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Appeal[edit]

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

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

The arbitration case[edit]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ongoing problems with governance and harassment[edit]

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

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

Requests to BoT[edit]

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

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

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

Thank you for your consideration.

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

Community comments[edit]

  • I can't speak to the merits of this particular appeal but I do hope that the Board will consider some of the important underlying issues here. Obviously the Board is not about to dissolve the Arbitration Committee but it should consider removing from their purview anything involving real world consequences for editors, because the Arbitration Committee has proven itself unable to competently and safely deal with these matters. At the very least, the Foundation should remove advanced permissions and access to private information from volunteers who have deliberately or accidentally revealed personal information. I have heard a disturbing number of allegations that past and present members of the Arbitration Committee have revealed this kind of information, and I know for a fact that it happened in my case. As far as I am aware, no action has been taken in any of these instances. There should be a method for dealing with these allegations and reporting the results of such investigations in a transparent manner. A long-standing Functionary was removed for violating the privacy of a politician, but where is the protection for rank-and-file editors? Gamaliel (talk) 20:24, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure if this is a case for the Board. The Board should not really meddle into particular projects' community decisions, unless they violate the overall global policies, and I am not sure if it applies here. This is of course not a dismissal of possible very valid concerns and real issues pinpointed in the post above, and the Board should make overall efforts to address these for all projects. Pundit (talk) 16:02, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
This is a good question but also a very hard one. I have been looking at the global policies and what is within the scope of the board, and I think the answer will be long and complicated, and it will take me a little more time to give a proper answer.
Also please note that I have changed my above remarks to include the newest member of the board and to name the arbitrator who posted personally identifying information about me on the arbitrators' mailing list, since he is now running for the arbitration committee again. He also mocked me publicly on a Wikipedia criticism site for trying to contact him privately about the GGTF arbitration case. This is the same former arbitrator who wrote the GGTF arbitration case, the case that caused so much controversy at Wikiconference USA 2015, and was the subject of so much negative press about the Wikimedia Foundation's treatment of women.
I also want to apologize for taking so long to make this much of an answer. I have underestimated how much of an ordeal this arbitration case is for me to think about, even after three years, and how much it has impacted my career, my family, my entire life, and continues to do so even now. —Neotarf (talk) 21:30, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
I very much appreciate the willingness of the board members here to actually listen and consider. Trying to deal with the arbitration committee has been so frustrating, both when I was writing the "Arbitration Report" feature for the Signpost, and in connection with this arbitration case.

To try to answer some of the above questions:

The scope of the board.
The intuitive answer is that anything that is essential to the mission of the Wikimedia Foundation and does not already have oversight elsewhere will fall to the board. The policy answer is more complicated and in many parts, spread over several documents.
  • Effective board oversight spells out the role of the board. Any number of the "monitoring activities" specified could apply here, including “Evaluate how well WMF is fulfilling its vision, mission and values”, also “Review performance metrics for goals and projects”, “Oversee compliance with legal obligations and WMF policies”, “Maintain the legal and ethical integrity of the organization”, and “Communicate WMF’s direction and activities to the communities”.
What global policies?
Terms of use. Includes
  • Civility – You support a civil environment and do not harass other users.
  • Lawful Behavior – You do not violate copyright or other laws.
  • Terms of Use and Policies – You adhere to the below Terms of Use and to the applicable community policies when you visit our sites or participate in our communities.
Also to refrain from:
  • Engaging in harassment, threats, stalking, spamming, or vandalism
  • Soliciting personally identifiable information for purposes of harassment, exploitation, violation of privacy, or any promotional or commercial purpose not explicitly approved by the Wikimedia Foundation
  • Intentionally or knowingly posting content that constitutes libel or defamation
  • With the intent to deceive, posting content that is false or inaccurate
Privacy policy
Our strategic direction: Service and Equity "We, the Wikimedia contributors, communities, and organizations, will advance our world by collecting knowledge that fully represents human diversity, and by building the services and structures that enable others to do the same."
  • I'm not sure whether this has been adopted as yet, but it seems to represent the broad spectrum of "the community", rather than the current self-perpetuating centralized power structure.

