Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard

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Board of Trustees Board noticeboard Archives
Welcome to the Board of Trustees' noticeboard. This is a message board for discussing issues related to Wikimedia Foundation governance and policies, and related Board work. Please post messages at the bottom of the page and sign them.
  • For details on the Board's role and processes, see the board manual.
  • This page is automatically archived by MiszaBot. Threads older than 90 days will be moved to the archive.

Discussion on WMF governance and Board process[edit]

There's a discussion on making WMF governance (at least at the Board level) more transparent and participatory here, stemming from a discussion on wikimedia-l. SJ talk  19:53, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Advocacy Committee request[edit]

How to respond to or evaluate this concern broadcast from It:WP? in trouble once again this time worse than last year. It would be something for the advocacy committee to deal with if we had one (as discussed last winter). SJ talk  00:34, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

Why can't these board committees be opened up to volunteers along with the board? it seems logical that this would bring in an outside perspective and generate the impetus towards getting them functional. Theo10011 (talk) 14:27, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Most committees have community members, some are community run. Only the HR and Board Governance committees do not. Many proposed committees (like Events) are proposed to be community run, and active community interest would make them happen quickly. I think the bottleneck here i's uncertainty about whether an advocacy Committee should exist, and what work it would do. (PS: Trustees are volunteers as well; so almost all WMF committee members are volunteers... :) SJ talk  01:38, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

Personally, I would view this as an issue that Wikimedia Italia should be responsible for looking after, rather than it becoming a WMF board issue. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 01:41, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
There was an explicit request from the it:wp community for attention from communities outside of Italy. So the question is: how should the global community respond in such cases? There are arguments that the WMF should not get involved in any sort of global advocacy. But if it did, I expect this is a topic such a committee would be aware of. I'm taking the opportunity to nudge that tabled discussion, which has been on the Board agenda to revisit sometime this year. SJ talk  01:49, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
I was referring to these committees [1], along with the election committee, and a possible future advocacy committee. I can see both arguments but is there any harm in opening up the board committees? The audit committee already has volunteer who oversee finances to a degree. I don't understand the practice of picking 3 board member from 10 each year from the same group, to present to the other 8. There is little outside perspective in that. It could be argued that all 3 board committees would be served better if the entire board followed those issues instead of just 3 members. Adding in experts and other volunteer to the group is something I think might be beneficial and worth considering. But then again, it might be too much access and there are privacy concerns. BTW has the it.wp issue been brought up on the new advocacy list or to the recently created advocacy department? Theo10011 (talk)

OTRS address[edit]

On Democratizing the Wikimedia Foundation it's been said that the OTRS address is functional again. If true, please add this method of contact, at a minimum, on this page, Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, the navigational template and wmf:Board of Trustees. Thanks, Nemo 12:46, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Since experience is that the general address is mostly used by spam and most personal mails are not best addressed to the board (mainly better to staff or even community) we've discussed to add the information (individual mail addresses and general address) to the foundation's page and it should be done in a few days. --Alice Wiegand (talk) 13:07, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your answer, it's definitely a (simple and small) improvement. I hope that the process to ask a topic to be discussed by the board will also be set up in the coming months as suggested by Sj.
In my opinion a reliable private way to contact board members is still needed and would be worth a try given that the times are so different now (as Delphine noted). I had an example email with which I intended to inaugurate the OTRS queue; I've forwarded it to you with a mild disappointment. ;-) Thanks, Nemo 15:41, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Personal and Moral Rights?[edit]

In a discussion with Jimmy Wales on the moral rights of the photographers and the personal rights of the subjects, he said "I think that the commons community has gone down a very sad and disappointing path with respect to ethical matters. My views on this are not new, and are well known. Our project is a grand humanitarian effort. That it has been hijacked by people who do not share our values is something that needs to be fixed."

We further requested him to bring this matter to the attention of WMF and make a resolution or something to force Commons make enough policies to protect our rights as a photographer and our commitments to our subjects. He replied: "I am just one board member on this issue. I will continue to call this to the attention of the board and staff, but I need help from the community to illustrate that this is a problem that concerns many of us."

So we would like to bring that discussion to the attention of every member on board.

Further, please note somewhat related discussions at Commons too: Concern about the bureaucrat role of Russavia and Commons:Bureaucrats/Requests/Russavia_(de-Bureaucrat).

