In certain (hopefully unlikely) circumstances it may be necessary for either ourselves or authorized members of the Wikimedia community to terminate part or all of our services, terminate this Agreement, block your account, or ban you as a user."

Once again, "Authorized members" should be particularised and limits on their authority stated as indicated above. 82.35.114.215 19:44, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

I would make the same suggestion as above, if that works for you. Geoffbrigham 15:02, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

Responding to Pete, it's a common misconception that editors are blocked "for" misbehaviour. They are blocked to prevent misbehaviour in the future, or, in the words of policy, blocks are preventative not punitive. So in the case of the editor who has not misbehaved, harmless use of the IP is acceptable, as was originally explained. There is no reason to behave increasingly aggressively to an editor who is editing to improve the 'pedia. 92.24.104.230 21:58, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

We're talking about deliberate ban and block evasion here. The resulting blocks are "preventative" only in the sense that they are designed to provide a temporary technological barrier to stop editing by a person who is so screwed up that he thinks "you personally—a specific, individual human—are not permitted to edit the English Wikipedia ever again" means "please keep editing as much as you want, so long as you don't make those edits from a registered account".
The very act of editing while under a ban (de facto or otherwise) is itself a misbehavior. It is never acceptable for anyone to evade a block or ban. WhatamIdoing 02:03, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Maybe we could get the point across that not all "authorized members" have all the powers listed by including a definition of "authorised acts". We could then have something like

"Authorized members of the Wikipedia community may also take action according to the community policies of individual Projects, including but not limited to investigating, blocking, or banning users who violate these policies. Authorized acts are those done by a member within the limit of his authority, in accordance with written policy as it applies to that member."

If we do this then the suggested modification to Section 12 becomes superfluous. 212.85.1.2 15:56, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

Which acts are authorized and who is authorized to do them will change over time. It is not helpful to specify them, and it would not change the reality that ban and block evasion, including editing as an IP after you have been banned, is still never permitted. WhatamIdoing 02:03, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

The reason why these clarifications have been proposed is to counterbalance the "retreat into pragmatism" that WhatamIdoing's arguments disclose. It is precisely because the "powers that be" come and go and the things they are permitted to do change over time that it is desirable to explain to the reader that it is by going to the written community policy that she can ascertain (a) whether the person is authorised to do anything and (b) if the answer is "yes", exactly what it is that he is authorised to do.

If the reader, thus alerted, goes to the written community policy she will discover that nobody (with the possible exception of Mr Wales) is authorised to say

"You personally - a specific, individual human - are not permitted to edit the English Wikipedia ever again."

On Wikipedia, as elsewhere in life, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. 156.61.160.1 11:01, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

OK, how about this:
Section 10: Authorized members of the Wikimedia community may also take action according to the community policies of individual Projects, including but not limited to investigating, blocking, or banning users who violate those policies. Authorized members of the Wikimedia community are those users who have specific authorization to act, and must so act, within a defined scope of action pursuant to written community or Foundation policy.
Section 12: Though we hope you will stay and continue to contribute to the Projects, you can stop using our services any time. In certain (hopefully unlikely) circumstances it may be necessary for either ourselves or authorized members of the Wikimedia community (as defined in Section 10) to terminate part or all of our services, terminate this Agreement, block your account, or ban you as a user. We reserve the right to suspend or end the services at any time, with or without cause, and with or without notice.
If this works for people, I will so update the proposed terms of use. Thanks to all who participated in this discussion. Geoffbrigham 23:26, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

A very clear and well - drafted amendment. 156.61.160.1 11:52, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. Edits made. Geoffbrigham 20:10, 30 December 2011 (UTC)