Talk:Project-wide protests

Active discussions

Kudos and purposeEdit

Lovely page! I was thinking about a page for times when Wikimedia wikis "took a side." The English Wikipedia used frame-breaking at some point to disrupt some marketing company, as I recall. That was proposed at the talk page of "MediaWiki:Common.js" and then implemented by sysadmins eventually, as I recall. There have been other times that Wikimedia wikis have taken a side in one way or another. Not all have been for protests... might be a way to expand this page in the future. --MZMcBride 02:54, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

  • Nice work on the page! :) SarahStierch 17:56, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Should this page be also about public campaigns in general? I mean, not necessarily protests (against a threat). Think of the Wikipedia for World Heritage (which has already happened), or if we needed public support for our view about the public domain (Fighting for the Public Domain and so on). They are "less important" than an immediate threat, but this means also that they're probably less politically controversial and obtrusive. Nemo 22:48, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I think so, and I've proposed a new campaign, but the proposal was deleted. Please discuss it at #Deleted nomination section below, or if you are feeling bold, at MediaWiki:Common.js etc. James Salsman 22:14, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
That used to say, "Occupy Wall Street protesters have been harassed by the police, and editor demographics are such that income inequality threatens volunteer retention and performance. Projects showing site-wide support for the protest may be able to help effect the change they seek to establish."
I am asking the Executive Director to endorse. James Salsman 20:22, 30 October 2011 (UTC)


  • Not all community members may agree with the protest, and despite all the votes in the world, those feelings might not change, causing inter-community conflict and/or strife

This is also true, e.g. for just about every item of interest in the manual of style. It's true about our logo. It's true about the way we spell words. _Failing_ to run a project wide protest can also create negative feelings. This con presumes that there is a neutral choice in the decision to stage such an event. I don't think the presumption of possible neutrality is a neutral position. :) It's a factor, a rather obvious one, but the con offers nothing about how to weigh this factor against all the others.

More than anything else it is bold moves that _create_ communities: those who survive the event will adopt it as part of their shared identity. What is it that makes a Wikipedia work? How is it that can we come to agreements on the many things we must agree on? I think we can do this because we have a shared vision— its a little different for each person but we have enough in common to bring us together. Is the kind of free expression which is _technically essential_ to the operation of our sites, that drives our copyright policies, etc. part of that shared understanding? I think it is today. Will it be an important element of that community identity in the future? Action like the itwiki protest are an answer to that question.

Should it be a part of our identity? I think should is a complicated question, but I'll offer that in 100 or 1000 years Wikipedia will have that as part of its community identity or otherwise it won't exist at all— this particular event is not critical to our survival, and perhaps no single obvious event ever would be— but you can be sure that any entity which doesn't protect the invariants which are essential for its survival will not survive in the long run. --Gmaxwell 03:00, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Not really responding to your post, but I went ahead and rewrote some sections to no longer use bullets. I also removed some benefits that I felt were weak or stupid. I kept most of the detriments, but I think I noted that a (vocal) minority was inevitable on any larger project. --MZMcBride 03:16, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Applicability of "neutrality"Edit

I'm very curious as to how neutrality got into this debate, especially considering the case of the Italian Wikipedia. As far as I'm concerned, neutrality is implied to be editorial neutrality, where Wikimedia content would be written from a viewpoint which attempts to straddle disparate POVs in projects where NPOV is a necessity. I don't think however that "neutrality" in the Wikimedia sense is the same as how Jehovah's Witnesses claim neutrality in worldly conflict: just because we espouse an editorial policy which advocates neutrality of content, it doesn't necessarily imply that the projects themselves should be neutral in cases of so-called "worldly conflict", like the the Italian Wikipedia strike. Does this mean therefore that Wikimedia projects should also be inherently apolitical? --Sky Harbor (talk) 09:07, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Some people apparently want to push for an apolitical stance even when wiki's own ability to operate in a free, open and neutral way is at stake. When your own existence is at stake because politicians do not like your neutrality, I say it is utter folly to remain "neutral". It reminds me of the neutrality policy of my own Dutch government prior to 1940. They told the Dutch people to go to bed and sleep without worries while German forces were overwhelming our country. Some people really believe that "neutrality" is some form of magical spell that will ward off all evil or so. The fools. Jcwf 18:21, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Category for this pageEdit

This page now seems to be in Category:Cross-project policy proposals - which isn't really appropriate as this isn't a proposal, nor related to any policy - it's just summarizing the existence of something (it's closer in nature to a Wikipedia article than a guideline). Category:Guidelines was more appropriate, but that seems to be a sub-category of meta-specific guidelines. Any suggestions for a better category? Mike Peel 10:20, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

The page was created to build some guideline/policy about such protests. It currently just describes some facts and points of views but it's supposed to go further. If we don't want to reach a status where this page actually says/suggests how to treat such cases (I don't know if it's possible), or we just don't expect to reach a wide consensus on it, we could just categorize it as a Wikimedia essay. Nemo 21:17, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Nominations sectionEdit

Section deleted; discussion had become rather lengthy, amid a strong sense that this sort of discussion is not desired on this page.