One admin even exclaimed in that discussion: "I find this rather an interesting discussion but what I find really intriguing is for all the "official" concerns being raised about Russavia's competence as a representative with authority within Commons this isnt being backup by the action of WMF. The reason being is that if there is such official concern over Russavia actions and representations of the community does he continue in a position of trust with OTRS having access to personal information and answer emails sent to the Foundation."

I would like to let you know that some of your strong opinions in your individual talk pages ([2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7]) influenced the Commons community to initiate a discussion to develop a policy for courtesy deletions.

We expect resolutions, guidance, opinions, and participation in the development of similar policies and guidelines in future too. Thanks. JKadavoor Jee 16:08, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

I agree that the WMF should be more vocal and possibly specific with the community at commons as well as other projects. They normally have a 'hands off' approach but if they could be more vocal and specific then that may save us time in discussions crafting the wording of any new policies and guidelines.--Canoe1967 (talk) 15:29, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Hey Jkadavoor, just wanted to post that I did see this question (and the same question that you posted on our individual talk pages). Probably better to answer here. I'm sympathetic to the request for guidance, but struggling a little in what form that guidance would take beyond (e.g.) the resolutions that we passed a couple years ago on this subject. I'm also not 100% sure what precisely you're asking for here as there seem to be a few issues mixed up: courtesy deletions, how we treat privacy and moral rights of subjects, and working through editor disputes and bad behavior. Maybe other members involved with these conversations can help clarify. I will say that on the face of it, without having reviewed the policy and implications closely, a courtesy deletion policy seems like a good, common-sense thing to implement. -- phoebe | talk 15:55, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Phoebe for the reply. The only intention behind giving links to an example is to give you an idea about the problems we are currently facing. We already have the resolutions Images of identifiable people and Resolution:Biographies of living people; but many people in Commons think that the BLP resolution is only intended for Wikipedia and the IIP resolution covers only photos of people taken in private places. So I think we need a proper resolution that covers all the concerns regarding the dignity requirements of photographs of an identifiable living person that can be hosed in Commons. Then we can develop a Courtesy deletions policy to delete files that not satisfying the requirements. Otherwise some people argue to keep everything as now (if they are legally eligible without considering any ethical considerations); so no chance for a clear consensus in this matter. JKadavoor Jee 07:55, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Hi Jkadavoorle, thanks for pointing me to this discussion. I've been giving it a lot of thought these last days. So, in your informed opinion as a Commons user, you really think that a BLP amendment by the Board to explicitely include Commons is going to prevent and resolve the problems Commons is, in your own words, currently facing? Raystorm (talk) 15:48, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
I think so after reading several comments/arguments form some people in Commons (Commons_talk:Courtesy_deletions, Commons:Deletion_requests/File:JRKRUK_20130829_ALFRED_MIODOWICZ_BUSKO_IMG_3314.jpg, Commons:Deletion_requests/File:Jimmy_Wales_by_Pricasso_(the_making_of).ogv, etc.).
At Commons:Deletion_requests/File:Jimmy_Wales_by_Pricasso_(the_making_of).ogv, Tsui stated "It's a form of harassment. The sole purpose of the painting and the "making of" ist to harass J. Wales. Loading up quite a lot of photos of identifyable people myself, I would never even think about purposely publishing content to embarrass and annoy the one depicted." and Canoe1967 replied "We don't have a policy nor guideline to delete on these grounds yet. If the subject doesn't like the video then he can request removal through OTRS. This is the same as a DCMA takedown where the rights holder or legal rep have to formally make the request to WMF." Further he/she said "The ethical issues may come into play later once we have a courtesy deletion guideline in place. As it stands now we can keep any image that is legal in FLA. The WMF requested ethical guidelines from all projects but we have yet to create one here." But White Cat opposed that argument "Please do not pretend as if it is certain that the proposal will pass. There are some of us that outright oppose the idea."
At Commons:Deletion_requests/File:JRKRUK_20130829_ALFRED_MIODOWICZ_BUSKO_IMG_3314.jpg also we can see entirely contradicting arguments. There some people argued there is nothing wrong in using the picture of a weeping father (identifiable living person) as an example of Grief whereas many including the closing admin took the stand "it is better to respect the privacy of a mourning father." (thanks, the wise admin.)
At Commons_talk:Courtesy_deletions, we can see many supporting an opposing arguments. The argument of Tom Morris seems interesting to me. He said "I think that reasonable people should be empowered to deal with these kinds of cases quietly and without incident. One problem is dealing with them in a way that won't cause Streisand effect style problems for subjects." which was supported by Canoe1967 too ("A good method may be to empower WMF or OTRS to quietly have these images deleted by an admin.").
But currently Legal_and_Community_Advocacy/Legal_Policies#Office_Actions #7 says "As a general matter, disputes regarding biographies of living persons or defamation should be resolved by the Community, including the Email Response Team (OTRS). See (or equivalent policies in other Projects). An office action by the Wikimedia Foundation – which should be approved by the Office of the General Counsel -- may be appropriate if community actions have not been effective and legal considerations require such action." This advice also has a tone that it is only meant for Wikipedia; not for other projects.
So I humbly request the Board to make a BLP amendment to explicitly include Commons to prevent and resolve the problems Commons is currently facing. Thanks, JKadavoor Jee 07:51, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

