Wikizine Opinion - Year: 2011 Week: 38 Number: 128 BIS

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Wikizine Opinion - Year: 2011 Week: 38 Number: 128 BIS

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Year: 2011  Week: 38  Number: 128 BIS


An independent internal news bulletin
for the members of the Wikimedia community


=== Wikizine needs YOU! ===

Wikipedia has already changed the world. Wikimedia movement is at the  
beginning of that task. To push the movement into that direction,  
Wikizine needs your '''bold''' ideas and personal perspectives! Send  
your ideas to us or simply add them into the appropriate section. What  
YOU think can change the world!

[Name] - Working title of this edition is "Wikizine Talk Edition"  
because we didn't have better idea. Send us suggestions for the name!

=== Contents ===

Personal perspective
In the news
 From Wikipedia

=== Editorial by Milos ===

As you could read in Wikizine 127 [1], I took initiative and began a  
Wikizine revival. You may notice some changes and I can say that there  
will be more changes, as such changes keep all of us alive.

Editorial is one of those changes and it will have two main parts: (1)  
presentation of one of the Wikizine feature and (2) analysis of the  
most important event from the previous week or two. Opinion or Talk  
Edition of Wikizine will be published on Friday and ?previous week?  
means approximately Friday-Thursday time frame.

Last week had begun with such intensity, I thought I could close this  
edition by Monday.


==== (Un)acceptible Foundation influence on chapters ====

On August 27th, almost 20 days before the conclusion of this edition,  
CasteloBranco, a member of the initiative for Wikimedia Brazil, sent  
an email to foundation-l [1] with the description of agreement inside  
of Brazilian Wikimedian community about chapter creation. That was the  
main obstacle toward formalizing the chapter, as Brazilian Wikimedians  
didn?t feel comfortable with the idea of having a formal organization.

That day five more Wikimedians discussed the outlines of this  
agreement on foundation-l, including a note from Ray Saintonge that  
it?s not the best idea to have a Wikimedia Foundation appointee in  
chapter?s Board (as suggested by WM Brazil?s agreement).

For five days discussion was dead, when Jimmy Wales said that having a  
WMF appointee is, actually, a good idea. That sparked long discussions  
on both foundation-l and internal-l (the latter one is a non-public  
list of the core of Wikimedia movement). A number of chapters  
representatives felt offended by the idea of having a WMF appointee on  
their boards.


==== Image filter retrospective (from spring 2008 to early 2011) ====

For those who have forgotten what?s behind the image filter  
?referendum?, here is a retrospective.

The initial point of the drama started on 7 May 2008 [4]. Because of  
religion, of course. US-based ?social conservative? site WorldNetDaily  
reported Wikipedia [5] because of the cover art for the Scorpions?  
album Virgin Killer [6]. According to Concerned Women of America,  
another ?social conservative? group, ?Wikipedia is helping to further  
facilitate perversion and pedophilia.?

On 5 December 2008, in the moment of madness, worthy of the best of  
surreal poetry, Internet Watch Foundaiton (IWF) [7], the association  
of UK internet providers, listed Wikipedia as a child pornography site  
[8] because of the same album cover [6]. It seems that IWF needed just  
four days to find someone who knows what Wikipedia is. IWF reversed  
their blacklisting on 9 December.

In a moment of desperate need for self-promotion, Larry Sanger [9],  
known because he didn?t believe that his project (Wikipedia, for which  
has sometimes been described as a co-founder), would succeed and not  
so known because of a number of failed projects, reported Wikipedia to  
the FBI [10] on 10 April 2010 because, of course, ?child pornography?.

Just a short 17 days later, Fox News discovered the hot news and  
published it [11] in a well known form of spreading FUD to everything  
which doesn?t fit to their retarded worldview.

The action of the IWF prompted discussions on Wikimedia Commons in  
2008. However, just after the Commons community declined to change  
well defined policy toward images, which are handled based on their  
quality, not the biased opinion on content, on May 6th, 2010 Jimmy  
Wales started to delete not just poor quality Second Life animated  
pornography, but artworks, as well. That sparked a huge revolt among  
editors [13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20]. At the other side, the  
action was praised by Fox News, of course [21].

