[Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

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[Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

Stephen LaPorte
Hello all,

We are asking for community input on a proposed amendment to the Wikimedia
Terms of Use regarding undisclosed paid editing. The amendment is currently
available in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese, and
we welcome further translations and discussion in any language.

For your review, you may find the proposed amendment and background
information here:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment

Please join the discussion on the talk page:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.

--
Stephen LaPorte
Legal Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation

*For legal reasons, I may only serve as an attorney for the Wikimedia
Foundation. This means I may not give legal advice to or serve as a lawyer
for community members, volunteers, or staff members in their personal
capacity.*

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

Dominic McDevitt-Parks
I've thought a lot about the issues around conflict of interest, paid
editing, and paid advocacy (by the way, those are all overlapping but
different concepts). My writing (and
disclosure)<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Dominic/FAQ> was
brought up on this list last time the issue came up as a model of good
behavior. I always advocate transparency and disclosure of affiliation when
edits are done as part of work duties, and only making edits that serve
Wikimedia's own mission, not just self-interest.

Having said that, this proposal seems awful. It appears to outlaw mistakes.
All failures to disclose affiliation are "deceptive" according to the
language, regardless of whether it is done in good faith or bad. I would
never have interpreted the current TOU's language to mean that omission is
the same thing as misrepresentation in all cases. That includes edits from
newbies, or those editing under the assumption presumption that Wikimedia
grants users unconditional privacy. I think about every GLAM professional
or academic ever who makes their first tentative edit, and maybe just adds
a link or uploads a historical image. Or maybe they made a valid, but
self-interested comment on a talk page (like "Actually, the library has 4
branches, not 3"). Now, they don't just face the problem of getting
reverted/warned if they've done something wrong; they have violated the
site's terms of use as well. And will be subject to "applicable law"(!) As
if there aren't enough potential stumbling blocks for contributors with
subject matter expertise or from underserved communities. I see this being
invoked more often in toxic ways than constructive ones, since more nuanced
community policies are already in place on major projects.

You said on the talk page in response to someone's concern about those
types of desirable contributions that "In fact, Wikipedians in Residence
usually explain their affiliation on their user page (consistent with this
provision), and exemplify some of the best practices for transparency and
disclosure." I'm you view us so favorably, but I think it's important to
point out that good Wikipedians are not born that way. And they probably
didn't learn their good practices from the terms of use.

And I'm not sure how to make it better. What value does this even serve the
movement? I can't understand from the background information why there is
the need to resolve the problem of conflict of interest through a
Wikimedia-wide terms of use change, especially such a rigid one, when local
policies are already in place. (Or, if they are not in place, perhaps it
has more to do with the fact that not all Wikimedia projects even face the
same problems of neutrality as Wikipedia.) I don't question that conflicts
of interest are a valid concern, and I am sure this proposal was probably
written with more clear-cut cases of profit motives in mind, but it seems
more like an overreach than any kind of solution.

Dominic

(Note, I wasn't paid to make this mailing list post.)


On 19 February 2014 17:06, Stephen LaPorte <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello all,
>
> We are asking for community input on a proposed amendment to the Wikimedia
> Terms of Use regarding undisclosed paid editing. The amendment is currently
> available in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese, and
> we welcome further translations and discussion in any language.
>
> For your review, you may find the proposed amendment and background
> information here:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment
>
> Please join the discussion on the talk page:
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment
>
> Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.
>
> --
> Stephen LaPorte
> Legal Counsel
> Wikimedia Foundation
>
> *For legal reasons, I may only serve as an attorney for the Wikimedia
> Foundation. This means I may not give legal advice to or serve as a lawyer
> for community members, volunteers, or staff members in their personal
> capacity.*
>
> _______________________________________________
> Please note: all replies sent to this mailing list will be immediately
> directed to Wikimedia-l, the public mailing list of the Wikimedia
> community. For more information about Wikimedia-l:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
> _______________________________________________
> WikimediaAnnounce-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaannounce-l
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

Newyorkbrad (Wikipedia)
When we were discussing an update to the COI/paid editing page on English
Wikipedia a few months ago, I posted a set of hypothetical (but not all
that hypothetical) situations to help guide the discussion.  I've copied
and updated that question set and posted it to the talkpage of the meta
discussion, in the hopes that it might be useful there too in ensuring that
any proposal addresses real situations that arise in a sensible way.

Link:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment#Hypothetical_.28but_not_all_that_hypothetical.29_examples_for_discussion

Regards,
Newyorkbrad



On Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 9:46 PM, Dominic McDevitt-Parks
<[hidden email]>wrote:

> I've thought a lot about the issues around conflict of interest, paid
> editing, and paid advocacy (by the way, those are all overlapping but
> different concepts). My writing (and
> disclosure)<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Dominic/FAQ> was
> brought up on this list last time the issue came up as a model of good
> behavior. I always advocate transparency and disclosure of affiliation when
> edits are done as part of work duties, and only making edits that serve
> Wikimedia's own mission, not just self-interest.
>
> Having said that, this proposal seems awful. It appears to outlaw mistakes.
> All failures to disclose affiliation are "deceptive" according to the
> language, regardless of whether it is done in good faith or bad. I would
> never have interpreted the current TOU's language to mean that omission is
> the same thing as misrepresentation in all cases. That includes edits from
> newbies, or those editing under the assumption presumption that Wikimedia
> grants users unconditional privacy. I think about every GLAM professional
> or academic ever who makes their first tentative edit, and maybe just adds
> a link or uploads a historical image. Or maybe they made a valid, but
> self-interested comment on a talk page (like "Actually, the library has 4
> branches, not 3"). Now, they don't just face the problem of getting
> reverted/warned if they've done something wrong; they have violated the
> site's terms of use as well. And will be subject to "applicable law"(!) As
> if there aren't enough potential stumbling blocks for contributors with
> subject matter expertise or from underserved communities. I see this being
> invoked more often in toxic ways than constructive ones, since more nuanced
> community policies are already in place on major projects.
>
> You said on the talk page in response to someone's concern about those
> types of desirable contributions that "In fact, Wikipedians in Residence
> usually explain their affiliation on their user page (consistent with this
> provision), and exemplify some of the best practices for transparency and
> disclosure." I'm you view us so favorably, but I think it's important to
> point out that good Wikipedians are not born that way. And they probably
> didn't learn their good practices from the terms of use.
>
> And I'm not sure how to make it better. What value does this even serve the
> movement? I can't understand from the background information why there is
> the need to resolve the problem of conflict of interest through a
> Wikimedia-wide terms of use change, especially such a rigid one, when local
> policies are already in place. (Or, if they are not in place, perhaps it
> has more to do with the fact that not all Wikimedia projects even face the
> same problems of neutrality as Wikipedia.) I don't question that conflicts
> of interest are a valid concern, and I am sure this proposal was probably
> written with more clear-cut cases of profit motives in mind, but it seems
> more like an overreach than any kind of solution.
>
> Dominic
>
> (Note, I wasn't paid to make this mailing list post.)
>
>
> On 19 February 2014 17:06, Stephen LaPorte <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Hello all,
> >
> > We are asking for community input on a proposed amendment to the
> Wikimedia
> > Terms of Use regarding undisclosed paid editing. The amendment is
> currently
> > available in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese, and
> > we welcome further translations and discussion in any language.
> >
> > For your review, you may find the proposed amendment and background
> > information here:
> >
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment
> >
> > Please join the discussion on the talk page:
> >
> >
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment
> >
> > Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.
> >
> > --
> > Stephen LaPorte
> > Legal Counsel
> > Wikimedia Foundation
> >
> > *For legal reasons, I may only serve as an attorney for the Wikimedia
> > Foundation. This means I may not give legal advice to or serve as a
> lawyer
> > for community members, volunteers, or staff members in their personal
> > capacity.*
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Please note: all replies sent to this mailing list will be immediately
> > directed to Wikimedia-l, the public mailing list of the Wikimedia
> > community. For more information about Wikimedia-l:
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
> > _______________________________________________
> > WikimediaAnnounce-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaannounce-l
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

MZMcBride-2
In reply to this post by Dominic McDevitt-Parks
A copy of the proposed additional language:

---
Paid contributions without disclosure

These Terms of Use prohibit engaging in deceptive activities, including
misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud. To ensure
compliance with these obligations, you must disclose your employer,
client, and affiliation with respect to any contribution to any Wikimedia
Projects for which you receive compensation. You must make that disclosure
in at least one of the following:

* a statement on your user page,
* a statement on the talk page accompanying any paid contributions, or
* a statement in the edit summary accompanying any paid contributions.

Applicable law, or community and Foundation policies, such as those
addressing conflicts of interest, may further limit paid contributions or
require more detailed disclosure. For more information, please read our
background note on disclosure of paid contributions
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment#
paidtoufaq>.
---

And a snippet from the Meta-Wiki page:

---
Our Terms of Use already prohibit engaging in deceptive activities,
including misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud. To
ensure compliance with these provisions, this amendment provides specific
minimum disclosure requirements for paid contributions on the Wikimedia
Projects.
---

Dominic McDevitt-Parks wrote:
>And I'm not sure how to make it better. What value does this even serve
>the movement? I can't understand from the background information why
>there is the need to resolve the problem of conflict of interest through
>a Wikimedia-wide terms of use change, especially such a rigid one, when
>local policies are already in place. (Or, if they are not in place,
>perhaps it has more to do with the fact that not all Wikimedia projects
>even face the same problems of neutrality as Wikipedia.)

My reaction was roughly the same as yours regarding who's proposing this
change. It's curious that the Wikimedia Foundation legal team wants to
propose this as a Terms of Use change rather than, say, creating or
clarifying a Wikimedia Foundation employee policy. This is already being
referred to as the Stierch amendment, of course.

MZMcBride



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

HaeB
In reply to this post by Dominic McDevitt-Parks
Hi Dominic,

2014-02-19 18:46 GMT-08:00 Dominic McDevitt-Parks <[hidden email]>:

> I've thought a lot about the issues around conflict of interest, paid
> editing, and paid advocacy (by the way, those are all overlapping but
> different concepts). My writing (and
> disclosure)<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Dominic/FAQ> was
> brought up on this list last time the issue came up as a model of good
> behavior. I always advocate transparency and disclosure of affiliation when
> edits are done as part of work duties, and only making edits that serve
> Wikimedia's own mission, not just self-interest.
>
> Having said that, this proposal seems awful. It appears to outlaw mistakes.
> All failures to disclose affiliation are "deceptive" according to the
> language, regardless of whether it is done in good faith or bad. I would
> never have interpreted the current TOU's language to mean that omission is
> the same thing as misrepresentation in all cases. That includes edits from
> newbies, or those editing under the assumption presumption that Wikimedia
> grants users unconditional privacy. I think about every GLAM professional
> or academic ever who makes their first tentative edit, and maybe just adds
> a link or uploads a historical image. Or maybe they made a valid, but
> self-interested comment on a talk page (like "Actually, the library has 4
> branches, not 3"). Now, they don't just face the problem of getting
> reverted/warned if they've done something wrong; they have violated the
> site's terms of use as well. And will be subject to "applicable law"(!) As
> if there aren't enough potential stumbling blocks for contributors with
> subject matter expertise or from underserved communities. I see this being
> invoked more often in toxic ways than constructive ones, since more nuanced
> community policies are already in place on major projects.