A somewhat related discussion is started at commons:Commons:Bureaucrats'_noticeboard#Biographies_of_Living_Persons_and_Defamation too. JKadavoor Jee 06:44, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Thanks all for this amended resolution. JKadavoor Jee 06:11, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Comment: this amendment was drafted in October and approved at the November Board meeting. SJ talk  04:38, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

Letter of institutional commitment[edit]


I am preparing a grant application to the United States National Endowment for the Humanities. Their funding program is called the "Enduring Questions" program which has a September 12, 2013, deadline. The grant is to prepare and teach an enduring questions course at Wikiversity. The question chosen is "What are "dominant group" and the concepts behind it?"

The application guidelines states, "A letter (from the president, provost, dean, program chair, or department chair at the institution at which the course will be taught) MUST certify 1) that the institution supports the proposed course; 2) that the course is new; and 3) that during the grant period it will be offered at least twice by each faculty member involved in developing it. Ideally, this letter would also explain the importance of the course within the institution’s overall curriculum."

Subject to the Board's answer to this guidelines request, I will include their quote with the application.

Presently, I am planning to include "Wikiversity is a Wikimedia Foundation project devoted to learning resources, learning projects, and research for use in all levels, types, and styles of education from pre-school to university, including professional training and informal learning. We invite teachers, students, and researchers to join us in creating open educational resources and collaborative learning communities. To learn more about Wikiversity, try a guided tour or start editing now." from the Wikiversity Main Page. This may be sufficient or not. Comments, criticism, yeas or nays, welcome.--Marshallsumter (talk) 00:15, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

Hello Marshall, this sounds like an interesting project and I hope it succeeds. The institution here seems to be Wikiversity, and the closest equivalent to a program chair might be a custodian. You need confirmation that the Wikiversity community supports the proposed course, and an explanation of the importance of a course on dominant groups within the overall frame of Wikiversity -- both are statements that active Wikiversity curators can make more accurately than the WMF. I suggest that you request a letter there.
Have you discussed your grant proposal on Wikiversity? Do you have fellow editors there who can support your proposal in this way? You might start with a colloquium post that lays out your plan, and asserts the things you want the letter to say: that this is unlike other courses on WV, that you will offer it twice, and that you have support from others. SJ talk  17:29, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
I posted on the Wikiversity:Colloquium as NEH Proposal on September 9, 2013. I also shortened the question to "What is a dominant group and the forces behind it?" when the proposal was submitted on September 12, 2013. The proposal was successfully received and assigned an agency tracking number. So far, so good. --Marshallsumter (talk) 19:53, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Included in the Wikiversity Colloquium post are links to the proposal sections and NEH requirements. Courses have been hosted before at Wikiversity for specific periods such as semesters or quarters. If you look specifically at the letter of institutional commitment, I let NEH know that I would present the course in the manner they wanted as well as in the dynamic mode that principles of radiation astronomy is being prepared and presented. I also sent emails to the WMF Board and the board's Wikimedia outlet. The latter responded positively and suggested the email to the board, the former did not respond at all, probably leaving it up to the local (Wikiversity) community. I hope my efforts have not created any problems for WMF or Wikiversity. --Marshallsumter (talk) 19:53, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Here's a partial content from Wikimedia Answers per Maggie Dennis, "If you are just seeking comment from us on the statement you plan to include, I think the description of Wikiversity is concise and accurate to the Wikimedia Foundation's intentions. If you are also intending by your email to ask for a letter from the Board to fulfill that point from the guideline, you may want to contact the Board itself. They can be reached at I would recommend putting something in your subject line indicating that this has a close deadline just to ensure that it receives a timely response."--Marshallsumter (talk) 20:35, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Community health review?[edit]