These global policies would all seem not to exclude the arbitration committee, or its individual members. It is my belief the board can monitor the arbitration committee, or delegate a working group to do so on their behalf, to determine whether they are adhering to these policies and principles, and acting with appropriate transparency and in a way that retains the trust of "the community", however that is defined. —Neotarf (talk) 00:32, 31 December 2017 (UTC)


  • How the community regulates itself is not a simple issue and of course neither are efforts to improve this regulation. Making changes is by consensus within the community in question. I know that some languages, that have had Arbcom committees, have gotten rid of them. The WMF has recently put a fair bit of resources into trying to improve efforts to deal with harassment, improvements of course take time. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:19, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Thank you both for your comments. The issues you have raised are both interesting and difficult.
Improvements do indeed take time, all the more reason to make sure the right proposals get into the budget cycle early. We started asking for a Community health initiative in 2015 at Grants:IdeaLab/Community discussion on harassment reporting, when fourteen separate proposals were made by twenty-six users. Where are those users now? It seems like something bad always happens to anyone who speaks out publicly against harassment. The basic thing we asked for, a place to privately report harassment, to someone authorized to take action, still doesn't exist.
I think also *who* is "community" is not a simple issue.
Several communities have gotten rid of their arbitration committees, after choosing to create them. There is a list of active and inactive arbitration committees here. The usual public reason given is either that they can't find anyone to be on the committee or that they don't have any disputes. An interesting case is the Spanish Wikipedia, which dissolved their arbitration committee and moved their dispute resolution to a librarians noticeboard, although I am still trying to figure out how this user, who has done so much as an ambassador for Wikipedia to establish partnerships with institutions has been treated like this, and what effect it might have had on other potential ambassadors or partnering institutions.
Unlike the other projects, the English Wikipedia arbitration committee was not established by the community. It was established by fiat, by Jimmy Wales acting on legal advice. The English Wikipedia was not given a choice of whether to have an arbitration committee at all, it was only given a choice of whether to hold elections and make policy for the committee. There is a summary of the establishment of the English Wikipedia here. I don't believe the English arbitration committee could be dissolved by the community, only by Jimmy Wales or the board. I don't know if the board was in existence in 2004 yet, or if this would make any difference. —Neotarf (talk) 22:58, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
A little additional information: Jimmy Wales made a statement about this on his talk page on December 20, 2017.[1] The original arbitration committee was appointed by Jimmy Wales on Dec 4, 2003 on the English Wikipedia mailing list. [2]. —Neotarf (talk) 00:32, 31 December 2017 (UTC)
Since you mention the Spanish Wikipedia - as someone who was very vocal against the local arbcom, I can say it was a very good thing to remove it at the time. It was something inherited from English Wikipedia that did not work for us at all since it led to intra-fighting of the worst kind. The user you mention was blocked for very good reasons - none of which have anything to do with being an ambassador. Sometimes having people from other projects weighing in at what happens in another, without knowing the full context, can result in misinterpretations. You can understand why the Board would hesitate before commenting in your case - I know you argue that supervising local arbcoms falls under the scope of the Board, but I am not sure Board members would agree with that very specific characterization. Raystorm (talk) 14:08, 15 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Hi Neotarf. Thanks for your message. I think you make several good points, even if overall I believe you unfortunately overestimate the capacity of WMF to do what you request to the Board - WMF really is a tiny org with tiny departments, even though some people may think the opposite. It needs to grow capacity before it could aspire to do half of your list. The overlaying issues are very interesting - while the Board does not supervise local arbcoms and how they are organised, we are concerned about community health and harassment, and solutions that scale to all projects and all languages and are not ad hoc or driven by those who have been attacked or marginalised. And this is part of the conversation for Wikimedia 2030 - as a global community, I think we will get there (and let me say I love the idea of a benevolent society to protect wikimedians). At any rate, I do not dismiss how exhausting and distressing this situation must be for you. I find it encouraging that your local arbcom will review your appeal - it doesn't seem like you are asking for anything outrageous. I wish you well. Raystorm (talk) 14:08, 15 January 2018 (UTC)
  • I'm late to comment, because I've been thinking if I have any sensible working solution for now. I'm afraid I don't - as Maria and James have already indicated, the scope of control of the WMF over local communities is not large (which is often a good thing, but obviously not always, we have also seen some communities gone rogue and could not do all that much about it at the Board level). Pundit (talk) 14:51, 15 January 2018 (UTC)

Comments about WP:ARBGGTF case appeal[edit]

The statements made about me at WP:ARBGGTF are false and damaging, and I ask that it be corrected and the sanctions lifted.