Sorry, but I think these concerns are overblown.

First, IANAL, but an "academic ... who makes their first tentative
edit" or other normal newbies will most likely not fall under that
provision, unless they are instructed by their employer to make that
edit (but then, why would an organization such as an university spend
money to pay someone for work in which that person has no experience
whatsoever?).

Second, you make it appear like every violation of the TOU is a felony
("outlaw mistakes") and likely to be the target of legal action. In my
observation as a longtime editor, the reality is different. As a
comparison, the terms of use also forbid copyright infringement and
require proper attribution of content. Yet as we all know, newbie
mistakes in that area are very common, and even many experienced
editors violate [[WP:CWW]] without facing major consequences or
lawsuits ;) However, that doesn't mean at all that we should drop
these requirements - they help us achieving our goal of building a
body of knowledge that can be freely shared and reused.

Last, you vehemently object to the text mentioning that people "will
be subject to 'applicable law'(!)". Well, the Foundation doesn't make
these laws, and not mentioning them in the TOU doesn't make them go
away. They are not mere "stumbling blocks" that WMF can remove in
order to make the life of GLAM professionals a bit easier. You should
instead complain to the FTC or the other (non-US) legal institutions
mentioned in the FAQ about this point.

>
> You said on the talk page in response to someone's concern about those
> types of desirable contributions that "In fact, Wikipedians in Residence
> usually explain their affiliation on their user page (consistent with this
> provision), and exemplify some of the best practices for transparency and
> disclosure." I'm you view us so favorably, but I think it's important to
> point out that good Wikipedians are not born that way. And they probably
> didn't learn their good practices from the terms of use.
>
> And I'm not sure how to make it better. What value does this even serve the
> movement? I can't understand from the background information why there is
> the need to resolve the problem of conflict of interest through a
> Wikimedia-wide terms of use change, especially such a rigid one, when local
> policies are already in place. (Or, if they are not in place, perhaps it
> has more to do with the fact that not all Wikimedia projects even face the
> same problems of neutrality as Wikipedia.) I don't question that conflicts
> of interest are a valid concern, and I am sure this proposal was probably
> written with more clear-cut cases of profit motives in mind, but it seems
> more like an overreach than any kind of solution.
>
> Dominic
>
> (Note, I wasn't paid to make this mailing list post.)
Me neither ;) Although I work for the Foundation in my day job, I have
also been a volunteer editor for a decade now, and I'm speaking as
such here. Over the years I have lost a lot of time trying to maintain
NPOV in articles that were subject to (as it would turn out later)
undisclosed paid editing, and turned away in frustration from many
others that likely were, because I lacked the time and energy to get
involved. And I think that many of our conversations about this
problem area are missing the voice of the editors who actually do this
kind of unrewarding work of cleaning up after edits where someone was
paid to advance interests that do not align with those of Wikipedia
and our readers. Instead, the discussions about this topic, even on
this mailing list, often see heavy participation by the minority of
community members who do, or have done, professional PR work or paid
work related to content contribution, often without disclosing it in
these discussions.
Don't get me wrong, I respect your own approach to disclosure, and
understand that you speak for others who don't follow the same good
principles as you do. (And BTW, I'm a fan of your GLAM-Wiki project,
and spent hours volunteering for it, categorizing hundreds of the NARA
images uploaded by your bot.) But the GLAM perspective is not the only
one, and if there really exists legitimate, beneficial work by
Wikimedians-in-residence such as yourself that would be seriously
affected in the negative by the current wording of the proposed
amendment - which I highly doubt - there should be ways of remedying
that without rejecting it entirely, or otherwise harming its overall
goals.

Regards, HaeB (T. Bayer)

>
>
> On 19 February 2014 17:06, Stephen LaPorte <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Hello all,
>>
>> We are asking for community input on a proposed amendment to the Wikimedia
>> Terms of Use regarding undisclosed paid editing. The amendment is currently
>> available in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese, and
>> we welcome further translations and discussion in any language.
>>
>> For your review, you may find the proposed amendment and background
>> information here:
>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment
>>
>> Please join the discussion on the talk page:
>>
>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment
>>
>> Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.
>>
>> --
>> Stephen LaPorte
>> Legal Counsel
>> Wikimedia Foundation
>>
>> *For legal reasons, I may only serve as an attorney for the Wikimedia
>> Foundation. This means I may not give legal advice to or serve as a lawyer
>> for community members, volunteers, or staff members in their personal
>> capacity.*

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

rupert THURNER-2
In reply to this post by Stephen LaPorte
stephen,

i think it would be wiser to tackle this technically. let mark a
contribution as "COI" when pressing save. the community will make something
out of it, you can be sure. if a person makes too often errors not marking
that an edit is COI, then its easy to make a community backed rule to ban
the person from the projects for not complying. one can also make a rule
that only 5% of a persons edits are allowed to be COI and the editor
numbers would go up.

but i understand,  your job is in the legal department, so you are only
allowed to produce text, not code, which is a pity :( but please do not
forget, if you write one line of text, there are thousands who read it, and
it might be used in legal hassles - which is not at the core of the "free"
in the wikimedia vision and mission.

rupert.



On Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 11:06 PM, Stephen LaPorte <[hidden email]>wrote:

> Hello all,
>
> We are asking for community input on a proposed amendment to the Wikimedia
> Terms of Use regarding undisclosed paid editing. The amendment is currently
> available in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese, and
> we welcome further translations and discussion in any language.
>
> For your review, you may find the proposed amendment and background
> information here:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment
>
> Please join the discussion on the talk page:
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment
>
> Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.
>
> --
> Stephen LaPorte
> Legal Counsel
> Wikimedia Foundation
>
> *For legal reasons, I may only serve as an attorney for the Wikimedia
> Foundation. This means I may not give legal advice to or serve as a lawyer
> for community members, volunteers, or staff members in their personal
> capacity.*
>
> _______________________________________________
> Please note: all replies sent to this mailing list will be immediately
> directed to Wikimedia-l, the public mailing list of the Wikimedia
> community. For more information about Wikimedia-l:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
> _______________________________________________
> WikimediaAnnounce-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaannounce-l
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

Federico Leva (Nemo)
In reply to this post by HaeB
HaeB, 20/02/2014 06:56:
> Second, you make it appear like every violation of the TOU is a felony
> ("outlaw mistakes") and likely to be the target of legal action. In my
> observation as a longtime editor, the reality is different.

Indeed. The reality is that it's a criminal offense, at least in USA,
and any attorney with enough hate for the world can prosecute you until
you commmit suicide.

Nemo

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

Dominic McDevitt-Parks
In reply to this post by HaeB
On 20 February 2014 00:56, HaeB <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>
> Sorry, but I think these concerns are overblown.
>

I do not intend to fill everyone's inbox with a back-and-forth, but I do
want to clarify some of my points.


> First, IANAL, but an "academic ... who makes their first tentative
> edit" or other normal newbies will most likely not fall under that
> provision, unless they are instructed by their employer to make that
> edit (but then, why would an organization such as an university spend
> money to pay someone for work in which that person has no experience
> whatsoever?).
>

I know that you are familiar with the Wikimedia Foundation's Education
Program, which did exactly what you are suggesting is so bizarre. Yes, many
professors over the years have made their first edits as part of their paid
work of teaching university courses, and I doubt they were all diligent
about disclosure, or that many people minded. And it's not hard to imagine
other activities an academic, with a professional mandate to provide public
education, could legitimately perform on Wikimedia as part of their day
job. The president of the American Historical Association wrote an article
saying that historians have a professional obligation to do so. Sue Gardner
gave a keynote for the American Library Association suggesting the same
thing for librarians. I believe the reason universities and scholars would
do this sort of thing and receive compensation for it is that, like an
academic's normal day job, it serves the public interest. These are all
mainstream and fairly well-understood concepts within the Wikimedia
community, even though they entail (non-advocacy) paid editing.

Second, you make it appear like every violation of the TOU is a felony

> ("outlaw mistakes") and likely to be the target of legal action. In my
> observation as a longtime editor, the reality is different. As a
> comparison, the terms of use also forbid copyright infringement and
> require proper attribution of content. Yet as we all know, newbie
> mistakes in that area are very common, and even many experienced
> editors violate [[WP:CWW]] without facing major consequences or
> lawsuits ;) However, that doesn't mean at all that we should drop
> these requirements - they help us achieving our goal of building a
> body of knowledge that can be freely shared and reused.
>

I appreciate that you think I am overreacting, but you are putting words in
my mouth--I clearly understand that a Wikimedia TOU is not a legislative
action by the government, and I was only suggesting that the WMF would be
making a rule, not a literal law. By dismissing me in that way, you have
ignored my real point, which is that the proposed text sets up a situation
in which any reasonable, well-intentioned new paid editor is naturally
likely to violate the site's TOU. That is not itself a reason not to have
such a clause in a TOU, but it does seem like it would contribute to the
feeling that Wikipedia is overly rule-bound and unwelcoming to newcomers.

Last, you vehemently object to the text mentioning that people "will
> be subject to 'applicable law'(!)". Well, the Foundation doesn't make
> these laws, and not mentioning them in the TOU doesn't make them go
> away. They are not mere "stumbling blocks" that WMF can remove in
> order to make the life of GLAM professionals a bit easier. You should
> instead complain to the FTC or the other (non-US) legal institutions
> mentioned in the FAQ about this point.
>

I did not anywhere advocate for making laws go away, or thinking that this
is a TOU's role. Any person is always bound by all applicable laws in
anything they do, as you say. The fact that there may be an applicable law
does not necessitate making a TOU to state that unless it is constructive
in some way to do so.


> Instead, the discussions about this topic, even on
> this mailing list, often see heavy participation by the minority of
> community members who do, or have done, professional PR work or paid
> work related to content contribution, often without disclosing it in
> these discussions.
>

It doesn't appear anyone described by the above sentence has weighed in
here yet (nor did such people dominate the recent "Paid editing v. paid
advocacy" thread), unless that is aimed at me. You probably won't be
surprised to hear that, from my perspective, these discussions are seem to
suffer from the conflation paid advocacy and paid editing in pursuit of
Wikimedia's mission. This discussion shows how the proposal promotes that
same conflation, except it is all "undisclosed paid editing" that is now
the enemy, still with no regard as to whether it is advocacy or not.