I am concerned that we get indication that several smaller communities and related projects are taken over by special interest group. We heard it of Kazachstan and Azerbadjan that the "governement" is stepping in as community, and there are other smaller that halfroumour says it has taken over by special interest group. The same discussion on Wikimedia-l is also stating that when the actice participant on a project is getting below a critical mass, say 20-30 making 100+ edits/month, the risk of it being hijacked is there. And I see it as risk for the movement if a project is run against our five basic policies, that this can cause really bad publicity. Is there any thoughts that the board could initiate a review of the health of the community/projects with focus on the smaller ones, but perhaps encompassing all? Anders Wennersten (talk) 16:19, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

Hi Anders, this is not something I had picked up on, and I will bring it to the attention of the board so that we can decide if we need to deal with this in some structured way. To be continued! Jan-Bart (talk) 16:40, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
This is a good idea to do regularly - not just for small wikis being taken over, but larger ones that may be losing energy, or facing a crisis; or wikis growing very fast, in need of different kinds of help (commons and wikidata, I'm looking at you). the Board can publicize and help kick this off, but this calls for language-work and collaboration. most communities do have people interested in helping contribute to such reviews, if we come up with a simple way to do it without simply hashing over local drama. SJ talk  16:32, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Non-community elected chair[edit]

We were invited to comment wmf:Minutes/2013-08-07 here. My question is simple: was there any particular reason to break the long-standing tradition of electing a community-elected board member as chair? Thanks. --Nemo 18:14, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

HI Nemo, I looked at that page and it looked impossible to comment so referred people here (did I miss a comment page somewhere and therefore this comment?). About your second comment I can only state that I think that the board ought to choose the candidate thats best fit to lead the board for the coming year, regardless of the way they joined the board. And apparently the rest of the board agreed with this, but maybe (hopefully) they will chime in. Jan-Bart (talk) 16:39, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
Even the longest traditions are broken from time to time :-) While there are benefits to this particular tradition, Jan-Bart substituted efficiently as chair when needed last year; has a great deal of time to dedicate now, as we face many tight deadlines; and has been thoughtful and effective so far. So I feel we made a solid decision. SJ talk  17:05, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
+1 -- phoebe | talk 20:14, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Invitation to comment about openly licensed media for each Wikimania presentation[edit]

I would like to request interested members to comment at the Wikimedia Forum about what can be done to ensure videos/slides are accessible for Wikimania 2014, to know what is going on with backlogs associated with pending reviews across Wikimedia projects, and the enabling of tabs in the language of one's own choice. Thanks. I think I'm done starting threads for the day on meta. Thank you for your time. Biosthmors (talk) 10:21, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

Those other two are in process. I apologize to raise three subjects to your attention when it appears only one is necessary at this point. Thank you. Biosthmors (talk) 13:00, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Per this email, I'd like to raise the possibility that the Board consider finding a way to make Wikimania 2014 speeches/presentations all recorded and openly licensed for release online. I haven't seen any comments on my concerns yet at the Forum. Also, will the Board be publishing the agenda for the next meeting on this noticeboard? I would like to suggest doing so here. My impression from the WMF Board portal is out of date. Should it be reduced down to something simple, like a disambiguation page, with maybe 8 links? Or should it be redirected here? I don't understand why the board needs both a portal and a noticeboard. If we make the top of the noticeboard act as the portal, then we'll avoid the duplication of effort. Best. Biosthmors (talk) 17:45, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi Biosthmors, that's a good point about combining the portal and the noticeboard... it is difficult to keep pages up to date. As for the meetings, we generally send the agenda out on wikimedia-l and can publish it here as well. It's generally finalize only a couple of weeks before the meeting. As for the wikimania talks... that's not really the board's area; it's something that the local organizers of the conference are responsible for ensuring happens. Thanks! -- phoebe | talk 20:11, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
@Phoebe:, I respectfully think that this is WMF's area. Expecting the Hong Kong Chapter, for example, to organize this is not really realistic when they're already struggling. If the Debian foundation, which has around $100k in revenue, can do this and keep it quite organized and accessible going back for years, I don't see why WMF can't do it. ImperfectlyInformed (talk) 21:13, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough, though I said it wasn't the *board's* area -- there's a lot that the WMF does that's not the Board's area, and this is the Board noticeboard. The Board has zero hand in organizing Wikimania; we don't decide the budget, or anything else. That said, I don't really think it's entirely WMF's area either, though if there are ways we can help we should; there's some confusion here over the scope and role the WMF has in organizing Wikimania, which is a collaboratively run but still volunteer-led conference. -- phoebe | talk 19:49, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Undeclared conflicts of interest[edit]

