This Wikimedian has passed away. Their user page is preserved here in their memory.

You can post your questions and comments for me here. (You can also check out the FAQ.) --ASw


Board meeting edit

Hi! The new Board member is expected to attend a Board meeting in Frankfurt 20-23 October, so you are highly expected to aim to keep these dates free or book time off work in case you are successful in your bid to be on the Board. Jon Harald Søby 14:52, 29 August 2006 (UTC)Reply

Thanks. I'll definitely be there if elected. AaronSw 15:00, 29 August 2006 (UTC)Reply

Questions from Dijxtra edit

Hello, these are generic questions I decided to submit to every candidate. If you already answered the question in your application, skip it. If you consider any question to be too private for you to answer, feel free to state that and accept my apology for being too intrusive. I also ask you to pardon my English since spellcheckers don't check grammar :-) Here are the questions:

Let me begin by saying that I've been involved for the fight for Internet freedom and privacy for many years and I'm strenuously opposed to government intervention, buckling under legal threats, and conflicts of interest. So while I can't make unequivocal statements on such matters in advance, I think it's pretty clear that I would support any reasonable proposals along these lines. AaronSw 20:38, 30 August 2006 (UTC)Reply

1. Privacy policy of Wikimedia Foundation projects states that: "It is the policy of Wikimedia that personally identifiable data collected in the server logs, or through records in the database via the CheckUser feature, may be released by the system administrators or users with CheckUser access, in the following situations: 1. In response to a valid subpoena or other compulsory request from law enforcement" If such subpoena occurs, would you agree that Wikimedia Foundation complies ASAP or would you request Foundation to dispute that subpoena in court, like Google did in January this year? Let me remind you that the second option requires money to be spent.

I don't think there's a general rule, but I would tend to support challenging a subpoena when following it would invade someone's privacy and there's a reasonable legal case to be made against it. AaronSw 20:38, 30 August 2006 (UTC)Reply

2. What is your opinion of WP:OFFICE? Do you think that:

  • It is very good solution to bureaucratisation of Wikipedia, allowing a swift action in cases which need such action. We should widen the circle of people who have the power to use WP:OFFICE.
  • It is very good solution to bureaucratisation of Wikipedia, allowing a swift action in cases which need such action. (And only Danny should use WP:OFFICE privilege)
  • I don't like the thing, but we need it so we don't get sued.
  • Community is above any user and we should think of WP:OFFICE as temporary measure until we find a way for the whole community to act swiftly in cases of libel accusations.
  • We should move our servers to jurisdiction which makes it hard for people to sue us for libel.
Again, it's hard to make general rules (especially in this case, where many relevant details are not public), but I would tend to support finding community solutions to such concerns rather than giving special power to the Foundation. If Wikipedia is forced to choose between offending someone and omitting important facts, then I think we must choose to offend. AaronSw 20:38, 30 August 2006 (UTC)Reply

3. Have you ever been on a paylist of anybody/any organization/any firm connected to any current member of the board? Please understand this question in the broadest sense possible.

Not that I can think of. The closest I can think of is that I worked for Creative Commons and Jimmy Wales now sits on its board, but I wasn't really paid for my work and Wales joined the Board after I'd left. AaronSw 20:38, 30 August 2006 (UTC)Reply

Thank you for your time, Dijxtra 20:20, 30 August 2006 (UTC)Reply

Languages edit

It probably wasn't your intention, but in the Signpost this week, you cleverly escaped noting the languages that you speak. Even in your candidate presentation you just said "primarily en". Do you speak any other languages? Thanks. --User:AndreniW (or see en:User:AndreniW) 04:43, 31 August 2006 (UTC)Reply

I took several years of formal instruction in Spanish and Hebrew and a couple classes in ASL. And, of course, I've informally learned pieces of other languages over the years. But I largely use English. I hope that answers your question. AaronSw 04:48, 31 August 2006 (UTC)Reply
Yes, that answers my question. Thank you! --AndreniW 05:47, 31 August 2006 (UTC)Reply

A short question edit

How do you intend to get the rest of the 95% to wikipedia? 03:18, 1 September 2006 (UTC)Reply

I don't have a magical plan; I don't think there is one. But I think we as a community should try. Everyone should feel empowered to be Wikipedia evangelists: telling friends, giving lectures, arranging meetings with various interested groups, etc. Right now it seems like it's mostly just Jimbo. AaronSw 05:13, 1 September 2006 (UTC)Reply

It's Politics - leap in! edit

Just as a political candidate's "people" shepherd voters to the polls on election day, so must you mount an actual campaign. Somehow arrange it so that the fairly casual reader of your blog or whatever can trivially vote.