The goal in this discussion should not be to say why paid advocacy is bad.
That is a given for most people. The point of the discussion is to
establish what good this proposal for the TOU would do for Wikimedia's
mission, and if it is worth the potential harm.

Dominic
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

Lodewijk
In reply to this post by Stephen LaPorte
Maybe I missed something, but could you please explain why the Terms of Use
would be the best place to make this kind of decisions?

As I understand it, the Terms of Use are Wikimedia-wide, and I'm not 100%
certain this is the kind of rule we'd want to apply on all projects the
same way. The community (both language and project) might want to derive
from it - either way.

Kind regards,

Lodewijk


2014-02-19 23:06 GMT+01:00 Stephen LaPorte <[hidden email]>:

> Hello all,
>
> We are asking for community input on a proposed amendment to the Wikimedia
> Terms of Use regarding undisclosed paid editing. The amendment is currently
> available in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese, and
> we welcome further translations and discussion in any language.
>
> For your review, you may find the proposed amendment and background
> information here:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment
>
> Please join the discussion on the talk page:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment
>
> Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.
>
> --
> Stephen LaPorte
> Legal Counsel
> Wikimedia Foundation
>
> *For legal reasons, I may only serve as an attorney for the Wikimedia
> Foundation. This means I may not give legal advice to or serve as a lawyer
> for community members, volunteers, or staff members in their personal
> capacity.*
>
> _______________________________________________
> Please note: all replies sent to this mailing list will be immediately
> directed to Wikimedia-l, the public mailing list of the Wikimedia
> community. For more information about Wikimedia-l:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
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>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

HaeB
In reply to this post by Dominic McDevitt-Parks
On Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 12:15 AM, Dominic McDevitt-Parks
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 20 February 2014 00:56, HaeB <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>
>> Sorry, but I think these concerns are overblown.
>>
>
> I do not intend to fill everyone's inbox with a back-and-forth, but I do
> want to clarify some of my points.
>
>
>> First, IANAL, but an "academic ... who makes their first tentative
>> edit" or other normal newbies will most likely not fall under that
>> provision, unless they are instructed by their employer to make that
>> edit (but then, why would an organization such as an university spend
>> money to pay someone for work in which that person has no experience
>> whatsoever?).
>>
>
> I know that you are familiar with the Wikimedia Foundation's Education
> Program, which did exactly what you are suggesting is so bizarre. Yes, many
> professors over the years have made their first edits as part of their paid
> work of teaching university courses,
Yes, but that comparison is a mischaracterization of what the
Education Program does. Of course it does not pay (or suggest to pay)
professors to make clueless newbie edits "with no experience
whatsoever" in ignorance of community policies or the TOU. From its
beginning as the "Public Policy Initiative", the program included
guidance for the participating instructors (e.g. training by
Ambassadors), to help them understand policies and provide training
experience, before they engage in their Wikipedia course work. That's
far from how I understood the situation that you had been evoking,
where an academic is just toying around with editing. I know you
worked as a Campus Ambassador yourself, and I'm relieved to see that
the very first edits of the professor you were supporting back then
consisted of this kind of disclosure. I sure hope she was made aware
of basic Wikipedia principles before engaging in the paid work of
teaching that Wikipedia university course.

What's more, the Education Program has since even hardcoded such
disclosure into MediaWiki, in form of the Education Program extension
for MediaWiki:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Courses (click through to the
course pages and look at the "Instructors" field in the table)

> and I doubt they were all diligent about disclosure, or that many people minded.
Actually, a whole lot of people minded. The English Wikipedia
community has become quite adamant about disclosure. Last year there
was a huge community controversy about a case where one Canadian
professor was (in his own words) "going 'underground'" with his
Wikipedia course, refusing to take part in the Education Program
because he felt that its disclosure requirements would bring
unwarranted scrutiny by Wikipedians. IIRC, in the lengthy discussions
on the education noticeboard, no community members supported this
position.

> And it's not hard to imagine
> other activities an academic, with a professional mandate to provide public
> education, could legitimately perform on Wikimedia as part of their day
> job.
Sure, I don't see this being disputed.

> The president of the American Historical Association wrote an article
> saying that historians have a professional obligation to do so.
If you meant to say that this article talks about day jobs:
http://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/february-2012/scholarly-authority-in-a-wikified-world
...then I think that this is misrepresenting its content - it ends
with the words "Any volunteers?" and says that historians should
follow the example of "Scientists, engineers, and programmers [who]
have been contributing sophisticated entries to Wikipedia almost from
the beginning", certainly not as paid editors back then.

> Sue Gardner
> gave a keynote for the American Library Association suggesting the same
> thing for librarians.
Could you cite the exact wording where she was talking about editing
as part of their day jobs? (If it helps, here is the brief summary I
wrote back then for the Signpost:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2011-06-27/News_and_notes
)

> I believe the reason universities and scholars would
> do this sort of thing and receive compensation for it is that, like an
> academic's normal day job, it serves the public interest. These are all
> mainstream and fairly well-understood concepts within the Wikimedia
> community, even though they entail (non-advocacy) paid editing.
Dominic, nobody is trying to prohibit this kind of activity per se,
and personally I agree it can be a good thing. But if we get these
universities to write the improvement of Wikipedia into scholars' job
responsibilities (instead of those of their PR staff, many of whom
engage in problematic advocacy editing), then I can't see why adding a
sentence to one's user page would be so big of a burden. My employer
requires that btw, even though I make no paid edits to article
content.

