Re: [Wikimedia Announcements] Board resolution commissioning study and recommendations

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Re: [Wikimedia Announcements] Board resolution commissioning study and recommendations

Michael Snow-3
It seems like we have yet to figure out if we can get the announcements
list to automatically copy messages here. But since the "reply-to"
function is at least set properly for this list, I'll take advantage of
it now to make sure the full original message is posted here as well.

--Michael Snow

On 6/23/2010 10:47 PM, Michael Snow wrote:

> As a follow-up to the previous statement and discussion about
> appropriate educational content, the board has passed a resolution
> requesting a study of the issue of potentially objectionable content. We
> have asked the Executive Director to organize this study and develop
> recommendations for the board. We expect these will be shared with the
> community and stimulate further discussion about whether to adopt
> particular recommendations. Potential action would only follow that
> process, but since it's hard to say what that might involve without
> knowing the recommendations in advance, I will also pass along some
> questions and answers that attempt to explain the process in more
> detail. The text of the resolution follows:
>
> 1. The Wikimedia Foundation vision imagines a world in which every
> single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That is
> our commitment, and we aspire to see it realized.
>
> 2. We are making good progress towards that goal. Today, hundreds of
> millions of people read the Wikimedia projects every month. Those people
> represent a wide diversity of ethnicities, nationalities, ages,
> socioeconomic conditions, sexual orientations, religions, values and
> attitudes. We are proud of that, and we consider it proof of our
> projects' broad relevance and utility.
>
> 3. In any group as diverse as ours, ideas about acceptability and taste
> will necessarily vary widely. We know that to be true in our case
> because, over the years, we have received many requests asking us to
> remove from the projects different types of material, on the grounds
> that it is objectionable to particular individuals or groups. However,
> Wikimedia policy has never called for material to be deleted purely on
> the basis that it is, or may be, objectionable, and our projects have
> long contained caveats to that effect.
>
> 4. We do expect material in our projects to be educational in nature,
> and any material that is not educational should be removed. We see our
> role as making available all knowledge, not solely such knowledge as is
> universally deemed acceptable. We believe that individual adults should
> be able to decide for themselves what information they want to seek out.
> In the case of children, we believe that their parents, teachers, and
> other guardians are best placed to guide them to material that is
> appropriate for them, based on their development and maturity, as they
> grow into adulthood.
>
> 5. Nevertheless, we are concerned about the possibility of people being
> exposed to objectionable material that they did not seek out. This may
> include material that is violent, sexually explicit, or otherwise
> disturbing; culturally offensive depictions; profane or vulgar language;
> depictions of potentially dangerous activities; and exposure of children
> to material that may be inappropriate for them. We believe that the
> Wikimedia projects are a valuable educational resource, and we do not
> want these issues to interfere in sharing knowledge with present or
> future readers.
>
> 6. The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees believe that the Wikimedia
> projects have a serious responsibility to carefully balance these
> interests to the best of their ability. This includes considering the
> interests of both adults and children, as well as understanding
> different cultural perspectives about what material may be offensive. It
> is a difficult challenge, and we do not take it lightly.
>
> WE THEREFORE RESOLVE THAT:
>
> The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees hereby requests its Executive
> Director to undertake a project studying this issue, and to develop a
> set of recommendations for the Board. In this work, we ask that she
> consult with a variety of stakeholders and experts, including Wikimedia
> editors, other organizations which have grappled with the same or
> similar issues, and thought leaders including relevant members of our
> Advisory Board. We ask that she make an effort to include non-Western
> perspectives. The purpose of this work is to develop recommendations to
> enable the Wikimedia projects to appropriately and effectively serve all
> audiences, including both adults and children, and including readers
> both current and prospective.
>
> The scope of this work should be broad, and might include recommended
> changes to editorial policies, technical solutions, the development of
> new projects that are appropriate for children, and so forth. In an
> effort to allow sufficient time for thoughtful investigation, but also
> to bring closure to this issue within a reasonable period, we ask the
> Executive Director to deliver preliminary recommendations to the Board
> at its fall meeting, and we encourage her to consult with the Board as
> required in the intervening months.
>
> --Michael Snow
>
> _______________________________________________
> Please note: all replies sent to this mailing list will be immediately directed to Foundation-L, the public mailing list about the Wikimedia Foundation and its projects. For more information about Foundation-L:
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>
>    

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Re: [Wikimedia Announcements] Board resolution commissioning study and recommendations

geni
On 24 June 2010 07:20, Michael Snow <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> 4. We do expect material in our projects to be educational in nature,
>> and any material that is not educational should be removed.