According to Arbitration committee guidelines, the procedure for this seems to be to email arbcom-l@lists.wikimedia.org. Unfortunately, I do not know of anyone who has received an answer from this email address, and I have received some bounce notifications from it myself. In addition, some former arbitrators have in the past made some highly inaccurate statements about the committee's communications with me. In view of this, I would request one or more neutral observers to the communications, and a transparent way of tracking them. —Neotarf (talk) 01:25, 31 December 2017 (UTC)

I have sent the following to the above email address, and received a bounce notification:

I wish to appeal the actions taken against me at WP:ARBGGTF.

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Arbitration_Committee/Ban_appeals this email address is the proper venue to formally initiate such a request.

I have made further comments about this at https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_noticeboard#Comments_about_WP:ARBGGTF_case_appeal

Would someone kindly acknowledge the receipt of this email and give an estimate of when I might expect a response?

In view of my past experiences, I am talking the precaution of pinging the current list of arbitrators: Casliber, Callanecc, DGG, Doug Weller, Drmies, Euryalus, GorillaWarfare, Keilana, Kirill Lokshin, Ks0stm, Mkdw, Newyorkbrad,Opabinia regalis, DeltaQuad, Kelapstick.

Thank you to everyone for your consideration. —Neotarf (talk) 01:55, 31 December 2017 (UTC)

Hi Neotarf. I've just allowed your message through the mailing list moderation and acknowledged that we've received it; it's been circulated to the rest of the Committee. To clarify one point: Basically everyone who writes a message to the Arbitration Committee's various email lists receives a bounce notification letting them know that their email is being held for moderation. This is because the mailing list receives quite a lot of spam emails, and so letting everything through would flood every arbitrator's email account with spam emails about walk-in bathtubs and army-grade penlights (not sure why we receive so many of these in particular...) Moderation unfortunately does introduce a delay, since someone has to manually check through all the emails in the queue, but any email that is legitimately intended for the Arbitration Committee and is not a spam or abuse email is let through fairly quickly. GorillaWarfare (talk) 02:27, 31 December 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for your prompt reply, GW, and thank you for letting me know the email has been circulated to the committee. I did not receive any automated notice of this.
It is unfortunate there is so much spam on the mailing lists, it seems this makes it a poor vehicle for the appeal process. I know of one mailing list that received more than 900 emails in the last two weeks of December alone, from a bot named Ryan that wanted to teach them to read Korean in 15 minutes. And 3000 spam emails had just been removed the month before. The dashboard does not have an option for bulk removal either, they have to be removed one by one. If you look the info page for the arbcom list, you will see the entire email address displayed, instead of using (AT) or the ampersand template: {{@}}. I should think this makes it very easy for spammers. I would change it myself, but I don't see any way to edit the page or any contact info for support.
So, how can we go forward from here? —Neotarf (talk) 21:44, 31 December 2017 (UTC)

Appeal (going forward)[edit]

The arbitration committee has indicated by email, dated Dec 31, 2016, that they are willing to consider an appeal in this case, but the other matters are outside their remit. So the bulk of the appeal is posted below, for transparency of communications, with a few details to be added by email for privacy reasons.

I would add that although the usual practice on English Wikipedia is for discussions to be closed by someone who is uninvolved, in this case the arbitrator who presented evidence against me in the original case also voted on the merits of that evidence in the case, and may also be voting on the merits of this appeal.

Initial statement[edit]

The arbitration committee has made some very serious accusations against me. In some places, these offenses carry prison time, in others, they can prevent someone from working.

If you look at the requirements for membership in the Board of Trustees[3], for example, you will find that members must be of good character, which includes, "You must not have been removed from a position at a non-profit organization or other company because of mismanagement or misconduct."