>
> Second, you make it appear like every violation of the TOU is a felony
>> ("outlaw mistakes") and likely to be the target of legal action. In my
>> observation as a longtime editor, the reality is different. As a
>> comparison, the terms of use also forbid copyright infringement and
>> require proper attribution of content. Yet as we all know, newbie
>> mistakes in that area are very common, and even many experienced
>> editors violate [[WP:CWW]] without facing major consequences or
>> lawsuits ;) However, that doesn't mean at all that we should drop
>> these requirements - they help us achieving our goal of building a
>> body of knowledge that can be freely shared and reused.
>>
>
> I appreciate that you think I am overreacting, but you are putting words in
> my mouth--I clearly understand that a Wikimedia TOU is not a legislative
> action by the government, and I was only suggesting that the WMF would be
> making a rule, not a literal law. By dismissing me in that way, you have
> ignored my real point, which is that the proposed text sets up a situation
> in which any reasonable, well-intentioned new paid editor is naturally
> likely to violate the site's TOU. That is not itself a reason not to have
> such a clause in a TOU, but it does seem like it would contribute to the
> feeling that Wikipedia is overly rule-bound and unwelcoming to newcomers.
>
I appreciate that you feel Wikipedia needs more paid editors and must
not make even minimal additional requirements if someone edits
professionally to fulfill their job responsibilities. But it's still
worth being aware that the vast majority of new editors are volunteers
and therefore not affected at all by the proposal.

> Last, you vehemently object to the text mentioning that people "will
>> be subject to 'applicable law'(!)". Well, the Foundation doesn't make
>> these laws, and not mentioning them in the TOU doesn't make them go
>> away. They are not mere "stumbling blocks" that WMF can remove in
>> order to make the life of GLAM professionals a bit easier. You should
>> instead complain to the FTC or the other (non-US) legal institutions
>> mentioned in the FAQ about this point.
>>
>
> I did not anywhere advocate for making laws go away, or thinking that this
> is a TOU's role. Any person is always bound by all applicable laws in
> anything they do, as you say. The fact that there may be an applicable law
> does not necessitate making a TOU to state that unless it is constructive
> in some way to do so.
>
Well, but then what's the downside in making paid editors aware of
this legal risk?
And thanks for clarifying your intention - I think it was reasonable
to have interpreted your wording differently ("Now, they... will be
subject to "applicable law"(!) As if there aren't enough potential
stumbling blocks for contributors ..."), but OK.

>
>> Instead, the discussions about this topic, even on
>> this mailing list, often see heavy participation by the minority of
>> community members who do, or have done, professional PR work or paid
>> work related to content contribution, often without disclosing it in
>> these discussions.
>>
>
> It doesn't appear anyone described by the above sentence has weighed in
> here yet (nor did such people dominate the recent "Paid editing v. paid
> advocacy" thread), unless that is aimed at me. You probably won't be
> surprised to hear that, from my perspective, these discussions are seem to
> suffer from the conflation paid advocacy and paid editing in pursuit of
> Wikimedia's mission. This discussion shows how the proposal promotes that
> same conflation, except it is all "undisclosed paid editing" that is now
> the enemy, still with no regard as to whether it is advocacy or not.
>
> The goal in this discussion should not be to say why paid advocacy is bad.
> That is a given for most people. The point of the discussion is to
> establish what good this proposal for the TOU would do for Wikimedia's
> mission, and if it is worth the potential harm.
>
It's also part of the discussion to assess the potential harm, and I
responded to your email because I think it vastly exaggerated it. And
the point about the imbalance in participation between these two
groups is that one of them (naturally) might focus their attention on
potential downsides if they feel their way of earning an income might
be negatively affected by such a proposal, and the other is in a
better position to assess whether it might help with the problem that
they are spending their volunteer time to mitigate.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

Effe iets anders
In reply to this post by Stephen LaPorte
it seems my email was rejected, trying to send again:

Maybe I missed something, but could you please explain why the Terms of Use
would be the best place to make this kind of decisions?

As I understand it, the Terms of Use are Wikimedia-wide, and I'm not 100%
certain this is the kind of rule we'd want to apply on all projects the
same way. The community (both language and project) might want to derive
from it - either way.

Kind regards,

Lodewijk


2014-02-19 23:06 GMT+01:00 Stephen LaPorte <[hidden email]>:

> Hello all,
>
> We are asking for community input on a proposed amendment to the Wikimedia
> Terms of Use regarding undisclosed paid editing. The amendment is currently
> available in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese, and
> we welcome further translations and discussion in any language.
>
> For your review, you may find the proposed amendment and background
> information here:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment
>
> Please join the discussion on the talk page:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment
>
> Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.
>
> --
> Stephen LaPorte
> Legal Counsel
> Wikimedia Foundation
>
> *For legal reasons, I may only serve as an attorney for the Wikimedia
> Foundation. This means I may not give legal advice to or serve as a lawyer
> for community members, volunteers, or staff members in their personal
> capacity.*
>
> _______________________________________________
> Please note: all replies sent to this mailing list will be immediately
> directed to Wikimedia-l, the public mailing list of the Wikimedia
> community. For more information about Wikimedia-l:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
> _______________________________________________
> WikimediaAnnounce-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaannounce-l
>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

phoebe ayers-3
In reply to this post by MZMcBride-2
Hi all,

A few notes from my own perspective:

1) I'm glad to see this lively debate! I hope the right solution comes out
of it and is iron-clad against contingencies, insofar as possible :)

2) I don't want to see the projects used and misused as a platform to
achieve goals other than our mission of sharing free knowledge -- and, as a
part of that, I want to discourage contributions to articles that have an
end goal other than making those articles better according to objective
standards (and, of course, encourage contributions that do have the end
goal of making articles better). Though I haven't checked with legal, I
don't think that's a controversial statement :)

*How* we discourage contributions that don't fit with our own goals is the
question -- policy changes Wikimedia-wide, project-wide, something else?
This is a proposal using one of the legal tools in our toolbox, the ToU,
which is one of the very few Wikimedia-wide policies that can address
contribution standards and is also one of the very few tools that is
recognized as legally valid by outside parties (unlike for instance our
internal policies like NPOV, which are just that, editorial policies).

3) I think this proposal is trying to addressing a long-standing issue of
COI editing. That issue was recently brought to the forefront again by the
actions of a few companies, but it's been an issue for a long while.

4) I'm glad to see Dominic weigh in with some issues from a GLAM
perspective. Of course I personally am interested in GLAM issues, but I
also think we collectively need to grapple with how to make the projects
friendlier towards all kinds of people with things to share, including but
not exclusively GLAMs and educators.

For my part, I would love to see a world where contributing to Wikipedia
was seen as a normal part of business for educational and cultural
institutions and the people who work there; I think that would be a win for
all of us, including the GLAMS. How to do that so we also preserve our
neutrality and values is the challenge facing us right now: and we need to
figure out specific things, like how we balance disclosure versus anonymity
for these contributors, and how we distinguish good motivations from
cluelessness or COI. I don't have a good answer for this personally, though
I have lots of thoughts (I've worked with plenty of researchers who are in
fact trying to work on Wikipedia during their paid time. And bear in mind
that for academics like professors, there's often no real line between "on
the clock" and "off the clock" -- you do work relating to your job all the
time).

Disclosure: I myself contribute hours and hours of work to Wikimedia during
my day job, including writing this email, because I've made the case to my
employer that my contributions to WMF as a trustee and volunteer can be
seen as a professional obligation, just like helping out with a library
association would be. That does not include my actual editing of Wikipedia,
which I do with my volunteer hat on and in my free time. But let's face it:
the lines are often blurry. For instance, I don't think my edits to
engineering articles are a COI simply because I also work as an engineering
librarian. But I do recognize that there are lots of different cases,
ranging from that kind of mild overlap of day-job interest and Wikipedia
work; to a researcher making an edit on a subject they study and
(unknowingly or knowingly) over-representing their own work in the
references; to someone making an edit to a company article to make it more
favorable because they were paid by the company to do so. So, having
clarity when we talk about these issues about what kind of cases we have in
mind is important.

best,
-- Phoebe

--
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

Anders Wennersten-2
phoebe ayers skrev 2014-02-20 20:16:
> 3) I think this proposal is trying to addressing a long-standing issue of
> COI editing. That issue was recently brought to the forefront again by the
> actions of a few companies, but it's been an issue for a long while.

Please remember this is a description of the reality on en:wp. The reality looks very different on other version.

On svwp we are a group of a few hundred active contributes  where paid editors and volunteers have a fruitful cooperation to create valuable and neutral articles. When we have discussed this proposal on our Village Pump we think it would be good to have it as a guideline and loose recommendation but if it would become mandatory we believe it would actually hurt our community and work. We are not bigger than it is possible for me alone to inspect all new articles from nonwikipedians 24/7, and react appropriate to different problems in the articles, and recognizing patterns of "strange" edits, and others are able to do the same for changes in articles

So please let each project decide on how to tackle the COi issue by themselves, and encourage exchange on best practices in the area. But also make sure No mandatory restrictions on all projects on contributers like this that would seriously harm the work in several projects

Andes





 


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

Nathan Awrich
Is there a way to incorporate the local policy by reference into the TOU,
something like "The Wikimedia Foundation requires that all users being paid
to contribute follow the disclosure, conflict or related applicable policy
on each project where said users contribute."? Might that be a solution to
establishing a binding policy with legal weight, without superseding local
intentions?
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

phoebe ayers-3
In reply to this post by Anders Wennersten-2
On Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 12:08 PM, Anders Wennersten <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> phoebe ayers skrev 2014-02-20 20:16:
>
>  3) I think this proposal is trying to addressing a long-standing issue of
>> COI editing. That issue was recently brought to the forefront again by the
>> actions of a few companies, but it's been an issue for a long while.
>>
>
> Please remember this is a description of the reality on en:wp. The reality
> looks very different on other version.
>

Thanks for talking about your situation :) I do think it's right to say
this has been a concern on several projects, not only enwp, but it is true
every wiki is different.


> On svwp we are a group of a few hundred active contributes  where paid
> editors and volunteers have a fruitful cooperation to create valuable and
> neutral articles. When we have discussed this proposal on our Village Pump
> we think it would be good to have it as a guideline and loose
> recommendation but if it would become mandatory we believe it would
> actually hurt our community and work. We are not bigger than it is possible
> for me alone to inspect all new articles from nonwikipedians 24/7, and
> react appropriate to different problems in the articles, and recognizing
> patterns of "strange" edits, and others are able to do the same for changes
> in articles
>
> So please let each project decide on how to tackle the COi issue by
> themselves, and encourage exchange on best practices in the area. But also
> make sure No mandatory restrictions on all projects on contributers like
> this that would seriously harm the work in several projects
>

How do you seeing this as a restriction on contribution? As it is proposed
it's not saying edits will be rejected, only that contributors who are paid
to edit should note this on their userpage or in edit summaries. I think
that every edit would still be subject to the same kind of editorial
scrutiny that happens now.