I would suggest that passing a resolution that outlaws most user pages
is a bad idea.

--
geni

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Re: [Wikimedia Announcements] Board resolution commissioning study and recommendations

Thomas Dalton
On 24 June 2010 19:08, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 24 June 2010 07:20, Michael Snow <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> 4. We do expect material in our projects to be educational in nature,
>>> and any material that is not educational should be removed.
>
> I would suggest that passing a resolution that outlaws most user pages
> is a bad idea.

I think it is obvious that the board mean that clause to refer to the
actual content of the projects, not the various meta stuff that also
exists on the sites.

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Re: [Wikimedia Announcements] Board resolution commissioning study and recommendations

Victor Vasiliev
In reply to this post by Michael Snow-3
On 06/24/2010 10:20 AM, Michael Snow wrote:
> 4. We do expect material in our projects to be educational in nature,
>>  and any material that is not educational should be removed.

I still believe such a statement imply that most of Wikisource content
will have to be deleted if remove all "non-educational" content.

--vvv

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Re: [Wikimedia Announcements] Board resolution commissioning study and recommendations

Michael Snow-3
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
Thomas Dalton wrote:

> On 24 June 2010 19:08, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> On 24 June 2010 07:20, Michael Snow <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>    
>>>> 4. We do expect material in our projects to be educational in nature,
>>>> and any material that is not educational should be removed.
>>>>        
>> I would suggest that passing a resolution that outlaws most user pages
>> is a bad idea.
>>    
> I think it is obvious that the board mean that clause to refer to the
> actual content of the projects, not the various meta stuff that also
> exists on the sites.
>  
That's the meaning, definitely, same as it was in the previous board
statement. I would observe, too, that for material on user pages, if
you're even going to ask whether it's educational, what is it going to
educate people about? That particular user, presumably. And in that
context, it's pretty hard to rule out any kind of self-expression that
person has chosen as not being educational about them. It may be
inappropriate for other reasons, such as community policy or social
concerns, but this wouldn't really be a basis for enforcing that.

--Michael Snow

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Re: [Wikimedia Announcements] Board resolution commissioning study and recommendations

David Gerard-2
On 24 June 2010 19:28, Michael Snow <[hidden email]> wrote:

> That's the meaning, definitely, same as it was in the previous board
> statement. I would observe, too, that for material on user pages, if
> you're even going to ask whether it's educational, what is it going to
> educate people about? That particular user, presumably. And in that
> context, it's pretty hard to rule out any kind of self-expression that
> person has chosen as not being educational about them. It may be
> inappropriate for other reasons, such as community policy or social
> concerns, but this wouldn't really be a basis for enforcing that.


Nevertheless - if you're going to make official statements like this,
you can't assume that hundreds of thousands of people are all going to
interpret them the same way, as you seem to have here.


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia Announcements] Board resolution commissioning study and recommendations

Michael Snow-3
In reply to this post by Victor Vasiliev
Victor Vasiliev wrote:
> On 06/24/2010 10:20 AM, Michael Snow wrote:
>  
>> 4. We do expect material in our projects to be educational in nature,
>>    
>>>  and any material that is not educational should be removed.
>>>      
> I still believe such a statement imply that most of Wikisource content
> will have to be deleted if remove all "non-educational" content.
>  
I recommend that people not confuse "educational" with "pedagogical" or
try to divorce its interpretation from the context of the particular
project. Historical records have educational value, for example, even
when those records are not created for pedagogical purposes.

--Michael Snow

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Re: [Wikimedia Announcements] Board resolution commissioning study and recommendations

Victor Vasiliev
On 06/24/2010 10:40 PM, Michael Snow wrote:
> I recommend that people not confuse "educational" with "pedagogical" or
> try to divorce its interpretation from the context of the particular
> project. Historical records have educational value, for example, even
> when those records are not created for pedagogical purposes.
>
> --Michael Snow

May then we have a clear definition of what "educational value" is? I
feel very confused about its meaning.

