Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2007/Candidates/Frieda/questions
Ads, branding, business dev., GHGs.
- On the board, will you vote for ads on Wikimedia sites?
- only for a huge amount of money
- only during budget emergencies
- only if editors support it
- What are your thoughts on Wikimedia branding?
- What are your thoughts on the foundation's hiring of a business developer?
- How would you vote on the board about the foundation reducing or offsetting anthropogenic greenhouse gases, e.g. power used by hardware, flights, etc.?
- One of my usual focus points when I present our projects is "We have no ads on our sites". Wikimedia projects have their particular feelings also because they have precise choices, and no ads is one of these. I totally support these choice. If we have to decide wether to close all the projects or to put some ads on them, I'll want the entire community to be informed properly and could express its opinion on such a desperate matter.
- have a look there ;-)
- I support this choice. WMF cannot always rely on untrained personnel on strategic positions. On the other hand I'd want to have verifiable outputs (to protect our investment)
- I think this proposal is commendable, but I'm not sure that it fits our purposes. In every case it's early, we have more pressing tasks to accomplish to keep the projects running and stable.
Frieda 22:59, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Wikinews and Accredited reporters attending events
Wikinews may be one of the lesser-known projects, but we recently managed to get a contributor entry to the G8 conference. Efforts were made to get the Board involved in the drafting of a letter for the reporter's entry to the G8, but these received no response. As an involved party there is more about this issue on Eloquence's questions page . What is your opinion on this, it is - I believe - an issue the board should take seriously. Those of us who contribute on Wikinews are ambitious enough to think that we can overtake the Wikipedia article count (although I may be retired before we manage it there are new news stories every day). As we really want to be able to do truly original reporting we need people who can "almost" say they represent us. Do you support this, and do you believe the board should have been involved for something as important as sending a reporter to the G8 conference? --Brian McNeil / talk 19:15, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
IMHO in a way citizen journalism should be completely up to citizens, i.e. you're part of a project which has a clear purpose but you don't need an association besides that can give you much credibility. On the other hand I'm sure that the world outside, the institutional places where news happen, are still not so open to this kind of journalism and it's necessary a transitional mixed phase .
I think that the board should work with Wikinews community towards a helpful solution.
- Frieda 08:25, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
This is a mass question being posted to all candidates. A couple days ago there was a proposal to hold an all candidates debate on IRC at a time TBD. The planning page is at ElectionDebate07 - please indicate if you are interested and if so, a time that would work for you. -- Tawker 22:56, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
It's not only a matter of strategy, sometimes it's about basic points too.
- WMF needs a formal organization chart which describes properly every actor in our mission (during the meeting in Frankfurt last October we drow at least 4 different charts..)
- I want WMF to become more effective. First steps towards this goal are the improvement of its internal organization (see above) and the adoption of a delegation system.
- I'm frankly not sure if it already exists, but I think that WMF must have a (at least mid-term) financial plan
- Frieda 12:37, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
I think that there're many other areas to consider. I can add a cross-competence, my organizational and mediation skills.
- Frieda 09:56, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Most Wikipedia users are technically inclined, but usability studies have turned up serious problems for non-geeks, and many of these problemsd remain uncorrected.
Have you read these usability studies? Do you consider them to be important? Would you commission more such studies? How would you implement their results?
Here's an example from just a couple months ago: a journalist working for a major newspaper thought that "there's no way to tell who wrote the entry or how many people contributed to it" until one of his readers corrected him -- he works for the media! How many regular people know how to check an article's contributors? If i might be permitted to opine for a second: the fact that you can view the revisions of an article should be obvious from the design of the webpage, but it's not: "history" is a terrible, non-obvious name for the function.
Put yourself in your parents' shoes: you're reading a page about Thailand that you found through Google, and you see a square that says "history". You click the square expecting to read about the history of Thailand and suddenly you're faced with a long, mysterious list of nonsensical words and numbers. You click the back button. Aaron Swartz gave one of the best summaries of the issue that I've seen:
"The page design the site uses encourages specific actions by making some links clear and prominent. Software functions like categories make certain kinds of features possible. The formatting codes used for things like infoboxes and links determine how easy it is for newcomers to edit those pieces of the site.
All of these things are political choices, not technical ones. It's not like there's a right answer that's obvious to any intelligent programmer. And these choices can have huge effects on the community.
