[Wikimedia-l] Announcing the Foundation's challenge to recent U.S. immigration executive order

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[Wikimedia-l] Announcing the Foundation's challenge to recent U.S. immigration executive order

Michelle Paulson
Dear All,

Today, the Wikimedia Foundation joined with more than 90 other
organizations in filing an amicus brief[1] in State of Washington v. Trump[2]
currently before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States.
This case challenges the recent executive order[3] issued in the United
States on January 27, 2017, which establishes immigration and travel
restrictions based on country of origin. Other signatories to the brief
include Facebook, Levi Strauss & Co., Microsoft, Mozilla, and Paypal. The
brief includes legal arguments against the order itself, and details the
real and immediate impact these restrictions will have on the Wikimedia
Foundation and other signatories’ staff, users, customers, and operations.
We expect it to be filed in other current and future cases challenging the
order, as appropriate.

We know that the Foundation’s prior statement[4] on this executive order
has generated debate in the communities, on mailing lists and in other
forums. Some disapprove, with concern that the Foundation has taken a
political stance on behalf of the movement. Others approve, with concerns
about the impact of this order on the practicalities and values of open
collaboration and sharing. We would like to clarify our perspective on this
important issue.

From our perspective, the implications of this order - and the urgency of
our response - are clear. Beyond the issue of the values of open
collaboration, this order will also have serious, tangible effects on the
Foundation and our ability to support the Wikimedia projects and
communities.

From an operational standpoint, orders such as these may substantially
limit our ability to deliver on support for the global Wikimedia
communities. Much of the Foundation's work involves travel across borders.
We cross borders to develop and sustain strategic partnerships with
Wikimedia affiliates and free knowledge advocates. We travel to gatherings
and hackathons to support and collaborate with Wikimedians around the
world. We represent Wikimedia research and methodologies at conferences
with librarians and scientists from across the globe. We meet with
community leaders and board members internationally to exercise corporate
and community governance and execute strategic oversight.

As the Foundation, we have an obligation to protect the Wikimedia projects
and ensure that they thrive in perpetuity. We are not a political
organization, but we are passionate about defending free knowledge, and the
conditions for its flourishing. We believe that the immigration and travel
restrictions posed by the executive order in question will have a
detrimental impact on the Foundation's mission and operations, as people
are unable to enter the United States or restricted from leaving because
they may not be allowed to return home. Board and committee meetings,
conferences, conventions, hackathons, and more may be affected by the
executive order in its current form, as well by the threatened extension of
restrictions to additional countries.

It is our obligation to engage with issues that affect the Wikimedia
Foundation's capacity to support Foundation’s mission and the goals of the
Wikimedia movement. From freedom of expression to freedom of movement, we
will continue to do so, in service of our shared vision. You can read more
about the brief on the Foundation’s blog.[5]

Best,

Michelle Paulson
Interim General Counsel

[1]
https://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=File%3AAmicus_curiae_brief_of_Tech_Companies_%26_Orgs%2C_Washington_v._Trump.pdf&page=1


[2] https://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/content/view.php?pk_id=0000000860

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_13769

[4] https://blog.wikimedia.org/2017/01/30/knowledge-knows-no-boundaries/
[5]
https://blog.wikimedia.org/2017/02/06/amicus-brief-immigration-travel-restrictions/
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcing the Foundation's challenge to recent U.S. immigration executive order

Pete Forsyth-2
On 02/05/2017 10:10 PM, Michelle Paulson wrote:

> Dear All,
>
> <snip>
> We know that the Foundation’s prior statement[4] on this executive order
> has generated debate in the communities, on mailing lists and in other
> forums. Some disapprove, with concern that the Foundation has taken a
> political stance on behalf of the movement. Others approve, with concerns
> about the impact of this order on the practicalities and values of open
> collaboration and sharing.
Michelle, thank you for this update and clarification.

I've followed this discussion (and previous, similar discussions) with
great interest. My personal views align strongly with the WMF's
position, but I also found Yair Rand's argument compelling. There's an
important distinction I haven't seen clearly articulated, that might be
helpful:

The WMF has a clear interest in protecting *its own* operations, and on
that level, I think it makes perfect sense for it to advocate -- along
with companies like the partners listed -- against policies that may
substantially impede its employees' travel.