Archive of discussion may be found here: [1]
-Pete F 17:48, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

I have appealed the deletion of both sections. James Salsman 20:18, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Page titleEdit

I am very pleased to see all the work that has gone into this, and especially that this document has grown in such a way that acts like those of the Italian and Spanish communities are presented in a value-neutral way, and put in what I would agree is their proper context alongside the "World Heritage" campaign. (As a side note, I might even suggest the annual fundraiser belongs in the same category.)

To properly reflect this development, it seems like a title change from "Project-wide protests" to "Project-wide advocacy", or some similarly general, title might make sense. -Pete F 19:19, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

Pete, I'm disappointed that you deleted my questions and listed me as a "Former Wikipedia Contributor." Would you please reconsider? Can you think of any reasons why Wikimedians reading this page should not be entitled to a discussion of the connection between English law and Wikimedia UK's tax exempt status? I strongly object to attempts to sweep difficulties under the rug. James Salsman 19:57, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Wikiversity example deletedEdit

This was deleted from the "Examples" section with the summary, "removed the Wikiversity debate and fork: I don't think it belongs to this page, it's not explained against who the supposed protest was and it's just as with other sisteprojects."

  • In August 2005, the Wikiversity Project on English Wikibooks was put up for a deletion discussion, with widespread discussion on multiple pages of English Wikibooks which ended up with the creation of the English language edition of Wikiversity and the recognition of Wikiversity as a Wikimedia sister project.

I do not understand why the edit summary supports the deletion, and I think it is inaccurate. Are there any reasons to the contrary? James Salsman 21:09, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Implementation difficultiesEdit

A {{fact}} tag was added to the sentence "Some projects, especially the larger ones, lack the coherence of vision and leadership necessary to agree to and execute a project wide protest."

This seems fairly straightforward and true to me. What's the dispute here? --MZMcBride 23:54, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

No idea, I agree that the concept seems quite obvious. Based on experience, though, I'd say that it's not really a matter of "coherence of vision and leadership", consensus on something can appear out of the blue or change suddenly: despite the so-called intrinsic conservatism of our wikis, this is true for everything (things which have been discussed ad nauseam for years with no outcome suddenly result in a new consensus), but it's especially true when there are "emergencies". Indeed, protest has been celebrated by some as a fantastic community-building event. Nemo 20:03, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

I think I added that. Given that the SOPA protest straw poll missed 90% by only a handful of !votes, I believe the assertion very much remains to be seen. Frankly, I seriously doubt it is true at all. As an absolute statement it almost certainly is false. Could it be worded in such a way to explain that it's an opinion which is not necessarily widely held? James Salsman 12:25, 11 January 2012 (UTC)


The WMF should help foster a community of facilitators, for this and similar Projects-wide deliberation. But it should not become the de facto source for urgent facilitation.

Our communities should welcome, foster, train, and recognize facilitators as important - certainly on a level with admins and 'crats; with a different set of expectations and tools.

However the facilitation of SOPA and related discussions happens now, I hope it will involve and engage volunteer community facilitators, even if it is led in part by staff.

We also need some sort of Projects-wide process for closing this kind of large-scale facilitated decision-making. And to decide whether this falls under steward capacities/duties or not. SJ talk | translate   00:51, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

What do you see as lacking with the organic way things developed this time? I'd much rather that the expectations be toward that sort of an unstructured process than having a central activism committee composed of stewards and 'crats. Hierarchies usually reinforce hegemony. It might be a good idea to keep a list of topics affecting project success directly and indirectly on meta, so that when someone in a position of authority wants to suggest action, it doesn't come off to some like they were pulling it out of a hat, which seemed to be the source of much of the opposition on Jimbo's straw poll. James Salsman 20:55, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

No protestsEdit

Protesting is not our business. As Wikipedians, we lobby off-wiki but on-wiki we accept the governing legal framework. Currently, the legal framework is less restrictive for English Wikipedia with regard to "fair use" of imagery. We lived with this for a long time now (this is why "fair use" licenses cannot be used on Commons) and can and should continue to do so.--Bdell555 11:11, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

If only the fair use regime was not under attack. Do you support harmonizing US public campaign finance to more Canadian levels? James Salsman 15:55, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
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