Between May 6th and May 9th, the most striking event was the fact that  
smart people from the Board were talking nonsense just to stand behind  
Jimmy?s irrational behavior.

The  Board?s statement from May 7th [22] was actually quite good. Note  
that part of the statement says ?In saying this, we don't intend  to  
create new policy, but rather to reaffirm and support policy that  
already exists.? Yet as it could be seen, in around one month the same  
Board changed their mind and pushed development with the aim to  
implement new policy.

After that the Kafkaesque parody started. Jan-Bart de Vreede, a Board  
member, interpreted Board?s statement as supporting Jimmy?s deletion  
of artworks [23]. Ting Chen, Board chair, also supported deletion of  
artworks [24]. Stuart West thinks that some deleted artworks are  
?hardcore pornography?, as well [25].

Digression about artworks for the complete picture. Jimmy deleted  
[28], among others, the next images:

Painting [27] by Édouard-Henri Avril, a 19th and early 20th century  
French painter [28].
Graphics [29] by Franz von Bayros, a late 19th and early 20th century  
Austrian illustrator [30].
Graphics [31] by Félicien Rops, a 19th century Belgian artist [32].

What is interesting with all of those artists is that they belong to  
the Decadent movement in art [33]. Which, by the way, says that you  
can create the most important educational resource in the history, but  
not be able to make distinction between pornography and art. And no  
matter of your ignorance, you would be supported by your fellow Board  

On May 9th, 2010, by concluding his regular behavioral iteration --  
first makes a problem, then does the right thing to fix it --, Jimmy  
abandoned his permissions [34].

But, of course, that wasn?t the end of the drama. On June 24th, 2010  
Board commissioned the Executive Director to find a way to satisfy Fox  
News and those who take Fox News seriously. [35]

I had personal conversation with Robert Harris, the person employed by  
the WMF to ?solve? the problem. It was a very surprising discussion.  
During the first iteration of our communication, at the time when he  
presented some facts, including a perspective of one Canadian  
librarian [36], which clearly stated that libraries do not mark  
?objectionable? content in any particular way, it was a real pleasure  
to hear his insights.

But a month or two later it was clear that he wasn?t employed to make  
a decent suggestion, based on our values. He was employed to make a  
decision which would satisfy Fox News adherents. Instead of mentioning  
anywhere that it is not usual to mark sexually explicit content,  
instead of giving a multicultural perspective by adding at least  
Muhammad depictions to the list, he just produced a conclusion to  
please those to whom it is much more problematic that their daughter  
educate herself in sexual hygiene and contraception, then to see her  
pregnant at the age of 15. Of course, by mentioning ?multiculturalism?  
just when it is in favor of those, exclusively American right-wing  
views [37].

Then the Censorship workgroup [not able to find public link; it was  
likely announced on internal-l] was created. The task of the group was  
to articulate what the censorship would look like. I offered,  
hesitantly, to participate in it, as a part of the responsibility  
which I had as one of the most vocal opponents of that task. Not  
unexpectedly, all of us were happy without me on the workgroup.

After a period of workgroup work, it presented the design of  
censorship software [38]. To be honest, it is not bad at all. People  
are able to click on ?show image?, nothing is cemented. In an ideal  
world, such an image filter would be a very good option. However, we  
don?t live in an ideal world.

I?ll describe current events (the second part of 2011) after enough  
time passes and some distance from the current events would be created.



==== Song of the week ====

For the end of the editorial, here is the song of the week:


=== Personal perspective ===

This week we have personal perspective from Salmaan Haroon,  
User:Theo10011 [1].

Theo is from India. He is originally from English Wikipedia but mostly  
active on Meta these days. He worked extensively on the WMF strategic  
plan on Strategy Wiki [2] a couple of years ago. He has been involved  
in Movement roles since early this year. He wrote for the Signpost  

He worked for WMF for 3 months last year during the fundraiser, and  
got the chance to interact with chapters and see the fundraising issue  
from different perspectives.

Wikimedia chapters council [3] is his proposal.



I was invited to write about my perspective on the recent chapter and  
fundraising issues that have been doing the rounds. Let me first start  
out by making this disclosure- I am not affiliated with any chapter  
beyond a regular membership acquired a few weeks ago, I never sat on a  
chapter board, attended a general meeting, and neither do I plan on  
starting any time soon. Given a different set of circumstance, I am  
not sure if my perspective would be deemed completely neutral in the  
following matter.