But the arguments I have seen advanced by the WMF about what is in its
*communities'* interest are not as clear-cut as it may seem. The core
activities of Wikimedians involve online collaboration; and while it may
be the case that research and qualitative experience supports the notion
that travel can enhance that collaboration, there are -- and will always
be -- highly productive Wikimedians who never meet fellow volunteer in
person, and have no particular interest in doing so. The projects have
been built by millions of volunteers, but I would guess that the number
of volunteers who have crossed international borders to serve the
project number in the thousands (and even fewer have crossed the U.S.
border).

Perhaps in the future, things will go more smoothly if the WMF be very
clear in its public statements when it is speaking on *its own behalf*,
and when it is speaking *on behalf of its communities*. And when it's
the latter, if public statements could only result from consultations
that clearly establish a strong consensus within the communities.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcing the Foundation's challenge to recent U.S. immigration executive order

Yair Rand
In reply to this post by Michelle Paulson
Would this action fall under "Collaborative advocacy" in the Foundation
Policy and Political Association Guideline? The section refers to
"collaborat[ing] with another organization to take action on a particular
policy or political question". The example given is signing a petition by
the EFF against Internet censorship. The required steps include (among
other requirements) consultation with the Public Policy Advisory Group,
along with getting consensus in a broader RfC except where time does not
permit. I find it difficult to believe that this situation is so critical
and urgent that an RfC in advance was impossible, so if it does fall under
that section, the policy was yet again violated. Frankly, I don't believe
that an RfC would pass in the first place. If you've been following the
earlier thread, you may be aware that there is increasing alarm at the risk
of the movement being hijacked by political interests, and this new action
is not helping matters.

This was a unilateral political actions in a sensitive area without prior
discussion. The Guideline does say that the WMF may deviate from the policy
if specifically approved by the General Council, although I don't know why
deviating would be warranted here. Was this done here? Who was involved in
the decision? Was the Board consulted, as suggested by the guidelines
(although as an "Optional" step)? Or was it simply considered to not fall
under the policy at all? Is the guideline still in effect, or was it
eliminated or changed without the document on Meta being updated?

The amicus brief specifically challenges the refugee suspension, among
other areas. Is this topic considered to be within the WMF's goals, or was
bringing the WMF into an irrelevant political battle considered simply an
unavoidable side-effect in the effort to protect WMF operations by means of
national political intervention?

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Legal/Foundation_Policy_and_Political_
Association_Guideline#Collaborative_Advocacy

On Mon, Feb 6, 2017 at 1:10 AM, Michelle Paulson <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Dear All,
>
> Today, the Wikimedia Foundation joined with more than 90 other
> organizations in filing an amicus brief[1] in State of Washington v.
> Trump[2]
> currently before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States.
> This case challenges the recent executive order[3] issued in the United
> States on January 27, 2017, which establishes immigration and travel
> restrictions based on country of origin. Other signatories to the brief
> include Facebook, Levi Strauss & Co., Microsoft, Mozilla, and Paypal. The
> brief includes legal arguments against the order itself, and details the
> real and immediate impact these restrictions will have on the Wikimedia
> Foundation and other signatories’ staff, users, customers, and operations.
> We expect it to be filed in other current and future cases challenging the
> order, as appropriate.
>
> We know that the Foundation’s prior statement[4] on this executive order
> has generated debate in the communities, on mailing lists and in other
> forums. Some disapprove, with concern that the Foundation has taken a
> political stance on behalf of the movement. Others approve, with concerns
> about the impact of this order on the practicalities and values of open
> collaboration and sharing. We would like to clarify our perspective on this
> important issue.
>
> From our perspective, the implications of this order - and the urgency of
> our response - are clear. Beyond the issue of the values of open
> collaboration, this order will also have serious, tangible effects on the
> Foundation and our ability to support the Wikimedia projects and
> communities.
>
> From an operational standpoint, orders such as these may substantially
> limit our ability to deliver on support for the global Wikimedia
> communities. Much of the Foundation's work involves travel across borders.
> We cross borders to develop and sustain strategic partnerships with
> Wikimedia affiliates and free knowledge advocates. We travel to gatherings
> and hackathons to support and collaborate with Wikimedians around the
> world. We represent Wikimedia research and methodologies at conferences
> with librarians and scientists from across the globe. We meet with
> community leaders and board members internationally to exercise corporate
> and community governance and execute strategic oversight.
>
> As the Foundation, we have an obligation to protect the Wikimedia projects
> and ensure that they thrive in perpetuity. We are not a political
> organization, but we are passionate about defending free knowledge, and the
> conditions for its flourishing. We believe that the immigration and travel
> restrictions posed by the executive order in question will have a
> detrimental impact on the Foundation's mission and operations, as people
> are unable to enter the United States or restricted from leaving because
> they may not be allowed to return home. Board and committee meetings,
> conferences, conventions, hackathons, and more may be affected by the
> executive order in its current form, as well by the threatened extension of
> restrictions to additional countries.
>
> It is our obligation to engage with issues that affect the Wikimedia
> Foundation's capacity to support Foundation’s mission and the goals of the
> Wikimedia movement. From freedom of expression to freedom of movement, we
> will continue to do so, in service of our shared vision. You can read more
> about the brief on the Foundation’s blog.[5]
>
> Best,
>
> Michelle Paulson
> Interim General Counsel
>
> [1]
> <a href="https://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=File%">https://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=File%
> 3AAmicus_curiae_brief_of_Tech_Companies_%26_Orgs%2C_
> Washington_v._Trump.pdf&page=1
>
>
> [2] https://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/content/view.php?pk_id=0000000860
>
> [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_13769
>
> [4] https://blog.wikimedia.org/2017/01/30/knowledge-knows-no-boundaries/
> [5]
> https://blog.wikimedia.org/2017/02/06/amicus-brief-immigration-travel-
> restrictions/
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcing the Foundation's challenge to recent U.S. immigration executive order