One presentation was by a usability expert who told us about a study done on how hard people found it to add a photo to a Wikipedia page. The discussion after the presentation turned into a debate over whether Wikipedia should be easy to to use. Some...questioned whether confused users should be allowed to edit the site at all -- were their contributions even valuable?
As a programmer, I have a great deal of respect for the members of my trade. But with all due respect, are these really decisions that the programmers should be making?"
How would you solve this problem?
Tlogmer 00:08, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Even if at the beginning I was skeptical, I must admit that we are not so usable as we love to think. I had an interesting debate on this fact during last Wikipedia Day (an event organized by Wikimedia CH) with the chair of a small society specialized in user experience, and I had to give up.
In order to solve this problem, every project can do something: i.e. start working on its interface ("history" on italian projects is cronologia, which means "chronology". IMHO is more clear but I'm too addicted to wiki to judge) and on help pages (about two year ago Progetto coordinamento was used to ask newbie to read the manual and ask for more details or clarification if/when necessary). Just to be clear, I made some examples from it.wiki, but I don't think that it.wiki is more usable than others.
Biggest problems can surely be point out by usability studies.
But please don't forget accessibility, too. Last here I tried an experiment with a blind collegue: we open a Wikipedia page with JAWS. It was awful.
It's a job for a committee.
- Frieda 12:30, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Danny Wool has proposed replacing the current board with "a professional board consisting of captains of industry and academia" -- presumbaly, web leaders and information academics, etc. Do you agree? What do you think Wikipedia can learn from, for example, professional writers of paper encyclopedias like Britannica? How should the foundation best recruit their advice and put it into practice? Tlogmer 00:08, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree to the idea that WMF need expertise and specialization, but I'm not sure that this means professionals.
Britannica and Wikipedia have the same goal (being an encyclopedia), so sure, we can learn something from them, their experience and error too (but Wikipedia is online, is open, is free and definitively is different from Britannica, therefore we cannot simply reuse Britannica experience). Discovering the obvious is not necessary..
Skills shold be mediated by wikimedian experience.
- Frieda 21:43, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Appropriate conduct for Board members
Recently, in a non-Mediawiki forum, Erik Moeller made the following comments: "Cyde's and Kelly's arguments are on the same level: they are driven by blind hostility, not thoughtful analysis."  Do you believe that responding to criticism of one's credentials and conduct as a member of the Board with personal attacks such as these is appropriate for a member of the Board of Trustees? Kelly Martin 00:54, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm not involved in such dispute and I'm sorry but I'm not used to judge others behaviour. But if I were personally involved.. well, I've another manners. Frieda 12:54, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Wikiquote & copyright
What's your stance regarding Wikiquote and copyrights? As it is, most wikiquotes depend and use extensively fair use, which is contrary to the philosophy of most other projects. What are your views on this? Should wikiquotes move to only free content? Should resolution on fair use have a special exemption for wikiquote? Should fair use be removed from Wikiquote after deadline for the resolution? drini [es:] [commons:] 16:06, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Are you sure that Wikiquote depends on fairuse? I'm not a lawyer but as far as I know some legislations (e.g. italian, dutch, belgian, ..) include "quotation right".
I haven't the right answer, but WMF could hire a lawyer to work it out.
- Frieda 09:44, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
- In the US, yes, quotations are considered a fair use. Only the collection of quotes itself can be copyrighted. The individual quotations remain copyrighted to their original authors. — Omegatron 00:53, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
Hi, as this seems to get closer to the time that the elections are to start, I thought it would be best to go ahead and attempt to get the unofficial IRC debate a time and a place. By the time analysis on the talk page, the best time for the debate appears to be 1800 UTC, to 1900 UTC. As it would be best for this debate to occur before the elections, June 27 was chosen as the day. I know that this is short notice, but the whole unofficial debate thing was on a very short notice to start with. I hope that you are able to attend. Again the time is 18:00 UTC, June 27, 2007, it will be held at ##wikimedia-debate. Please do note that this debate is unofficial, and you are not required to attend. —— Eagle101 Need help? 20:38, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Donors and scope
Asked of all candidates: Okay, I'm not naive so yeah, it follows that large donors will probably get some pull when policies, direction and the scope of the foundation get decided, but what's your take on it all? How far do we bend to satisfy our donors, and to what extent are ideals of the foundation non-negotiable? In five years say, would you expect the foundation to still exist in the same legal fashion as now and assert ownership over the assets it currently has? Steve block 20:44, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
I feel WMF doesn't have to give out anything to its "large donors" except what normally within the association goals. Anyway absolutely nothing more than to 1-dollar-donors.