Previously, as an outsider to the internal working of Wikimedia and  
chapter relations, I viewed the idea of chapters as a regular  
unaffiliated community member would i.e. with a mix of ignorance and  
skepticism. Chapters are viewed in some circles as legal organizations  
formed in different countries by a handful of people who then use  
Wikimedia trademarks and fundraising to raise funds to just exist and  
occasionally serve as a local outreach point. Somewhere during the  
last year, I actually started meeting some of these people. I began to  
see the other side, how chapters perceive themselves and each other.  
True, there is an entire spectrum where each chapter falls and how  
close they actually are to what they want to be. Some of these people  
became my friends, I started seeing things from their perspective.

Over the last year, I saw chapters organize and take on activities  
like Wiki Loves Monuments, something the foundation never tried to do.  
I saw them do local GLAM outreach and activities in Germany and  
France, again, something that the foundation could not take on  
directly. They all do their own thing individually in their part of  
the world whether it be some open-license lobbying to their local  
institutions or outreach to a local exhibition. I can not in good  
conscience accept that our movement would be any better off without  
them being independent. They are completely decentralized, and do  
their own thing independently, I love that model. A few dozen  
organizations doing their own things in tandem in different parts of  
the world is an unmatched model when it comes to productivity.

Lately however, there have been overtures that this model might be  
under threat. The distance and the relation between the foundation and  
the chapters has been getting more and more strained. The fundraising  
issue and the board letter that started the recent debate at the core  
placed concerns, that really no one disagreed with. I am yet to talk  
to a single person who thinks that most of those concerns aren't  
legitimate or there isn't a need for a sustained model of  
accountability. Almost every chapter in private and public, agrees  
that the issues are serious and require some action on everyones part.

The biggest issue is however how these concerns are being addressed.  
Some of the foundation's recent actions are being perceived as a  
heavy-handed towards chapters and the community at large. The  
conceptual directives have been coming from the board, perceptually  
overlooking an important distinction someone else made earlier- the  
board is the Wikimedia Foundation's board, not the chapter's,  
certainly not the movement's, the larger community is even less  
inclined to agree.

When the questions about the fundraising issue started, there were 2  
large concerns that took over after the board's announcement. One, if  
the chapters that already agreed to participate in the fundraiser  
being allowed to continue, and second, if new half-a-dozen chapters  
that wanted to participate would be able to do so. The timing as  
others pointed out was less than ideal, having the staff and the board  
in person at Wikimania didn't help and instead compounded the  
problems. The cross-talk between the board and staff at that stage  
seemed minimal. Sue gave a lengthy explanation about the issues and  
the board's concern, as did several board members who offered their  
perspective, staff members however seemed to be on a different page.  
Instead of giving any time to discuss and coordinate on how to address  
these issues, the entire fundraising model was taken away in what some  
perceive as a knee-jerk reaction and being replaced quietly by a  
grants-only model.

In hindsight, effective planning, and better timing might have avoided  
the initial confusion. But springing such an important change on  
chapters so close to the fundraiser, even after chapters attended an  
entire 'fundraising summit' just a few weeks prior could not have gone  
well. Chapters were told how to participate in the fundraiser by WMF  
staff that attended the aforementioned 'summit'. They were now being  
told to re-evaluate it all, and forget about fundraising and focus on  
a grants-based model. With all the arguments and the questions that  
ensued, the staff hasn't addressed most of the issues publicly.

Delphine pointed out facts about WMDE, how the ideal independent  
chapter, the only one who would be allowed to fundraise came to be.  
How its independence, and the ability to stand on its own two feet  
made WMDE an example to follow for others. The notion that independent  
fundraising by chapters wouldn't affect the money needed by the  
movement is a fallacy. The movement as a whole would lose millions  
every year, if the chapters are not allowed to do this locally. At  
some point, we have to realize - a one size fits all, global solution  
doesn't work. Our movement is decentralized, I think it's only logical  
that the fundraising be decentralized as well.

There is also a general sense of questioning the ownership of the  
fundraiser among the larger community. There are people who believe  
that it is the foundation's prerogative to only allow anyone it wants  
to fundraise or not, since it is the sole entity in charge of  
everything related to the movement. This would inevitably lead to more  
questions about ownership of the projects, and who is entitled to  
raise money in the name of Wikipedia?

