Quo vadis, WMF?

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Quo vadis, WMF?

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
For a long long time it has been the operative assumption that the
Wikimedia Foundation carries the legal liability, and if things go
really really badly wrong, the foundation would sacrifice itself, so
the community, and the content itself could continue elsewhere.

There has however been gradual development of the foundations
structures in two ways that seem to indicate that this operative
assumption (not being anywhere formally enunciated, except in the
tangible fact of working under the GFDL) may not last forever.

Firstly there is the building of increasingly robust defensive
bulwarks against litigation and other forms that the foundation could
be seriously harmed. This is something which is clearly an unequivocal
good in what ever operative assumption the Foundation labors under,
and should continue no matter what. The question on this front rather
is, whether there exists now, or will exist in the foreseeable future,
a sufficient level of robustness for these defenses that the need to
keep the Foundation as expendable, discardable isn't relevant anymore
from a standpoint of necessity?

The other facet of the question is the speed at which the organs of
the foundation develop into integral parts of how our whole greater
endeavour operates. Note I am not saying indispensible in the sense
that those particular organs are locked into place (we are a long way
from that yet), but integral in the sense that should the highly
unlikely eventuality of having to start again occur (as the GFDL
allows), _something_ would have fill their functions in the operation
of the restarted endeavour.

The problem (or non-problem, as the facts may obtain) here lies on
what philosophy do we adopt toward this earlier operative assumption
of sacrificability?

Do we find on reflection, that we have already crossed the Rubicon,
that although theoretically the work could be restarted elsewhere, the
disruption would be high enough, that it is wisest to abandon all
worry about the possibility of sacrificing the Foundation, and
concentrate on making the Foundation functional without regard to what
things it might lock us into, and speed up construction of legal and
other defensive bulwarks into a kind of Fortress Wikimedia Foundation?

Or should we seriously consider examining every new thing the
Foundation takes onto its plate, making doubly sure that it is
something that would compromise our ability to just chuck the
Foundation away like the tail of a lizard, and trust we will have the
resources to grow a new tail, there being no vital organs in it.

Or can someone in one swift stroke demonstrate that all the above is
entirely inconsequential? For me, that would be a great relief, and
good enough.

--
--
Jussi-Ville Heiskanen, AKA. Cimon Avaro

Candidate for Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation in the
September 2006 elections.
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Re: Quo vadis, WMF?

jmerkey-3
Jussi-Ville Heiskanen wrote:

>For a long long time it has been the operative assumption that the
>Wikimedia Foundation carries the legal liability, and if things go
>really really badly wrong, the foundation would sacrifice itself, so
>the community, and the content itself could continue elsewhere.
>  
>

What?

>Firstly there is the building of increasingly robust defensive
>bulwarks against litigation and other forms that the foundation could
>be seriously harmed.
>

The behavior of the community is the whole reason this risks even exist.
How about the
community take some ownership for its own actions. i.e. "Do folks own
any of this risk
based on their own actions?"

>The other facet of the question is the speed at which the organs of
>the foundation develop into integral parts of how our whole greater
>endeavour operates. Note I am not saying indispensible in the sense
>that those particular organs are locked into place (we are a long way
>from that yet), but integral in the sense that should the highly
>unlikely eventuality of having to start again occur (as the GFDL
>allows), _something_ would have fill their functions in the operation
>of the restarted endeavour.
>
>The problem (or non-problem, as the facts may obtain) here lies on
>what philosophy do we adopt toward this earlier operative assumption
>of sacrificability?
>  
>
Man, this is what I meant when I said "gaping disconnects from real
world realities".

>Do we find on reflection, that we have already crossed the Rubicon,
>that although theoretically the work could be restarted elsewhere, the
>disruption would be high enough, that it is wisest to abandon all
>worry about the possibility of sacrificing the Foundation, and
>concentrate on making the Foundation functional without regard to what
>things it might lock us into, and speed up construction of legal and
>other defensive bulwarks into a kind of Fortress Wikimedia Foundation?
>
>Or should we seriously consider examining every new thing the
>Foundation takes onto its plate, making doubly sure that it is
>something that would compromise our ability to just chuck the
>Foundation away like the tail of a lizard, and trust we will have the
>resources to grow a new tail, there being no vital organs in it.
>  
>
"Right to leave, Right to fork". Cimon, you are running for the board?
What on earth are you
talking about?

Jeff

>
>  
>

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Re: Quo vadis, WMF?