has raised very pertinent questions here, and has now publicly raised the issue for the Wikimedia UK organisation to address at its next board meeting.

I am urging the Wikimedia Foundation board inline with its commitment to its core value of transparency, to instruct employees, contractors and trustees, and the Foundation itself, to publicly declare any current or past paid editing activities, or related unpaid advocacy that may represent a potential conflict of interest, or other conflicts of interest which could bring the Foundation into disrepute, with a public declaration being required regardless of whether any conflict of interest exists. Russavia (talk) 15:46, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

  • Procedural note: Russavia has publicised this discussion on wikimedia-l and IRC with notifications saying "If anyone wishes to support this please feel free to do so on the noticeboard" and "feel free to support it there if you wish". Fluffernutter (talk) 16:28, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
    • And of course, feel free to comment/discuss. Russavia (talk) 16:33, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
I've been asked privately about my own paid projects while I was employed by the Wikimedia Foundation. As I described in a 2012 interview published in the Wikipedia Signpost, I did work do independent paid Wikipedia work in that time. (From memory, I believe the project described there was the only instance; but I will review my notes and follow up if there were others. Due to client agreements, I may not be at liberty to fully disclose specific instances, but I will clearly announce if I worked for other clients in my time at WMF.) But in general: I did discuss this work ahead of time with my immediate supervisor, as well as other senior WMF staff. In addition, I have recently published a statement of ethics on my web site; while it wasn't formalized back in 2010, the principles were the same. -Pete F (talk) 18:55, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
Upon review, I did receive payment on one other project, in which I advised on Wikipedia engagement, during my time at WMF; I believe (but am not 100% certain) that all my work on that project was complete prior to my employment by WMF. -Pete F (talk) 20:56, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
  • I'd second making COI situations more clearly documented, and to do so publicly wherever possible. For a working approach here, see WMUK's declaration of interest page. It would be great to see something similar from the WMF. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:17, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
    Hello Mike. I like the WMUK approach, and I do think that we want to move towards encouraging and welcoming transparency on all COI issues. To the extent that our publicly-visible entities can set an example for other parts of the movement, we should do so. I'm not sure we need to mandate it (do you at WMUK?) but a declarations of interest page is thoughtful. A user-space infobox listing affiliations might help as well: there is a positive way to describe one's affiliations without calling them "conflicts" while at the same time recognizing that one's contributions may be understood in that context. SJ talk  05:25, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
    Yes, Wikimedia UK do mandate public declarations for any financial or relevant non-financial declaration of interest unless there is a documented rationale given to the board of trustees that it is a private matter of no special public interest and not a reputational risk to the charity; this applies to trustees, employees and contractors and is both retrospective (e.g. an interest with a supplier of the charity from ten years ago, may still be relevant to declare publicly) and forward looking (e.g. a trustee considering being paid by a supplier or partner of the charity should inform the board before entering discussions with the supplier or partner, and would probably accept their resignation). My proposal to WMUK's board of trustees is to make this practice more firmly visible in policy, eliminate some current ambiguities and therefore less subject to whims of interpretation of trustees, with potential for error, as board members change from year to year. As a past Chairperson, I can assure you that any type of financial interest or loyalty related to Wikimedia organizations or projects would require a public declaration of interest. Situations where a declaration might be accepted in confidence to the board of trustees and not made publicly, might be when a partner or close family member had a interest, even then an interest such as the CEO's husband or daughter being a contractor with a supplier of the charity would require a public declaration due to the potential for any later claim that the board of trustees was effectively complicit in a cover-up of an inappropriate conflict of loyalties.
Should a trustee, employee or contractor have failed to make a relevant declaration before taking up their post, then a later declaration to the board of trustees or pubicly, just because circumstances have forced their hand, may not be sufficient for them to retain their position even if the interest might have been considered manageable had they declared it in a timely way. Wikimedia UK now benefits from having a Governance Committee, this avoids the unnecessary stress on the Chairperson to make every final call on actions required resulting from declarations of interest, and means there is straightforward way of assessing declarations where the board may be required to assess its own members.