Non-profits around the world use a decentralized model similar to the  
one we might have. The current structure looks identical to theirs. if  
someone were to visit, they would be directed to the nearest  
office in their region where they can donate to the cause. In our  
case, the biggest identity would be our projects, a banner could serve  
the same purpose locally. Why do we then question the same model that  
already exist and work elsewhere?

Around the time these discussions were going on, I recalled something  
that we talked about during the Chapters conference in Berlin. An idea  
about a Chapters council, composed of all individual chapters to say  
"We, the chapters...." - The community itself is large enough that it  
can never completely agree on any point together, an important  
distinctions that chapters might not suffer from. The number of  
chapters are not large, and some of the issues are so central that a  
single unanimous voice is not hard to form. There are and have been  
several iterations of this body, over the years and there is a clear  
need for it now than ever before. I have no idea if it can bridge the  
gap and address some of the concerns everyone has, but I do believe,  
it is worth trying, now more than ever.

Chapters, should ideally be the face of the movement- young,  
hard-working, active and mostly unpaid volunteers that take the  
good-nature and ethos of our movement, offline. Be it some small  
project in their backyard, outreach to a local library or museum or a  
small exhibition in their city, they should be given freedom to decide  
what works for them locally and then the ability to do so. The  
foundation should ideally, do its best to support and decentralize  
this model as much as possible. When chapters work, they work  

Salmaan Haroon, User:Theo10011

=== In the news ===

[Jimmy Wales and Sue Gardner in US diplomatic cable] - Jimmy Wales was  
mentioned in a leaked US diplomatic cable under the name Jimmy Walker.  
Among many people with that name, one Jimmy Walker was the mayor of  
New York City from 1926 to 1932. Another one is Jimmie Walker,  
comedian. Sue Gardner has been presented as "Wikipedia's leading  

[Inventor of eBook died] - Michael Stern Hart, inventor of the eBook  
concept and Project Gutenberg, has died at the age of 64.

[Celebrities? Autographs] - Crushable reports (not quite) news that  
Wikipedia has started including celebrities' autographs in articles  
about them. In a related event, User:Hindustanilanguage uploaded ~300  
autographs on Wikimedia Commons in mid-August.

["How do i edit a page on wikipedia without it gettin removed?"] - A  
classic high school question about editing Wikipedia appeared on Yahoo  

[Positive critique in Washington Post] - The Washington Post  
journalist Valerie Strauss published article on "Wikipedia is not  
wicked!" by The Daring Librarian, otherwise known as Gwyneth Anne  
Jones, on her blog.

[Branding company plays with Wikipedia] - Branding company Moving  
Brands, invited by Viewpoint magazine to showcase their process,  
created a proposal for a new Wikimedia identity. While the value of  
the final product could be debated, it is interesting that the company  
has a clear understanding of Wikipedia, Wikimedia and Wikipedia's core  
Five Pillars, which they included in their creative process.

[Wikipedia editors motivation] - Business life has published the  
article "Why do people contribute to Wikipedia for free?"

[New York Times on Wikipedia and 9/11] - New York Times published an  
article "On Wikipedia, Echoes of 9/11 ?Edit Wars?".

[Jimmy Wales guest of Cambridge Network] - Jimmy Wales gave a lecture  
to the Cambridge Network members. The Cambridge Network is a  
commercial business networking organization for business people and  
academics working in technology fields in the Cambridge area of the  
UK. In response to his lecture, Cambridge Business Media published the  
article "Running Wikipedia, possibly not as easy as Jimmy Wales makes  
it look".

[The worst Kindle eBooks] - "The worst Kindle eBooks ever written" is  
a compilation of Wikipedia articles.

[Copyright in EU] - Copyright on musical recordings extended by twenty  
years in EU.

[WikiSweeper] - Ushahidi and Wikimedia Foundation joint initiative to  
create a hot news tool for Wiki editors

[Jimmy Wales in Indianapolis] - Jimmy Wales was talking to 3,000  
marketing experts in Indianapolis.|newswell|text||s

[Columnist for Independent and Wikipedia] - The award-winning  
Independent columnist Johann Hari has apologized for editing the  
Wikipedia entries of people he had clashed with, using the pseudonym  
David Rose.