(note I'm not arguing that this proposal is exactly the right answer, I
just don't follow the reasoning why you think it would restrict
contributions).

best,
-- phoebe




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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

Fæ
Having led an all day workshop with different GLAM organizations in
Cornwall, fresh in my mind are the stories of woe from respected
museum professionals who have run into hot water on the English
Wikipedia by creating "official" looking accounts to make edits for
their institution and/or using material from their websites, including
material that they personally published.

Whatever happens to the TOU, we do need to create extremely easy to
understand guidance for GLAM professionals, preferably at the time of
account creation and initial edits.

The current system is not only confusing, but is an active deterrent,
at times permanently, for volunteers and professionals wanting to help
Wikipedia with their expertise and leaves these type of contributors a
bit embarrassed, feeling they have done something wrong and treated
like a spammer, when they are exactly the types of good faith
contributors that should be nurtured and prove invaluable for open
knowledge content creation with a small amount of support from us.

Fae
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

Anders Wennersten-2
In reply to this post by phoebe ayers-3

phoebe ayers skrev 2014-02-20 21:28:
> How do you seeing this as a restriction on contribution? As it is proposed
> it's not saying edits will be rejected, only that contributors who are paid
> to edit should note this on their userpage or in edit summaries. I think
> that every edit would still be subject to the same kind of editorial
> scrutiny that happens now.
As I said we would be happy to have this as a guideline (we actually
recommend companies to do this already and many present themself this
way already)

But if we would start threating these users not to be welcome if they do
not do this presentation it would make our cooperation worse and send
some of them away. And even more if some of us by misunderstanding the
mandatory writing started to threaten the big greyscale paid editors
(glam people, big organizations - not being commercial compaines etc) it
would really send a lot of valuable contributers away (and the paid
editor are in general much better in proving sources... then
unexperienced volunteers)

Also I think a mandatory rule like this would be taken negative by the
general public in Sweden, where good cooperation between different
categories of people always is seen as an ideal, and everthing hindering
a cooperation built on trust (but also transparency) is seen as negative

Anders




>
>


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

Luis Villa
In reply to this post by Lodewijk
On Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 3:46 AM, Lodewijk <[hidden email]>wrote:

> Maybe I missed something, but could you please explain why the Terms of Use
> would be the best place to make this kind of decisions?
>
> As I understand it, the Terms of Use are Wikimedia-wide, and I'm not 100%
> certain this is the kind of rule we'd want to apply on all projects the
> same way. The community (both language and project) might want to derive
> from it - either way.
>

Hi, Lodewijk - Geoff responded to this general concern here:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment#Yes.2C_I_believe_it_will

Hope that helps answer the question.

Luis


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415.839.6885 ext. 6810

NOTICE: *This message may be confidential or legally privileged. If you
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

Luis Villa
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
On Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 12:27 PM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Is there a way to incorporate the local policy by reference into the TOU,
> something like "The Wikimedia Foundation requires that all users being
> paid
> to contribute follow the disclosure, conflict or related applicable policy
> on each project where said users contribute."? Might that be a solution to
> establishing a binding policy with legal weight, without superseding local
> intentions?
>

I tried to answer this on meta:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment#question_about_incorporating_local_policy_.28from_Wikimedia-l.29

Hope that clarifies a bit, given the relevant history.

Luis

P.S. We're replying to things on meta, since that is where the banners are
directing people to go, and because it helps keep a history of the
conversation in one place.

--
Luis Villa
Deputy General Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation
415.839.6885 ext. 6810

NOTICE: *This message may be confidential or legally privileged. If you
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Proposed amendment to the Wikimedia Terms of Use

Christophe Henner
Hi everyone,

This email is also available on meta :
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment#It.27s_all_for_show

Over the last few hours people asked me to re-share my mail from
January regarding paid editing and to even elaborate on it :
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2014-January/069717.html

I won't elaborate on that.

This amendment is all for show. This is the kind of amendment that is
not enforceable. It's only use is that some board of trustees will be
able to get in front of the press and vigorously claim "Paid editing
is bad!".

Will it prevent people to edit without disclosing anything? No.

Will it encourage companies to embrace our values and improve articles
in fields they're experts in? No.

Will it prevent biased volunteers to edit? No.

So if we look at what our main issues are (increasing the number of
editors, increasing quality) I don't see any way where this amendment
will help us in any of this cases. And this is an issue we've had for
7 to 9 years, our projects didn't collapse. I'm really not sure why it
is needed to have such amendment now.

So, I don't care if this amendment is approved in the end, or not, as
it will be useless and non-enforceable. Instead I'll keep on working
with other people on proposing real solutions.

Though I do have a quick question for the legal team, is it ok for a
hosting organization to enforce rules that have an editorial inpact on
the services it hosts? I mean, lawyers have been trying for years to
sue Wikimedia organizations and prove that WMF has some level of
editorial control over Wikipedia. If WMF is the one deciding how a
specific set of editors must behave when editing, couldn't they use
that to prove that WMF does, indeend, have some editorial power? Much
alike an editor-in-chief chooses who's published in its paper and how
they're credited.
Best,

Christophe

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