- Frieda 10:01, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
- Thank you for the response. 18.104.22.168 17:53, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Dear Frieda, tell us please, what goes wrong in non-Italian wikiprojects (especially in Wikipedia) in your opinion? What things you could improve if had the required power? Best regards, Incnis Mrsi 21:08, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
What I can see is a general lack of internal communication among projects all over the world, but this isn't subject for a board (it' s up to the community). Some projects terribly need a lawyer who can help with the contingent issues, giving qualified advice in consideration of different laws in different countries.
- --Frieda 22:25, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
What do you do when faced with a difficult decision to take ?
I saw in the recent irc debate the following question. Would you support releasing the state of the foundation's finances quarterly? Why or why not.. Of course, making such a decision is a matter of board-level policy. Now, the job of the board is also oversight. So, let's imagine the hypothesis that the board made a policy for quarterly release, the staff was asked to provide the statements according to the policy... and in spite of this, the report does not come. As board, you are embarassed. First because the policy is not respected. Second because the community is complaining. And third because, with no financial statements, there is no oversight possible. Please imagine you are facing this situation, reminded the staff once, then twice, then three times, and still no report.
What do you do ?
I start to fetch the whole data, then I compile the report and in the end I asked the staff to check my report (finance is not my subject) in the hope that reviewing is more simple than preparing ex-novo. If the board agrees with my action, I could also published my report as a draft, while the staff compiles the official report.
- Frieda 22:16, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Non free images and other media
What are your opinions on the use of non-free images and media on Wikimedia Foundation projects? Should they be used at all, or disallowed completely? And what do you think about the 23 March board resolution on this issue? Is it sufficient, too much, or does not go far enough. Thanks. Zzyzx11 06:05, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
fund raiser and chapters
do you support to facilitate fundraising by offering a direct link to country specific donation possibilities? an example woulde be medecins sans frontier's donation page. in wikimedia's case the donation page for the year end fundraiser would contain flags, and the links behind the flags would go to the donation page of local chapters, for two reasons:
- local law (which donators know and can make use of) strengtens donators feeling, that their donations are used at their will
- local tax exemption allows to donate up to 50% more without paying more
--ThurnerRupert 11:57, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I support this. IMHO Chapters should be seen as local branches of WMF and one of their purposes is to simplify the handle of local matters (i.e. donations, for the reasons you show above, but local partnership too). In this scenario, WMF should sign specific agreements with the Chapters establishing how the funds (or part of them) will come back.
- Frieda 09:11, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
- On italian wikipedia you are well known for your habit of eluding difficult questions with random answers or no answers at all (it looks like you are doing the same thing here , ). Do you realize that as a member of the Board you would be forced to reply, even when your reply would necessary displease someone?
Danse macabre 15:56, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Ops, I wasn't informed about this particular habit of mine..
- Frieda 09:03, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
The committee system has been around for roughly a year and a half now, not counting previous initiatives. Several of the committees are now dormant and some never got off the ground. Some, conversely, have done fairly well.
I know this is a long-standing and groan-inducing topic of debate, but what is your view on the committee system? Do you have ideas for reviving the current committee system or making it more functional? Do you think there is a place in the Foundation, in theory at least, for community-based committees to do some of the day-to-day work or oversee certain areas? Who should the committees report to, ideally? Are there new committees that should be formed, or old ones to be reworked?
Sorry about posting my question(s) so late! -- phoebe 00:28, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
- As a reminder: a camel is a horse designed by a committee. JimJast 04:35, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
I love committee. I think they're a splendid idea but probably they don't combine with the "volunteer system". Pretending that our strength are wikimedian volunteers, we could run a Committee system 2.0 which involves both wikimedians and staff. Wikimedians could offer their wiki-skills and the staff could give solidity and continuity.
- Frieda 20:38, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
What do you means in your presentation with that mysterious "the world is full of unknown knowledge. A first step is to recognize this knowledge and making it accessible." ?