These accusations made against me are not backed up with evidence. Even worse, no one has tried to discuss them with me, either on my talk page, or in a dispute resolution forum, prior to bringing them to arbitration. As I understand it, arbitration is for matters that the community has tried and failed to solve.

The accusations are in two groups. One group was presented by user:Two Kinds of Pork (TKOP) [4], who obtained them with a program he wrote that collected IP addresses, which he said he wrote to retaliate against me for asking him for diffs. [5] These were presented during the evidence phase of the WP:ARBGGTF case, but the community could not find anything wrong with them.

The other group was added by arbitrator Worm That Turned, after the evidence phase had closed, and the evidence page locked to prevent editing. No one informed me that new accusations had been made, or that new evidence had been presented, and there was no public discussion.

Background[edit]

There are two incidents and two prior cases that may have some bearing on this.

  • A comment by user:Hell in a Bucket (HIAB) [6] posted on July 2014 on Jimmy Wales' talk page that contained offensive and discriminatory terms for underrepresented groups. This led to the Civility arbitration case request.
  • The Civility arbitration case, requested August 1, 2014 and declined August 11, 2014. [7]
  • Banning policy case, opened September 2, 2014 , closed Oct. 12, 2014. [8] After the Civility case was turned down, HIAB started posting profanity and templates on my talk page, in spite of my requests to stay away, and following me from one place to anther on Wikipedia, deleting my edits and calling me childish names. I posted some diffs for this on the workshop page of this case, mostly because Worm That Turned was working on that page, and I knew Worm had worked with a lot of youngsters in his adoption program. HIAB seemed really young, and I thought Worm would help him. But it didn't get any traction, HIAB continued following me, and Worm introduced some of this material into the unrelated Gender case two months later.
  • Edit war on NewYorkBrad's talk page, August 26, 2014. This was related to a discussion about pejorative terms relating to physical or mental illness that I attempted to start with NewYorkBrad on his talk page, but was repeatedly reverted by HIAB with an edit summary that indicted "now ended discussion". [9] Since three reverts is defined as an edit war, and HIAB had two admins with him, I stopped trying to have the conversation after two attempts, but my inability to correct the misinformation in that conversation was later inserted in to the Gender case, and used as rationale for a site ban, and to prominently associate my name with psychiatric disorders on the front of the case page. I might add that my edits to NYB's talk page were made while I was still in transit returning from the funeral of someone who had just lost a lifelong battle with mental illness, and Wikipedia's role and responsibility for this issue was a discussion I very much wanted to initiate with someone who had deep a background with Wikipedia's history of policy.

Here is one of my statements from the Banning Policy case page that is more representative of my views than the mischaracterizations that were made about me in this case. [10]:

It is offensive to use terms like "retarded" and "passive aggressive" as an ad hom to label editors you do not agree with. These types of words should not be used indiscriminately, and certainly not as a personal attack on another user.

Understanding of ban[edit]

According to the instructions for appealing bans[11], ban appeals are supposed to demonstrate "understanding problems that led to the ban and contain plans for future editing." Unfortunately I don't have a clue. Usually when an arbitration case is requested, the person who wants to name someone as a party presents diffs to show the reason and given some time to respond to the evidence. In my case, I was named by an anonymous person . After some inquiry, the clerk received permission to inform me that the person who named me to the case was arbitrator Salvio giuliano. No evidence was presented, so I still have no idea why I was named to the case.

I could get no answers for this on wiki during the arbitration case, or perhaps I would have known better how to respond, but sometimes arbitrators are willing to answer questions on the Wikipedia criticism blogs that cater to paid editors, so I was able to ask Worm That Turned on one of those websites if he could explain the accusations. He could not, and he did not respond to my question about how he obtained the diffs he posted.

So perhaps the arbitration committee can explain these to me. Here they are. I have indicated which ones were generated by a software program, and which ones were added after the evidence phase of the case was closed, and thus not subjected to public evaluation:

To start with, I would like to know what naming policy I am supposed to have violated, and the precise words of the policy that show this.

Just to highlight another question, here I added "NSFW" to a talk page header [49] in response to this edit [50], that contains a vulgar word for female reproductive system, on a talk page of a project that is supposed to be for welcoming women to Wikipedia. Most people would consider this a courtesy, for people who might want to read Wikipedia at work.