Christophe Henner-3
Hi Yair,

Yes board was informed in the process.

Plus when situation started a few days ago, board expressed full support
stepping up against that specific EO.





Christophe HENNER
Chair of the board of trustees
[hidden email]
+33650664739

twitter *@schiste*        skype *christophe_henner*



On Mon, Feb 6, 2017 at 8:05 AM, Yair Rand <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Would this action fall under "Collaborative advocacy" in the Foundation
> Policy and Political Association Guideline? The section refers to
> "collaborat[ing] with another organization to take action on a particular
> policy or political question". The example given is signing a petition by
> the EFF against Internet censorship. The required steps include (among
> other requirements) consultation with the Public Policy Advisory Group,
> along with getting consensus in a broader RfC except where time does not
> permit. I find it difficult to believe that this situation is so critical
> and urgent that an RfC in advance was impossible, so if it does fall under
> that section, the policy was yet again violated. Frankly, I don't believe
> that an RfC would pass in the first place. If you've been following the
> earlier thread, you may be aware that there is increasing alarm at the risk
> of the movement being hijacked by political interests, and this new action
> is not helping matters.
>
> This was a unilateral political actions in a sensitive area without prior
> discussion. The Guideline does say that the WMF may deviate from the policy
> if specifically approved by the General Council, although I don't know why
> deviating would be warranted here. Was this done here? Who was involved in
> the decision? Was the Board consulted, as suggested by the guidelines
> (although as an "Optional" step)? Or was it simply considered to not fall
> under the policy at all? Is the guideline still in effect, or was it
> eliminated or changed without the document on Meta being updated?
>
> The amicus brief specifically challenges the refugee suspension, among
> other areas. Is this topic considered to be within the WMF's goals, or was
> bringing the WMF into an irrelevant political battle considered simply an
> unavoidable side-effect in the effort to protect WMF operations by means of
> national political intervention?
>
> [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Legal/Foundation_Policy_and_Political_
> Association_Guideline#Collaborative_Advocacy
>
> On Mon, Feb 6, 2017 at 1:10 AM, Michelle Paulson <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > Dear All,
> >
> > Today, the Wikimedia Foundation joined with more than 90 other
> > organizations in filing an amicus brief[1] in State of Washington v.
> > Trump[2]
> > currently before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States.
> > This case challenges the recent executive order[3] issued in the United
> > States on January 27, 2017, which establishes immigration and travel
> > restrictions based on country of origin. Other signatories to the brief
> > include Facebook, Levi Strauss & Co., Microsoft, Mozilla, and Paypal. The
> > brief includes legal arguments against the order itself, and details the
> > real and immediate impact these restrictions will have on the Wikimedia
> > Foundation and other signatories’ staff, users, customers, and
> operations.
> > We expect it to be filed in other current and future cases challenging
> the
> > order, as appropriate.
> >
> > We know that the Foundation’s prior statement[4] on this executive order
> > has generated debate in the communities, on mailing lists and in other
> > forums. Some disapprove, with concern that the Foundation has taken a
> > political stance on behalf of the movement. Others approve, with concerns
> > about the impact of this order on the practicalities and values of open
> > collaboration and sharing. We would like to clarify our perspective on
> this
> > important issue.
> >
> > From our perspective, the implications of this order - and the urgency of
> > our response - are clear. Beyond the issue of the values of open
> > collaboration, this order will also have serious, tangible effects on the
> > Foundation and our ability to support the Wikimedia projects and
> > communities.
> >
> > From an operational standpoint, orders such as these may substantially
> > limit our ability to deliver on support for the global Wikimedia
