Talk:Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/Vinicius Siqueira
Wikimedia LGBT+ questions
This is a transcription of my answers to the questions raised by members of the Wikimedia LGBT+ on Telegram:
1) Do you have any thoughts on whether the BoT can ever be expected (legally, ethically) to take a stronger hand in "flagging" or even removing misinformation or non-educational hateful material from our projects, such as the English or Chinese Wikipedias or anti-educational media from Wikimedia Commons?
I share the same concerns about misinformation, disinformation and hateful discourse proliferation in the Wikiprojects. The first level of control must remain under community governance. There is no disagreement that all unverifiable information must be removed from the projects for being out of scope. In order to qualify the community capacity, WMF needs to offer multilingual training and instructional material to help the editors to develop specific skills (such as content verification, fact-checking methods, and detection of bias, discrimination, hate discourse, harassment, dignity offenses etc.). WMF must deal with the more complex in order to protect local community members in special tricky situations and to respect their structural limitations.
Alongside, development of AI-based tools for information quality control in the projects need to be encouraged and funded. The goal is to produce an automatized and reliable resource for helping bias detection and control in the future.
Situations that poses severe risks for the Foundation or that requires a more specialized approach, for instance, highly cultural and political sensitive controversies, propaganda of debunked theories, “nazi-like” ideologies promotion, and hazardous actions with potential or real high impact (e.g. capture of whole projects; masisive interventions; organized actions cross-wiki), need to be analyzed and judged by upper official arbitration structures. For this decision-making process, legal and other related WMF departments must be advised by non-WMF controlled community groups with notable experience on the subjects under scrutiny. During the review, legal and ethical aspects regarding the case would surely need to be accounted for in the decision.
My personal view is that BoT and WMF must be committed with a radical sense of social justice. This indicates all their processes and activities must include a sense of solidarity, respect, and inclusion. Our projects are known for its mission of giving “access to the sum of all human knowledge”. That said, I defend the encouragement of active removal of non-educational hateful materials from Wikimedia projects.
2) Alternatively would you lobby as a Trustee for non-WMF controlled groups like the WMLGBT+ User Group to be empowered with factcheck and flagging authority, such as flagging hosted materials, essays or discussions as anti-educational or deliberately hateful?
I had never thought about conferring a community affiliate’s fact-check or flagging authority before. Personally, I have no reason to doubt the group’s expertise around the subject and, hence, its capacity in recognizing accurately the situations you mentioned above
On the other hand, it is not expected any kind of control over content as a prerogative of an affiliate. The “authority” status should be understood as a privilege to the affiliate in regard to content verification, at least.
If it does not break the rules, the group capacity would need to be assessed more in depth and some rules established. I really don’t know exactly how it would work, but I imagine you have already thought about it and I am very interested. Obviously, this right would need to come together with mechanisms for abuse control and periodic evaluations, in order to assure the quality and the adequacy of the work in course.
A midterm solution could be the creation of a fact-checking official structure composed by contributors skilled for that, WMF staff, thematic organizations, and other specialized groups and individuals. In the meanwhile, as I said, we would need to broadly promote the development of this capacity among the volunteers.
No questions about the relevance of flagging impaired, offensive or discriminative pages. This practice must be reinforced in the community. The inadequate contents need to be exposed in order to permit its readjustment.
In parallel, I think the discussions in depth about the Universal Code of Conduct, partially approved, must advance in the direction of ensuring minimally healthy, safe, and inclusive spaces in all the projects. This baseline would allow every interested volunteer to detect and inform unacceptable content.
3) Would you advocate for positive discrimination?
I think that underrepresented groups need more than incentives and inspirational words of resilience. “Positive discrimination” (I prefer “Affirmative actions”) is a very interesting measure to provoke some diversification and to specificaly promote people from groups proportionaly very disadvantaged numerically. I believe “affirmative actions” are a good measure when it is thought in a time-frame and in places with a heavy participance of structural discrimination -- great disparities and no perspective of a natural change in the future, requiring an inductive intervention. I think the inclusion of minority groups in leadership positions has the potential to reduce the representation bias, and produce a richer and more diverse environment for working. The disadvantage of producing disputes and tensions inside the team should be anticipated and prevented, as well as adopting policies of no-tolerance for discriminative behaviour.
Back to the Wikiverse: (1) the composition of the WMF staff must follow an inclusive perspective (not necessarily “positive discrimination”); (2) a structure like Global Council need to preview mechanisms to assure equity of representation; (3) there is no reason to discriminate any contributor, neither to be tolerant with discriminators; (4) to promote diversity, WMF community funding need to persue a fairer distribution -- until recently something more than 80% of the total of resources were invested in the richer countries, while the underprivileged half of the Globe, living in narrow circunmstances, received the remainder; (5) the marginalized groups in the Global North are similarly undrerrepresented in our movement and deserve to be accounted as the developing countries and others.