I don't understand this. The arbitration committee will not even consider a case about vulgar words that express hate for minority groups, but "NSFW" is grounds for a site ban.

Everything here I have written without a diff I believe to be undisputed, but it is impossible to anticipate every question in advance. If further diffs are needed, let me know and I will attempt to provide further clarification.

Thank you for your consideration. —Neotarf (talk) 00:38, 8 January 2018 (UTC)

Hi Neotarf, could you let us know here what the result of the appeal is, if possible? Thanks in advance, Raystorm (talk) 13:18, 15 January 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for the specific invitation and for the above additional comments. If you don't mind, it would be easier to focus on the governance issues after the appeal portion has concluded.
Just as an update to the appeal process, I have submitted private evidence to the arbitration committee (this was not permitted during the original case), which they have indicated to me has been circulated to the committee, and have also submitted the portion of the above commentary that pertains to the appeal by email, at their request, which is still pending. They were not able to provide an estimated timeline. It is also not clear who these emails are being circulated to, since the new committee members were put in place after the request, but from the statement on the arbitration committee page, it would appear to be the new committee members. —Neotarf (talk) 19:11, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

Close of "chairwiki"[edit]

Hello Board members (especially Schiste)...I'm wondering if you could have a look at phabricator:T184961 and let me know your thoughts on chair.wikimedia.org (aka chairwiki). As outlined on the task: this appears to be an unused wiki that hasn't been touched in over a decade. I'd like to close it, if possible. The little bit of content would be retained, and we could arrange to migrate it to boardwiki or something if you'd like. A response here or on the ticket either is just fine--thanks! 😂 (talk) 03:21, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

OH NO, NOT CHAIRWIKI!!! I totally forgot such wiki existed, and I actually don't have access to it. I should first check what is on it before approving of that I guess. Thank you for the ping moved to phabricator for the rest of the discussion Schiste (talk) 17:32, 24 January 2018 (UTC)

Gang Culture vs Neutrality Issue[edit]

"Wikipedia:Neutral point of view is the most important rule in changing pages.

Anyone can change articles without making a username.

The "wiki process" is the way to decide what is put on the project. See WP:CONSENSUS."

The problem you have is a few longterm wiki friends or even very smart sock puppets are removing large amount of content regardless of it having good source or not, blocking good people (who then have to create new accounts) and then targeting them as "persistent sock puppetry" and "vandalism".

I used to have confidence in Wikipedia but I am now starting to doubt the credibility and nutrality of the information because the few people have gained enough power to abuse and skew the way they want to and as they have the knowledge of the system they make full advantage of their knowledge to skew subjects.

For fairness and public trust I feel you should look at C.Fred/Favonian/Bishonen/Ms Sarah Welch and all their work with a suspicious eye.

Policing what information is added is a good thing however the fact is when a few people who work as a group blindly protect each others edit and decisions to block people and lock pages then what you have is a form of gang culture and abuse to the point you might as well lock all the pages and have a permission system put in place.

I have to create more ID's to fight their abuse but I am sure many people just stay off wikipedia learning how these gangs operate.

Please look into this before this post is also removed by them. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by WPQUACK (talk) 18:39, 22. Jan. 2018‎

The Foundation Board does not get involved in individual editing disputes and administrative blocks. That aside, it was not difficult to locate your other accounts and the dispute you are involved in. When you are unanimously opposed by a dozen or more editors, including multiple administrators, by a former member of ARBCOM, and other long standing and respected members of the editing community, you should consider the possibility that your edits have indeed been incompatible with various policies and community expectations on how the encyclopedia should be written. Among those problems, it is considered inappropriate to delete large blocks of well-sourced sourced content and replace it with large quantities of primary source religious scripture. Alsee (talk) 23:54, 25 January 2018 (UTC)

Then you join in to target and remove content SUBJECTIVELY rather than OBJECTIVELY! (23:15, 25 January 2018‎ Alsee (talk | contribs)‎ . . (11,060 bytes) (-866)‎ Undid revision 812468260 by SourceOnly The reason for migration failed WP:V & appears false. Unsourced claim about Devi & Kalki. Also travelogue is a weak source & doesn't say especially known for Parsi.)