Can you give a small explanation or examples from wikipedia ? --ironie talk 01:04, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Some months ago WMI had the opportunity to meet Società Geografica Italiana, the italian geographic society. Then I discovered that:
- Italy has a geographic society
- SGI has a very interesting library
- SGI has a unique photo archive
- very few people in Italy (and I suppose, in the world) know that
An example of unknown knowledge is SGI's patrimony: we cannot free it until we discover that it exists. It's a very common situation in Italy and may be in other countries too.
- Frieda 09:24, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia, being one of the ten most visited sites in internet, has some negotiation power. I believe we should be able to use this power in order to increase both the freedom and quality of the encyclopedia. In example, the board could contact copyright holders of promotional images (places, objects, models, singers, bands, etc), and convince them to release their items under a free license. I have been doing this myself, but I believe the Board could have better chances than a single person, a WikiProject or even a Wikipedia project. What do you think, do you think this could be a priority? And good luck! -- ReyBrujo 18:36, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Sure, but both for WMF and Chapters ;-) Grazie!
- Frieda 20:42, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
I am asking these exact same questions of you and all your opponents so I can make an apples-to-apples comparison.
- Do you think the Wikimedia Foundation should invest in stocks and bonds so that it has a source of income if donations dry up? If so, should its investment strategy be active or passive, diversified or focus, value or growth?
- Do you think the Foundation's spending on travel and conferences before it has a long-term source of income is responsible?
- Should some of the Foundation's major financial decisions, such as expansion of the paid staff, be subject to referenda of the editors and donors?
- The oversight function -- where edits are hidden even from admins -- has legitimate uses, but the potential for misuse is Orwellian. How can abuse be avoided?
- Do you believe control over Wikipedia content policy should ultimately rest with the man who created the skeleton of the site, or the editors who create its flesh and blood and/or their elected representatives?
- What is your position on freedom of expression in the User namespace?
- Where U.S. copyright law unfairly impedes Wikimedia Foundation projects, should the Foundation lobby for the law to be changed? If so, how should it do so without spending money it can't afford?
- To what extent is Wikipedia yet reaching the developing world, and what could you do during your term to speed that up?
Seahen 05:37, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
Wikinews and building on an unexpected publicity opportunity
As I would hope you have seen, Wikinews has made a splash in the news as the original non-blog source for the story of a prank edit to w:Chris Benoit's Wikipedia page. Our Alexa rating has skyrocketed, Google news has hundreds of articles that mention - or cite - us. I had planned to sponsor a Writing Contest on Wikinews following these elections - but this seems like too good an opportunity to miss. I've asked a few people to contribute to the prize pot, but most of our local contributors don't have the spare cash.
- First question, should we do things like this - we've had other competitions in the past and the daily article count has gone up significantly.
- Second, are you prepared to put your money where our projects are and donate to the prize fund?
- Third, if you are prepared to donate to the prize pot would you also be prepared to help out as a judge? I feel the impartial position the board should strive to take day to day would be welcome in defining rules and judging a competition.
International Symbol of Access
If elected, would you act to remove the Foundation's ban on the use of the International Symbol of Access and International Symbol for Deafness outside the scope of fair use? If you are unfamiliar with this issue, it boils down to the fact that these symbols may be freely used for their intended purpose but are extremely unlikely to be released under a free license. Because they are internationally recognized symbols, no free equivalent could be created to replace them. There would be no legal risk to either the Wikimedia Foundation or to downstream users if we were to use these symbols in infoboxes to designate handicapped accessible metro stations, Disney rides, etc. I'm not asking for permission to use them in userboxes or the like. I just think that the current Foundation-level policy of lumping them into the "fair use" category is quite detrimental our goals.
There is actually general consensus to make this change on the English Wikipedia. The only thing standing in the way is the Foundation's policy. —Remember the dot 03:51, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
On English Wikipedia, there has been some controversy about whether it is, or ought to be, the policy that linking to so-called "attack sites" against Wikipedia and Wikipedians is to be banned. Some administrators have (overzealously, in some others' opinions) removed links to criticism sites from such places as talk pages, evidence pages for ArbCom cases, and even in a few cases from actual articles where they were being used as a source. I wrote an essay on this issue. What is your opinion? Dtobias 04:00, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
How will you deal with this...
Whenever I can not find the specific answer to a question in an article I turn to Wikipedia help. In many instances, however, the reply is devoid of thought or knowledge and merely a student's guess to fill blank space on the page as if to say: "Here is my guess. I've done my job. You have received my authoritative response."