By the way, in terms of wording, I find it helps to use the term "declaration of interest" and "conflict of loyalties" rather than focussing on "conflict of interest"; this avoids the false thinking that just because a relationship is non-financial or may have been years in the past it no longer needs a public declaration.
Note, the first point of review for declarations of interests and loyalties for employees and contractors is the delegated responsibility of the CEO. If the CEO failed to escalate or review these appropriately with the board of trustees, then the CEO would be considered responsible. This gives some confidence in a situation where the first that trustees hear of a problem is reading about it in the newspapers on the day the employee resigns from their post, they will hold the CEO to account.
SJ, will you make a commitment to take a proposal forward to the board that makes the WMF at least as excellent and thorough as Wikimedia UK is in handling and requiring public declarations of interests for trustees, employees and contractors? This would put to bed a lot of the community's concerns about apparent WMF doublethink which by some has been seen as hypocritical, particularly if, say, it is revealed that trustees are not subject to the same high standards with regard to managing and declaring conflicts of loyalties as employees are seen to be. By the way, should the WMF wish to set up a Governance Committee of a similar type to Wikimedia UK's, I would be happy to put my name forward as someone with a lot of relevant scars. -- (talk) 12:31, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
  • I third the call for transparency re COI, and I think the board needs an official position on undisclosed COIs and paid editing. Currently WMF executive and individual board members are trying to define the threshold, but they have different and conflicting thresholds and terminology. It may be that the board decides each project needs to find its own path in this, as the cost/benefit differs per project. e.g. Paid editing at wikisource doesnt have many negatives. John Vandenberg (talk) 09:17, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
    Currently each project does find its own path in this. What benefit do you see in a Board statement to that effect? SJ talk  06:01, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
  • If I am reading this right, the wmf:conflict of interest policy doesn't apply to staff members. Is there another relevant policy or contract for staff? Sadly WMF contracts with staff are nearly all secret, so we cant know what is or isnt permitted by staff. When the community last asked about the NDA staff had to sign, user:Keegan said he would publish his NDA, unless Legal objected. He didnt publish it. Instead legal uploaded only one snippet of the NDA. I have now asked regarding Non-disparagement clauses at Talk:Non-disclosure agreements#Non-disparagement. It shouldnt be this hard. WMF should be leading the way in transparency. That is far from reality. John Vandenberg (talk) 09:17, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
    Answering both this and the question below: specific questions about policies or contracts you may direct to staff on the wiki, as you have done: they are not questions for the Board.
    The broader question of how we can be more effectively transparent is a good one. I appreciate the specific examples of transparency from chapters and other entities, such as Mike's above. If you have a good example in mind of an org that publishes all of its contracts, I would like to see it. And I understand your frustration, but your spitfire tone when asking for documents may slow down the process: delays in publishing, no less in law than in fiction or code, tend to be tied to the authors' wish to wait to review them One More Time with a critical eye. The less collegial and understanding the audience, the longer that can take. SJ talk  06:01, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Does the WMF have a policy in place forbidding its employees to undertake paid editing? 23:46, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
    • The first question you raise is perfectly valid, from the careful phrasing used by the WMF to date, I have every reason to conclude the answer is no, there is no such employee policy forbidding paid editing. If I were wrong, I am certain that someone would speedily supply a link to prove me wrong. -- (talk) 23:50, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Agenda January 31st-February 1st 2014 Board Meeting[edit]

Automattic Agreement for Blog Hosting Services[edit]

  • I suppose someone has recused and will recuse from any and all discussions on the topic whether private or public, official or unofficial, right? It's not clear to me what the practice is in these cases, do people with COI also leave the room during the discussion?
Yes, Stu has been recused and will continue to not be present for this topic as is our practice. Jan-Bart (talk)
To be clear: this is a very small contract, which would normally never be seen, let alone approved, by the Board. The only reason it was on our agenda was because of the possibility of perceived COI, since Automattic's CFO is on the Board. In general and in this case, people with a COI who would otherwise be in a meeting are recused and excused from the room for related votes.
  • Also, just to check, this is not inconsistent with the current wmf:Privacy policy, is it? The wordpress blog is mentioned at the draft Privacy policy but not in the old one (which however was more specific).