> > communities. Much of the Foundation's work involves travel across
> borders.
> > We cross borders to develop and sustain strategic partnerships with
> > Wikimedia affiliates and free knowledge advocates. We travel to
> gatherings
> > and hackathons to support and collaborate with Wikimedians around the
> > world. We represent Wikimedia research and methodologies at conferences
> > with librarians and scientists from across the globe. We meet with
> > community leaders and board members internationally to exercise corporate
> > and community governance and execute strategic oversight.
> >
> > As the Foundation, we have an obligation to protect the Wikimedia
> projects
> > and ensure that they thrive in perpetuity. We are not a political
> > organization, but we are passionate about defending free knowledge, and
> the
> > conditions for its flourishing. We believe that the immigration and
> travel
> > restrictions posed by the executive order in question will have a
> > detrimental impact on the Foundation's mission and operations, as people
> > are unable to enter the United States or restricted from leaving because
> > they may not be allowed to return home. Board and committee meetings,
> > conferences, conventions, hackathons, and more may be affected by the
> > executive order in its current form, as well by the threatened extension
> of
> > restrictions to additional countries.
> >
> > It is our obligation to engage with issues that affect the Wikimedia
> > Foundation's capacity to support Foundation’s mission and the goals of
> the
> > Wikimedia movement. From freedom of expression to freedom of movement, we
> > will continue to do so, in service of our shared vision. You can read
> more
> > about the brief on the Foundation’s blog.[5]
> >
> > Best,
> >
> > Michelle Paulson
> > Interim General Counsel
> >
> > [1]
> > <a href="https://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=File%">https://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=File%
> > 3AAmicus_curiae_brief_of_Tech_Companies_%26_Orgs%2C_
> > Washington_v._Trump.pdf&page=1
> >
> >
> > [2] https://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/content/view.php?pk_id=0000000860
> >
> > [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_13769
> >
> > [4] https://blog.wikimedia.org/2017/01/30/knowledge-knows-no-boundaries/
> > [5]
> > https://blog.wikimedia.org/2017/02/06/amicus-brief-immigration-travel-
> > restrictions/
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> > wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> > wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcing the Foundation's challenge to recent U.S. immigration executive order

Mike Godwin-2
In reply to this post by Michelle Paulson
Yair Rand writes:

> I find it difficult to believe that this situation is so critical
> and urgent that an RfC in advance was impossible, so if it does fall under
> that section, the policy was yet again violated.

I don't find it difficult at all to believe time was of the essence,
but, then, I'm an attorney who's worked for many years on
collaborative efforts, including but not limited to legal action.

I grant, of course, that your experience with doing legal and
public-policy assessments may be different. But if your view is that
either the Board of Trustees or WMF staff cannot be trusted to make
these assessments, then I urge you to explain in more depth why you
think this is so.

My own experience has been that quite often the Board or the WMF staff
have to make quick decisions, especially when the timeline for
decision-making is not in WMF's control. Certainly I often was called
upon to make decisions on behalf of WMF and the Wikimedia movement on
timelines that made consultation with Wikimedia-l or with committees
and affiliated organizations unworkable. I hope you don't find that
difficult to believe.

Please assume good faith.


Best,


--Mike

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcing the Foundation's challenge to recent U.S. immigration executive order

Rogol Domedonfors
Michelle

Would you let us know how much of the donors' money will be spent on this
legal brief, either directly or in the costs of staff time, please?
It would also be of interest to know why you felt that the input of the WMF
to this brief was essential given that there are 90 other organisations
involved?

