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Ivan Shmakov

Joined 7 February 2009
(English · Русский contributions · global)

Participating in free software development since 2001; wikimedian since 2009; run my own educational wiki (in the spirit of Wikiversity and Wikimedia Commons) since December, 2015.

During 2013‒2014, I’ve participated in several of the Wikimedia Foundation projects, both as a “regular” contributor and as (if you wish) a m:Small Wiki Monitoring Team (SWMT) member. Since the late 2014, however, I’ve focused mainly on contributing to Russian Wikibooks. (And I believe I’m doing it well.) Why? See #A matter not of freedom, but of price… and also #Indefinite block at Russian Wikibooks.

September block at Russian Wikibooks

13th to 18th of September, I was blocked indefinitely at Russian Wikibooks; and forbidden to edit my talk page, either.

Generally, please use my talk page at the project your question relates to; but if I’m blocked there – or if it’s you who are – feel free to use my talk page at Meta instead.

Selected contributions

(Roughly in the order of diminishing importance. As I perceive it, anyway.)

A matter not of freedom, but of price

One of the reasons for essentially leaving the other projects – even those of particular interest to me – is the Paid contributions amendment, effective as of June, 2014. Specifically: you must disclose your employer, client, and affiliation with respect to any contribution for which you receive, or expect to receive, compensation.

I believe this change is along the lines of “we can, therefore we do.” It in no way precludes the interested parties from trying to advertise and soapbox on WMF projects – whether openly or covertly. Neither does it help the other participants to swiftly revert such contributions – for being contrary – in their content, not form! – to the stated goals of said projects.

One may think that Wikipedia would not benefit much from “paid contributions.” But note that the amendment is by no means limited to the Wikipedias; why, as surprising as it may seem, it does cover even such distant piece of the Foundation’s infrastructure as… MediaWiki bug tracker. (Or, rather, covered.) That is: if you’re paid for, say, maintaining a MediaWiki instance for your company and you file bug reports as part of your job, – you would have been required to disclose your employer – lest be in violation of the Terms of Use.

Moreover, as shown during the c:Commons talk:Requests for comment/Alternative paid contribution disclosure policy#Test case discussion, it’s entirely trivial to breach this prohibition – without any harm to Wikimedia goals whatsoever. Worse still, the mere existence of this condition stimulates the participants to judge not the contributions, but contributors – and their motivation – which, I believe, lies grossly out of the scope of Wikimedia projects.

To summarize, free educational content is now a matter not of freedom, but price. (Cf. with one of the free software mottos – [free software is] a matter of freedom, not price. And it works both ways in practice.)

Gladly, several projects’ communities understood the potential harm and effectively got out of the reach of this prohibition (see m:Alternative paid contribution disclosure policies.) And if you truly care about a Wikimedia project which didn’t as of yet effected a similar alternative paid contribution disclosure policy – I urge you to start the respective discussion at the appropriate project forum.

Thanks in advance.