--vvv

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Re: [Wikimedia Announcements] Board resolution commissioning study and recommendations

David Goodman
If education is learning about the world, there is essentially nothing
that can not be considered as having at least  potential educational
value.  There are of course different degrees of educational value,
but using it by itself as a criterion is much too simplistic.  (In the
context of pornography, we've separated out recreation from education,
but I don't see how any imaginative form of expression has a clear
line between the two).

On Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 2:50 PM, Victor Vasiliev <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 06/24/2010 10:40 PM, Michael Snow wrote:
>> I recommend that people not confuse "educational" with "pedagogical" or
>> try to divorce its interpretation from the context of the particular
>> project. Historical records have educational value, for example, even
>> when those records are not created for pedagogical purposes.
>>
>> --Michael Snow
>
> May then we have a clear definition of what "educational value" is? I
> feel very confused about its meaning.
>
> --vvv
>
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> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
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--
David Goodman, Ph.D, M.L.S.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:DGG

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Re: [Wikimedia Announcements] Board resolution commissioning study and recommendations

Thomas Dalton
On 24 June 2010 20:13, David Goodman <[hidden email]> wrote:
> If education is learning about the world, there is essentially nothing
> that can not be considered as having at least  potential educational
> value.  There are of course different degrees of educational value,
> but using it by itself as a criterion is much too simplistic.  (In the
> context of pornography, we've separated out recreation from education,
> but I don't see how any imaginative form of expression has a clear
> line between the two).

I guess it depends on what the *primary* purpose is. Pornography does
educate, but its primary purpose is to entertain. Similarly, political
and commercial propaganda/marketing does educate, but its primary
purpose is to get votes/sales.

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Re: [Wikimedia Announcements] Board resolution commissioning study and recommendations

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Victor Vasiliev
On 24 June 2010 19:50, Victor Vasiliev <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 06/24/2010 10:40 PM, Michael Snow wrote:

>> I recommend that people not confuse "educational" with "pedagogical" or
>> try to divorce its interpretation from the context of the particular
>> project. Historical records have educational value, for example, even
>> when those records are not created for pedagogical purposes.

> May then we have a clear definition of what "educational value" is? I
> feel very confused about its meaning.


Yes. There *will* be people who take such statements as licence to
undertake a great purge.

You must be very careful, and apply all your years of experience on
the projects, to the question of how people will react to certain
phrasings if made from high up. I would consider the potential for
this one to be taken wrongly to have been blindingly obvious, for
example. (And you've been on en:wp long enough to know it.)


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia Announcements] Board resolution commissioning study and recommendations

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
David Gerard wrote:

> On 24 June 2010 19:28, Michael Snow <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> That's the meaning, definitely, same as it was in the previous board
>> statement. I would observe, too, that for material on user pages, if
>> you're even going to ask whether it's educational, what is it going to
>> educate people about? That particular user, presumably. And in that
>> context, it's pretty hard to rule out any kind of self-expression that
>> person has chosen as not being educational about them. It may be
>> inappropriate for other reasons, such as community policy or social
>> concerns, but this wouldn't really be a basis for enforcing that.
>>    
> Nevertheless - if you're going to make official statements like this,
> you can't assume that hundreds of thousands of people are all going to
> interpret them the same way, as you seem to have here.
>  
Precisely. We already have too many people ready and willing to take a
common sense idea and turn it into rigid policy.

Ec

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Re: [Wikimedia Announcements] Board resolution commissioning study and recommendations

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by Michael Snow-3
Michael Snow wrote:

> Victor Vasiliev wrote:
>  
>> On 06/24/2010 10:20 AM, Michael Snow wrote:
>>    
>>> 4. We do expect material in our projects to be educational in nature,
>>>      
>>>>  and any material that is not educational should be removed.
>>>>        
>> I still believe such a statement imply that most of Wikisource content
>> will have to be deleted if remove all "non-educational" content.  
>>    
> I recommend that people not confuse "educational" with "pedagogical" or
> try to divorce its interpretation from the context of the particular
> project. Historical records have educational value, for example, even
> when those records are not created for pedagogical purposes.
>
>  
Clearly yes, but that assumes that others are making the same
sophisticated terminological distinction as you. My guess is that in the
popular mind the two terms are viewed as synonyms, or that many do not
even have "pedagogical" in their vocabulary. Furthermore "educational"
tends to be popularly associated with schools, and includes all the bad
memories that people associate with school.  Thus, from the outset, it
would need to be made clear, then often repeated by those in positions
of influence that "educational" is to have a very broad interpretation.


Ec

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