How to deal with consensus of uninformed editors
Sometimes a popular opinion is contradicted by scientific evidence. Majority of editors stick to the popular opinion (which is also theirs) and vote to delete all pages that contradict their opinion (intrinsic weakness of democracy). As a result Wikipedia propagates old prejudices. How would you solve this problem?
Supporting evidence for the problem: Once I wrote several pages on Einsteinian physics (I'm just doing my PhD on it) and all of them were deleted by consensus of editors (9:1) who preferred their old high school physics :-). Unfortunately their high school physics was invalidated about 100 years ago by Einstein. Yet till today one can read as the first statement of Wikipedia's Gravitation: "Gravitation is a natural phenomenon by which all objects attract each other". According to contemporary science objects don't attract each other they just look like they do. Similarly as the Sun looks like running around the Earth while it doesn't and there exists a simple explanation in both cases. So I just explained the simple Einsteinian mechanism of this apparent attraction, since I thought it may be interesting to Wikipedia's readers. All those pages were deleted by consensus of editors cooling my enthusiasm for Wikipedia. So the issue of propagating old prejudices, because of democratic process involved in editing, seems to be very real in Wikipedia. JimJast 13:59, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
how do you deal with transparency and corruption
how come that some admins in wikimedia can take over and block other users at their own will? More than one year ago the wikimedia world seemed nice to me. By edit count I was quite high in en:WP. But then the first out-of-policy block came in (3RR violation, but I only did 2RR). Then the next. And so it went on and on. Blocked for blanking a user page (this blanking was based on prior agreement with that user), blocked for moving "Eisenkappl" to "Bad Eisenkappl", admins directly lieing to me "I have a checkuser at hand that confirms you used socks" - it turned out there never was a checkuser. And I never used socks. ... On and on. I collected evidences, they got deleted, just because some admin in the middle of a discussion decided to do so. This deletion even did not show in the deletion log.
I asked at ComCom about transparency and corruption handling - this was directly deleted, with claim that it does not belong there (ComCom task page says otherwise). I called the Foundation where Danny shouted at me, hang up the phone in middle of talking, talked in hebrew etc.
What can a normal editor do to stop admins abusing their rights? - Tobias Conradi
Majority biasing the facts
- 12:33, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
it is an increasing frustration to me that a supermajority of wikipedians has apparently decided to defend their common view of the world as the only truth. All minority views are blocked. This goes so far as to not allow facts, which are acknowledged to be true, on article pages when they are seemingly at odds with this view. This tends to make the articles POV and destroys the knowledge and hard work brought together by many, many editors in this unique enterprise. It makes wikipedia a very unreliable and biased source of information. Subjects are e.g. terrorist attacks. Will you make an effort to change this trend? It is imortant to us that the guidelines are upheld fairly and equally, and not just to defend a single viewpoint.
How to attract authors who know facts (e.g. from the scientific literature) and could pupularize them dispelling cultural prejudice about those facts but don't have time to waste on fighting misinformed editors. Those editors unconcsiously push their popular, and therefore already generally accepted, POVs (since brain, being a perfect antibody, automatically rejects any new idea) deleting the new pages by those authors. Those editors always prevail since they have much more time than those authors. How would you address this issue? JimJast 17:25, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Who Writes Wikipedia?
Late question: do you have any thoughts on this essay (and if so, what)? It suggests that Jimbo formed a radically false picture of anonymous users and their contributions to Wikipedia. This may have far-reaching implications. Dan(pedia) 21:20, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
I notice that you stopped replying to questions almost a week ago. Is there a reason for this? —22.214.171.124 13:51, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
A Fairer Voting System
Would you support the use of choice voting in the next Board Elections?
Choice voting protects majority rule while providing for the fair representation of minority views. Voters rank the candidates 1, 2, 3, and so on, in order of preference. If your top choice either is not elected or already has enough votes to win a seat, your vote goes to your next choice. No vote is wasted, and all viewpoints are represented. Choice voting would drastically reduce the number of wasted votes.
Choice voting can be used for single or multiple position elections. It is used for national elections in a number of countries including the Republic of Ireland. It is also used by a wide variety of organsations such as students' unions, charities, trade unions, universities, hospital trusts and housing associations. Choice voting is already used to elect the board of Nominet UK.
Choice voting is also called preference voting or wikipedia:single transferable vote (STV)
John Cross 16:59, 7 July 2007 (UTC)