Remedies available to users who disagree with Wikimedia Foundation technical decisions

Authority for making certain technical decisions (viz. requests for comment, one of the most formalized technical decision-making processes; and user rights management for +2 and system administrators) has been delegated to architects and roots such as Tim Starling, Brion Vibber, and Mark Bergsma. As mw:Bug management/Phabricator etiquette notes, there is no obligation that WMF developers follow directives individuals make in Phabricator tasks, unless those individuals happen to be higher-up in the WMF chain of command. Those higher-ups can be reached via the wikimedia-l listserv.

Ultimate authority over WMF resources rests with the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. Those who disagree with WMF decisions are welcome to bring those issues to the board's attention or participate in board elections as a means of bringing about the desired change.

In daily life, however, some practical tricks have been found effective.

  • Send your opinion as a pseudonymous "reader" on Twitter to the managers or developers in charge. The Wikimedia Foundation often receives feedback from Wikimedia projects editors on wikis and mailing lists, therefore it's used to ignore them. On the other hand, it's rare for people outside Wikimedia to notice our internal endeavours: an individual comment on some (technical) decision, when coming from "outside" on Twitter, is much rarer and likely to outweigh a poll of a hundred editors (a common, "cheap" event). This is nobody's fault, but just the effect of the widespread western illusion/perception that Twitter is a "public square" where every discourse is transparent and golden. This sort of populism is not necessarily mobocratic, because the strength of tweets is not in numbers.