No surprise https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Wikipedia and other websites are rising fast.

You do not see "Ms Sarah Welch"'s block removal of content as "policy" violation?

As I said Gang Culture.

NOTE: NO NEED TO ANSWER.

WMF Funding Transparency (Grants)[edit]

Hello! I have tried to find detailed information about major grants received by the WMF. It seems that the WMF doesn't disclose most of it. There are undisclosed grantmakers, amounts and grant purpose. It's not only that the level of transparency is low, but it seems it has been reduced in recent years: received grants, with their amounts and purposes, were briefly disclosed here and there, now there seems to be a higher amount of undisclosed information. I have created a detailed list of grants on the Grants given to Wikimedia Foundation page to help gathering the available data in a single place, but I would like to suggest some improvements to the BoT:

  1. Disclose all information on grants that are currently not subject to confidentiality. That's just a first step. It seems that the WMF withholds grant data on donor privacy grounds, even when the donor makes the data public in their grantmaking site, or even when it is already reported to the US Government in 990 Forms and already available online (just with ~2 years of delay).
  2. Change the policy to not accept any restricted grant. This has been discussed in the past multiple times, but information requests here were dismissed most of the time. There might be a case for anonymous unrestricted grants, but there isn't for restricted ones. Restricted grants make the grantmaker influence the direction of the WMF beyond any community control.
  3. Add a threshold for anonymous grants/gifts. A ~$1,000 donation by an individual is worth keeping anonymous for privacy reasons. A six figures donation from a large organization is not. That's not "privacy", that's making accountability on conflicts of interests de facto impossible.

I think these proposals offer a minimum transparency that might be easy to get consensus on. In fact, reading past conversations, it seems these already have consensus in the community (not in the WMF though). Thanks! --MarioGom (talk) 12:30, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Hi MarioGom,
Thanks for your message. Let me say that the Board of Trustees takes our responsibility to our donors and our community very seriously. As per the Wikimedia Foundation Gift policy, we review all gifts over $250,000 USD and all gifts offered with restrictions, regardless of amount (i.e., restricted gifts). All of the grants on the table you created listed as "Purpose: Undisclosed" were/are unrestricted grants to the Wikimedia Foundation. They were given by the donors without conditions on how they should be spent in support of the Foundation's mission, and were applied toward the general operating costs of the Foundation. Donors giving over $1,000 USD are given the option of disclosing their support publicly on the Wikimedia Foundation site. Some chose not to be listed for privacy reasons or our of humility. The vast majority of large gifts to the Foundation are unrestricted, and the very few restricted gifts serve an important role for our revenue mix.
We share a lot of information about the restricted grants that we do receive. You can read about the two restricted gifts we received last year in the annual fundraising report and on the blog. So while it could be interesting to debate internally some or all of the points you make - and the Board does ongoing reviews of its practices to continually improve and better serve our Movement and our donors -, and possibly have the Audit Committee lead a cost-benefit analysis about them, you will understand some slight pushback towards the premises of lack of transparency or efforts from WMF. Kind regards, Raystorm (talk) 13:50, 21 March 2018 (UTC)
Hi Raystorm! Thank you for your response. I really appreciate the clarifications. Note that while I do think that the level of transparency is lacking, I do not think it is because of lack of effort or interest on your side (and of course, I thank you for all the effort you all volunteer). My impression is that it's more about differing views about transparency and privacy. I think privacy does not apply to companies and non-profits. Of course, most countries guarantee some level of secrecy for organizations (e.g. trade secrets for companies), but IMHO it's a trade-off between accountability and organizational secrecy (both from the WMF and non-individual donors), not privacy. In any case, I'm happy to hear that you're open to consider improvements on this area. Thank you. Best, --MarioGom (talk) 18:32, 22 March 2018 (UTC)
Legal persons don't have privacy rights, indeed: there was a clear ruling about this in Italy, which I assume is consistent with EU law; the relevant directive makes a distinction between privacy rights of persons and "legitimate interests" of legal persons. Then of course things may change. --Nemo 22:24, 23 March 2018 (UTC)