User:Gomà/Broken mail in Foundationl

The roots of the problem

Michael, if the Board is analyzing the issue then it should address the roots of the problem.

The fact that recent discussion has taken place around sexual images has the advantage that sex raises a lot of interest from everybody.

But from my point of view the issue is grounded in two deeper problems: 1) what happens if the board takes a decision against the community consensus? 2) What happens if the community of a project rejects discussing deeply an issue up to finding a consensus, if they simply vote and applies the majority decision?

It seems to me that this is what happened. The community defined a policy without analyzing the issue deeply enough, they didn’t reached a consensus. The board decided that this should addressed and Jimbo actuated.

Perhaps this is a caricature of what happened. Surely the real story is far more complex. There was an open debate in the community, the board resolution was more or less ambiguous, and the actions of Jimbo could have been more polite. But I believe that the roots of the problem are more or less there.

Proposed changes in the system

From my point of view the system should be changed in two ways:

First Wikimedia Foundation (and its governing body, the Board) should have a mechanism to force the community to debate and search for a consensus. Call it founder’s flag or voice of conscience flag or whatever you want. This is exactly what Jimbo did. He didn’t impose his will although founder’s flag gave him the power to do it.

Secondly it should be stated clearly that once a true consensus is reached, the community is sovereign in developing the project. The duty of the Foundation is providing the means to put in practice those decisions. To put a humoristic example, if the law of some state says that the value for number pi is mandatorily 3.2 [1] and the community reaches the consensus that we must explain clearly that the law is wrong, then if necessary the Foundarion must avoid being under the rules of that state.

Perhaps some other hygienic measures should be taken. By example perhaps stewards should hold only rights to change user’s status but not to act as sysop of any project.

The case of Images and other “sensible” material

Going to the images with sexual content I think that this should be addresses in a parallel way as other sensible issues like:

  1. Images that could offend people of some religion.
  2. Images in fair use.
  3. Statements in biographies of living people.
  4. Statements that can harm the image of products or companies.
  5. Naming the articles when the name can carry a biased point of view. By example naming the articles of small towns in Spain using the name imposed by fascist dictatorship instead of the official Spanish name.
  6. Contents possibly infringing copyrights.
  7. Etc.

I think that in those cases we should not change our policies to make happy the affected people but we should create mechanisms to guarantee we are in the safe side: Not publish or publish only the safe official version until we have enough evidences that the sensible material is right, legal, relevant, and has educational purposes. Perhaps we must strength some policies; perhaps to call somebody “thief” in their biography we can’t accept any kind of reference but a reference providing clear evidences that this is true. We also must give to the world clear evidences that we are extremely serious and careful with this issues if we decide to put an image “sensible” there must be clear evidences that we have done our best to guarantee that this image has educational content, that this image is required for the project, that this image accomplish with the law. We can’t make happy everybody; our goal of providing the sum of all human knowledge is above the interest of reaching a broader public or making happy some kind of readers. But we can make everybody agree with us that in “sensible issues” we have strong reasons to say every thing we say and to provide every image we have.


   Message: 9
   Date: Fri, 14 May 2010 23:42:44 -0700
   From: Michael Snow <>
   Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Statement on appropriate educational
   Message-ID: <>
   Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8; format=flowed
   On 5/7/2010 5:30 PM, Sue Gardner wrote:
   > On 7 May 2010 16:07, Kim Bruning<>  wrote:
   >> On Fri, May 07, 2010 at 12:30:18PM -0700, Michael Snow wrote:
   >>> announce-l still has issues. The Board of Trustees has directed me to
   >>> release the following statement:
   >> Just to be sure:
   >> Are there no other statements that have been made by the board
   >> or are being planned to be made by the board on this subject?
   >> sincerly,
   >>         Kim Bruning
   > Kim, the board (and I) have been talking about this for the past
   > couple of days, and we'll continue to talk about it over the next
   > couple of weeks.  I think it's fairly likely there will be some kind
   > of statement or statements at the end of that.  I'm expecting that
   > over the next few weeks, we all will be paying attention to the
   > conversations on Commons and elsewhere, including here.
   Just to come back to this point, the board has had some ongoing
   discussion and will be having a meeting on Tuesday, May 18. I don't know
   for certain that there will be a statement following that meeting, or
   whether there will be any particular outcome. I have been informed that
   some resolutions will be proposed, but I can't predict whether they will
   be acted upon.
   Also, did anyone keep a log of the open meeting from Wednesday in the
   #wikimedia IRC channel? Has that been posted anywhere for others to review?
   --Michael Snow