[Campus paper The Bell Ringer on Wikipedia] - Columnist of The Bell  
Ringer, the campus paper of the Augusta State University, published  
text "In the Defense of Wikipedia".

=== From Wikipedia ===

[Hungry ghost] - Hungry ghost is a Western translation of an Eastern  
phrase representing beings who are driven by intense emotional needs  
in an animalistic way.

[Fenian raids] - The Fenian raids of the Fenian Brotherhood based in  
the United States on British army forts, customs posts and other  
targets in Canada were fought in order to bring pressure on Britain to  
withdraw from Ireland, between 1866 and 1871.

[Monte Cristo, Washington] - Monte Cristo is a ghost town northwest of  
Monte Cristo Peak, in eastern Snohomish County in western Washington.  
Prospecting in the region began in the Skykomish River drainage with  
the Old Cady Trail used for access. In 1882 Elisha Hubbard improved  
the trail up the North Fork Skykomish, from Index to Galena, then  
north up the tributary Silver Creek. A boom shortly followed at  
Mineral City. The mineral belt was traced in various directions,  
including north over the divide between the Skykomish and Sauk River  
drainages. ...,_Washington

[Persin] - Persin is a fungicidal toxin present in the avocado. It is  
generally harmless to humans, but when consumed by domestic animals in  
large quantities it is dangerous. It has been suggested as a treatment  
for breast cancer.

[Progress trap] - A progress trap is the condition human societies  
experience when, in pursuing progress through human ingenuity, they  
inadvertently introduce problems they do not have the resources or  
political will to solve, for fear of short-term losses in status,  
stability or quality of life. This prevents further progress and  
sometimes leads to collapse.

[Phosphene] - A phosphene is an entoptic phenomenon characterized by  
the experience of seeing light without light actually entering the  
eye. The word phosphene comes from the Greek words phos (light) and  
phainein (to show). Phosphenes are flashes of light, often associated  
with optic neuritis, induced by movement or sound.

[HD 85512 b] - HD 85512 b is an extrasolar planet orbiting the star HD  
85512 approximately 36 light-years away in the constellation of Vela.  
The planet was discovered by the scientists at University of Geneva,  
Switzerland, led by the Swiss astronomer Stéphane Udry of the GTO  
program of High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), a  
high-precision echelle spectrograph installed on ESO's 3.6 m telescope  
at La Silla Observatory in Chile. HD 85512 b is one of the smallest  
exo-planets discovered to be in the habitable zone. HD 85512 b is  
considered to be the best candidate for habitability as of August 25,  

[Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin] - Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (May 10, 1900 ?  
December 7, 1979) was an English-American astronomer who in 1925 was  
first to show that the Sun is mainly composed of hydrogen,  
contradicting accepted wisdom at the time.

[List of people claimed to be Jesus] - John Nichols Thom (1799?1838),  
Cornish tax rebel who claimed to be the "saviour of the world" and the  
reincarnation of Jesus Christ and his body temple of the Holy  
Ghost[citation needed] in 1834. He was killed by British soldiers at  
the Battle of Bossenden Wood, on May 31, 1838 in Kent, England. Arnold  
Potter (1804?1872), Schismatic Latter Day Saint leader; he claimed the  
spirit of Jesus Christ entered into his body and he became "Potter  
Christ" Son of the living God, he died in an attempt to "ascend into  
heaven" by jumping off a cliff.[citation needed] His body was later  
retrieved and buried by his followers. Bahá'u'lláh (1817?1892), born  
Shiite, adopted Bábism later in 1844, he claimed to be the prophesized  
fulfilment and Promised One of all the major religions. He founded the  
Bahá'í Faith in 1866. Followers of the Bahá'í Faith believe that the  
fulfillment of the prophecies of the second coming of Jesus, as well  
as the prophecies of the 5th Buddha Maitreya and many other religious  
prophecies, were begun by the Báb in 1844 and then by Bahá'u'lláh.  
They commonly compare the fulfillment of Christian prophecies to  
Jesus' fulfillment of Jewish prophecies, where in both cases people  
were expecting the literal fulfillment of apocalyptic statements. ...

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