--Nemo 17:46, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Review and Approval vs. Resolution [on][edit]

Why do some items seem to imply/give for granted their outcome, while others don't? --Nemo 17:46, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

You need to give a bit more context ? What do you mean? Jan-Bart (talk) 18:00, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Some things have resolutions attached, others are just approved by a vote or straw poll. Resolutions are more formal; and required in a few cases: for instance, any revision of the Bylaws, or appointment of Trustees. In most cases, the choice of whether a decision is a resolution reflects how much prominence we give the decision, whether it shows up in the list of archived Resolutions as opposed to just the meeting minutes, &c.
Issues that may be decided by staff without Board involvement may be reviewed and approved by the Board, but do not usually get their own resolution: for instance, the staff may update the TM policy at their discretion, but ask the Board to review significant changes. Issues that alter past Board resolutions require their own resolution; for instance the decision to allow the WMF to abandon registration of the community logo, since our general counsel felt that past Board guidance could be read to have mandated registration of the logos of all Sister Projects, including Meta. SJ talk  02:20, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Discussion on Disrupting the Disruptors[edit]

I'm curious about this one. Are we getting into spatial weaponry? :) guillom 18:44, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

no, but thanks for the suggestion... The discussion was actually inspired by: Jan-Bart (talk) 19:18, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
On that front... re: "We need a simpler scratch-space to develop new material". We are actively developing this within Wikipedia. It's the new Draft namespace (blog post, Specifications and future ideas). Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 20:04, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
The draft namespace is a lovely idea. I'm excited to see it take shape, & looking forward to all of the wiki-aspects that could be built on top of this. SJ talk  02:20, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
For the record, such as it is, we covered more ground than the newpedia ideas -- it was a broad discussion about disruptive technologies that could/are affecting the future of Wikipedia, and concerns/future directions we have. It was a really good open brainstorming discussion. -- phoebe | talk 19:43, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Page title[edit]

Agenda January 31st-February 1st 2014 Board Meeting should probably be a subpage of the noticeboard? Or a subpage of Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees or something. --MZMcBride (talk) 07:06, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

Now a subpage of the meetings page. SJ talk  02:20, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Discussion on Commons and URAA[edit]

Further to our letter regarding the deletion of images from Commons under URAA, we would love to see this subject discussed in the upcoming board meeting. • Yael Meron (WMIL) • 11:01, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

We did discuss it at the (past) board meeting, thank you Yael. A response from the Board will be coming within the next week. SJ talk  02:20, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
reply is now here. -- phoebe | talk 19:42, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Have you seen how Yann closed the "discussion" on commons:Commons:Massive restoration of deleted images by the URAA?

Yes check.svg Closed as YES. URAA cannot be used as the sole reason for deletion. Deleted files can be restored after a discussion in COM:UDR. Potentially URAA-affected files should be tagged with {{Not-PD-US-URAA}}. Yann (talk) 10:17, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

It seems to me that he must have missed the text "and remove works that are clearly infringing" in this sentence from Legal and Community Advocacy/URAA Statement:

The community should evaluate each potentially affected work using the guidelines issued by the Legal and Community Advocacy Department, as well as the language of the statute itself, and remove works that are clearly infringing.