Florence Devouard-3
In reply to this post by Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
Jussi-Ville Heiskanen wrote:

> For a long long time it has been the operative assumption that the
> Wikimedia Foundation carries the legal liability, and if things go
> really really badly wrong, the foundation would sacrifice itself, so
> the community, and the content itself could continue elsewhere.
>
> There has however been gradual development of the foundations
> structures in two ways that seem to indicate that this operative
> assumption (not being anywhere formally enunciated, except in the
> tangible fact of working under the GFDL) may not last forever.
>
> Firstly there is the building of increasingly robust defensive
> bulwarks against litigation and other forms that the foundation could
> be seriously harmed. This is something which is clearly an unequivocal
> good in what ever operative assumption the Foundation labors under,
> and should continue no matter what. The question on this front rather
> is, whether there exists now, or will exist in the foreseeable future,
> a sufficient level of robustness for these defenses that the need to
> keep the Foundation as expendable, discardable isn't relevant anymore
> from a standpoint of necessity?
>
> The other facet of the question is the speed at which the organs of
> the foundation develop into integral parts of how our whole greater
> endeavour operates. Note I am not saying indispensible in the sense
> that those particular organs are locked into place (we are a long way
> from that yet), but integral in the sense that should the highly
> unlikely eventuality of having to start again occur (as the GFDL
> allows), _something_ would have fill their functions in the operation
> of the restarted endeavour.
>
> The problem (or non-problem, as the facts may obtain) here lies on
> what philosophy do we adopt toward this earlier operative assumption
> of sacrificability?
>
> Do we find on reflection, that we have already crossed the Rubicon,
> that although theoretically the work could be restarted elsewhere, the
> disruption would be high enough, that it is wisest to abandon all
> worry about the possibility of sacrificing the Foundation, and
> concentrate on making the Foundation functional without regard to what
> things it might lock us into, and speed up construction of legal and
> other defensive bulwarks into a kind of Fortress Wikimedia Foundation?
>
> Or should we seriously consider examining every new thing the
> Foundation takes onto its plate, making doubly sure that it is
> something that would compromise our ability to just chuck the
> Foundation away like the tail of a lizard, and trust we will have the
> resources to grow a new tail, there being no vital organs in it.
>
> Or can someone in one swift stroke demonstrate that all the above is
> entirely inconsequential? For me, that would be a great relief, and
> good enough.
>

I appreciate you ask questions Cimon.
But, please, please, please, could you make your english a little bit
more accessible for non natives ?

ant

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Re: Quo vadis, WMF?

Alphax (Wikipedia email)
Anthere wrote:
<snip>
> I appreciate you ask questions Cimon.
> But, please, please, please, could you make your english a little bit
> more accessible for non natives ?
>

More accessible for natives, too... :)

I'll summarise/translate (apologies to Cimon if I mangle it):

There was a lot of worry in the Old Days about what would happen if the
Foundation was forced to shut down because of legal action. It was
thought that the content and community would just be able to move
somewhere else and restart, and things would carry on almost like normal.

Recently, people have become unsure that we could do this anymore, due
to the large number of changes regarding the involvement of the
Foundation with the projects.

For one thing it has become less likely that the Foundation would be
shut down due to better legal defences, which is good. However we need
to ask if this is a certainty or not, and decide if being able to
relocate easily is still important.

Also, due to the changes that are happening, it is becoming harder for
us to relocate; we need to make sure that we can fill in these gaps if
we did have to restart.

So: do we concentrate on making the Foundation immune, and ignore the
possibility of having to relocate, or do we make sure that everything
the Foundation does will be portable?

Or doesn't it matter?

--
Alphax - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Alphax
Contributor to Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia
"We make the internet not suck" - Jimbo Wales
Public key: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Alphax/OpenPGP


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Re: Quo vadis, WMF?

jmerkey-3
Alphax (Wikipedia email) wrote:

>Anthere wrote:
><snip>
>  
>
>>I appreciate you ask questions Cimon.
>>But, please, please, please, could you make your english a little bit
>>more accessible for non natives ?
>>
>>    
>>
>
>More accessible for natives, too... :)
>
>I'll summarise/translate (apologies to Cimon if I mangle it):
>
>There was a lot of worry in the Old Days about what would happen if the
>Foundation was forced to shut down because of legal action. It was
>thought that the content and community would just be able to move
>somewhere else and restart, and things would carry on almost like normal.
>
>Recently, people have become unsure that we could do this anymore, due
>to the large number of changes regarding the involvement of the
>Foundation with the projects.
>  
>
If you run away from your problems, you just have the same problems
somewhere else.
If there are legal issues with content, better to tackle them head on
rather than run away
from them.     Who would trust content from a community that runs away
from its
legal obligations anyway?

>For one thing it has become less likely that the Foundation would be
>shut down due to better legal defences, which is good. However we need
>to ask if this is a certainty or not, and decide if being able to
>relocate easily is still important.
>
>Also, due to the changes that are happening, it is becoming harder for
>us to relocate; we need to make sure that we can fill in these gaps if
>we did have to restart.
>
>So: do we concentrate on making the Foundation immune, and ignore the
>possibility of having to relocate, or do we make sure that everything
>the Foundation does will be portable?
>  
>
I have cloned Wikipedia completely, and as near as I can tell, I am the
first one to
do it so completely.    I have not seen anyone else pull this off yet
without the Foundations
help.  Again, this talk is all nonsense.  The Foundation is not going away.

Jeff

>Or doesn't it matter?
>
>  
>
>------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
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>  
>

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