"Rogol"

On Mon, Feb 6, 2017 at 5:20 PM, Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Yair Rand writes:
>
> > I find it difficult to believe that this situation is so critical
> > and urgent that an RfC in advance was impossible, so if it does fall
> under
> > that section, the policy was yet again violated.
>
> I don't find it difficult at all to believe time was of the essence,
> but, then, I'm an attorney who's worked for many years on
> collaborative efforts, including but not limited to legal action.
>
> I grant, of course, that your experience with doing legal and
> public-policy assessments may be different. But if your view is that
> either the Board of Trustees or WMF staff cannot be trusted to make
> these assessments, then I urge you to explain in more depth why you
> think this is so.
>
> My own experience has been that quite often the Board or the WMF staff
> have to make quick decisions, especially when the timeline for
> decision-making is not in WMF's control. Certainly I often was called
> upon to make decisions on behalf of WMF and the Wikimedia movement on
> timelines that made consultation with Wikimedia-l or with committees
> and affiliated organizations unworkable. I hope you don't find that
> difficult to believe.
>
> Please assume good faith.
>
>
> Best,
>
>
> --Mike
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcing the Foundation's challenge to recent U.S. immigration executive order

Yair Rand
In reply to this post by Mike Godwin-2
On Mon, Feb 6, 2017 at 12:20 PM, Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Yair Rand writes:
>
> > I find it difficult to believe that this situation is so critical
> > and urgent that an RfC in advance was impossible, so if it does fall
> under
> > that section, the policy was yet again violated.
>
> I don't find it difficult at all to believe time was of the essence,
> but, then, I'm an attorney who's worked for many years on
> collaborative efforts, including but not limited to legal action.
>
> I grant, of course, that your experience with doing legal and
> public-policy assessments may be different. But if your view is that
> either the Board of Trustees or WMF staff cannot be trusted to make
> these assessments, then I urge you to explain in more depth why you
> think this is so.
>
> My own experience has been that quite often the Board or the WMF staff
> have to make quick decisions, especially when the timeline for
> decision-making is not in WMF's control. Certainly I often was called
> upon to make decisions on behalf of WMF and the Wikimedia movement on
> timelines that made consultation with Wikimedia-l or with committees
> and affiliated organizations unworkable. I hope you don't find that
> difficult to believe.
>
> Please assume good faith.
>

You're completely right. I failed to assume good faith, and it is certainly
possible that there was no time to conduct an RfC. My apologies.

I would still like confirmation of whether it was in fact an urgent
situation, however. Further, the requirement for consultation with the
Public Policy Advisory Group does not allow for bypassing in time-sensitive
situations, so further explanation is required.

Thank you.

-- Yair Rand
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcing the Foundation's challenge to recent U.S. immigration executive order

Michael Snow-5
On 2/6/2017 2:01 PM, Yair Rand wrote:
> I would still like confirmation of whether it was in fact an urgent
> situation, however.
The legal posture of the case (temporary restraining order issued prior
to hearing on a preliminary injunction) makes it urgent. In order to
participate meaningfully in the case at this point, it was necessary to
join the brief now. If you've been following events, we're talking about
a ruling that was issued within a week after the executive order came
out, which is incredibly swift action for the courts. It's my
understanding that the appeal could be decided this week, potentially as
early as Tuesday.

This is not a trial where the parties might take months gathering their
evidence before presenting it to the judge and/or jury. Given that the
circumstances can involve people detained at airport customs who might
be involuntarily put on a plane back to their point of origin at any
moment, the legal system's urgency is appropriate to the situation.

As an aside, people focused more on the general policy issues as opposed
to the facts of particular cases may wonder what makes it urgent (for
Wikimedia) when we're talking about decisions that are "temporary" or
"preliminary" in nature. But as those experienced in this area know,
despite such designations these rulings have a powerful tendency to
create facts on the ground in a way that they can easily end up
determining the final outcome as well.

--Michael Snow

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcing the Foundation's challenge to recent U.S. immigration executive order

Nathan Awrich
I generally share Yair's reluctance to see the WMF engage in political
activity outside the scope of the Wikimedia mission, but I'd like to
express my support for the WMF taking action specifically in pursuit of
maintaining the freedom to travel and work of its employees and volunteers
engaged in Wikimedia movement work. It's clear that appellate orders on
this subject are imminent, and high quality briefs from individuals and
organizations with meaningful injury are essential. This brief is tightly
focused on the disruptive and damaging effect the executive order has on
the operations and future interests of the filers. While the WMF's own
guideline should be followed or revised so that it can be practically
followed, I think this is an example of acceptable and even necessary work
that directly serves the WMF's mission.
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