SamB (talk) 21:52, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

As we said in our statement, "We are not recommending that community members undertake mass deletion of existing content on URAA grounds". Additionally, there is a newer statement than the one you quoted from Legal here that reiterates the point that "WMF does not see a reason to delete content simply because of general concern about the URAA". Yann's closure seems consistent with that principle. -- phoebe | talk 21:29, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
@Phoebe: But Yann seems to be saying we should NEVER delete things just because the URAA has restored their copyright. Isn't that illegal? Are you saying it's okay to break the law? —SamB (talk) 21:53, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
@SamB: hey, I interpreted that as him saying that *concern over potential URAA violation* shouldn't be used as the sole reason to delete stuff, which makes sense -- i.e. just flagging it as potentially URAA-incompatible shouldn't be enough to trigger deletion, which can be quite a disruptive action. URAA is complex, and I am saying preemptive actions (like preemptive deletion) don't seem necessary. It would be worth clarifying on-wiki with Yann if you have concerns about what he was saying, however. -- phoebe | talk 20:13, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
Hi phoebe, I had previously read the WMF statement as not being advice to Commons project administrators. Is the WMF board advising Commons administrators that they can safely refuse to delete URAA breaching material from Commons and can safely undelete images previously deleted on the basis of URAA violations? If so, then this would be a helpful clarification as many contributors seem to read it as a directive and as a result expect and require Commons administrators to take action accordingly. -- (talk) 20:28, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

Resolution specific licensing[edit]

We failed to arrive in a conclusion on how to handle cases when a user grant a free license to a limited size version expecting that he still can sell his original high resolution work to make money. We discussed it in detail here, consulted CC and WMF legal; but still struggling to make a concrete decision. Earlier we all thought that a license is applicable for what is shared there; not applicable to a large size version of it even if found elsewhere. The WMDE community had collected 80,000+ files from Bundesarchiv on this assumption. CC's new comments muddled the situation; but still the relevant copyright law is not clear. So what we have to do now. Please advise. (The summary of that discussion is available here.) Jee 05:10, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

This is a good question. I think a fair solution would be to set Commons & community policy on the matter: deciding what our social norm will be. We can explain our community's interpretation of the CC licenses when we discuss with potential grantors. We should also explain to them that there is some disagreement about how to interpret the license; and that in some jurisdictions granting a CC license on a low-res copy may implicitly grant a license in the high-res copy. This hypothetical has not been tested. For the record, I think that the uncertainty alone will be incentive enough for anyone with the budget to pay for a high-res license to do so.
In the spirit of honoring our community's agreements, my personal view is that our projects should not incorporate high-res images where low-resolution versions have been donated under a CC license to benefit our projects, through an agreement with community curators that implied that low-resolution and high-resolution images could be licensed separately, with only low-resolution versions released under a free license. This would change as soon as higher-resolution versions are made similarly available. So for the Bundesarchiv photos, we should remove high-res images unless the archiv donates those explicitly makes those explicitly available under a free license.
I believe all of this can be resolved by the Commons community. SJ talk  06:08, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Sj for your opinion. Jee 06:29, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Very reasonable approach, @Sj at least for things that are covered by copyright. That neatly avoids the need for fancy legal footwork, speculation, etc. I strongly support that approach. (Though I think you mean, "made available under a free license" rather than "donated to us, no?) In a similar case where, for instance, a GLAM donates low-res versions of a public domain image, and then somebody acquires higher resolution versions in any way, it seems fine to upload them over the low-res versions. -Pete F (talk) 21:54, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
It is the norm for those of us managing partnerships with GLAM and helping GLAMs to get Wikimedia related projects funded to avoid promising to only upload limited resolution images when higher versions are available as this is neither a particularly desirable outcome for our mission to preserve human knowledge, nor can we stop volunteers from uploading higher resolution material (whether PD, CC0 or other license), and gives the impression that there are ethical and realistic remunerative reasons for GLAMs to use Commons as a way of promoting their on-line retail business which charges the public for higher resolution versions. If we really wanted to allow this, then we should enable Commons as a front-end for Getty Images as this perfectly fits the same world-view.
This has been thrashed out in the past, so I would rather any detailed discussion be held on Commons where others might notice and contribute rather than on meta with our limited community here. -- (talk) 12:57, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
+1 Fae, plus we should mention that this isn't within the remit of the Board, because it is judgement on how our projects manage their content. Russavia (talk) 13:02, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
True. My good faith assumption was that SJ was not speaking here as a WMF Trustee, but as a regular Commons contributor. It would be good to have the ambiguity removed so we avoid the words of SJ being misrepresented in another place. -- (talk) 13:12, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
Pete: I clarified my comment, thank you. Fae: Thanks for pointing out the recent norms of working with media partners.
As I said above, I believe all of this can (and should) be resolved by the Commons community. Let's have any further discussion there. Regards, SJ talk  21:44, 17 April 2014 (UTC)