I think this is the best possible use for Aaron's life - way more than reddit, etc.

Hit the campaign trail running. This is far too important to let slide.


Good job edit

With the research at It convinced me to vote for you. Few notes: your relativly tiny user page on en wiki, and no talk page, is strange, and made me hesitant to vote for you. I'd expect a dedicated user to put more time into it... but maybe it's just my POV. Second, General User Survey is something you may find of interest - I deeply appreciated your analysis, and perhaps you could write them up in detail somewhere (like I did with this tiny analysis of mine)? PS. While I don't entirly agree that there are no very active content creators simoultanesly engaged in policy debates (shamelessly pointing a finger at myself) I completly agree that we need to make Wiki more accessible for newcomers; thus I think the biggest thing annouced at Wikimedia was the WYSIWYG editor, and works on it should be our top priority. PS2. You make some excellent points about Wikipedia power structure in your third article. I'd love to talk more about it at some point (I am writing soem articles, master's thesis and like a PhD on Wikipedia decision making). If you are into reasearch you may want to consider publishing some of your ideas, I think they are very very valuable. Last thing: 'And if I'm elected to the Board, I plan to keep on writing.' I will keep your word for it.--Piotrus 01:49, 10 September 2006 (UTC)Reply

A Few Questions edit

Determined to make a good decision, I read all of the candidate statements, but I was disturbed when I couldn't find any I liked better than the first. I read them again in random order to make sure it wasn't a trick of perception, but your statement was indeed the one I agreed with most. I did have a two questions for you, though.

1. It seems to me that Wikipedia's greatest barrier is language. Wikipedia can't enforce one neutral language for all articles (like Esperanto) without destroying the availability of the project, and computers still can't effectively translate human languages into others. Robbed of these two shiny, shiny silver bullets, do you (and, if so, how do you) think we should work towards expanding all of the other Wikipedias to make them as comprehensive as the English one?

Yes, and I think the various language communities have done a great job on this so far. People don't seem particularly interested in translating things from the English Wikipedia, but instead in writing new articles. I don't think this is to be discouraged -- aside from clearly being what people want to do, it's extremely interesting to see how the same topic receives different treatment in different languages.

2. What is your position on privacy vs. accountability? Wikipedia strikes a fair balance by recording IPs and allowing stewards to ban them, but some wide IPs, like entire schools or libraries, can be blocked, punishing innocents. Taking more information from registrants to try to prevent sock puppets can be effective, but isn't very respectful of privacy. What kind of change to the system, if any, would you support?

I don't have any specific plans to propose on this subject right now, but I think Wikipedia needs to be careful to ensure it lives up to its "anyone can edit" promise. I think this is one of those places where better technology can ease difficult policy decisions: with smarter software to look at the kinds of edits that are made and perhaps some tricks to track past user behavior (Roger Dingledine of Tor has made some suggestions along these lines), we can do a better job of blocking things without having others get caught in the crossfire.

Thank you for your responses, and for suffering through my statement of the obvious. Good luck with your bid.

Thanks! I really appreciate all your kind words. AaronSw 14:12, 12 September 2006 (UTC)Reply

9/11 Wikipedia edit

Hi, Aaron. In light of the four discussions listed below, what course of action would you take with regard to the 9/11 Wikipedia if you were elected to the board?

Looking forward to your response. Thanks. Andreyi 17:35, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Reply

In Memoriam edit

I am only a minor content contributor and formatter on this website, but I come here to pay my respects. I am young, and hope only to live but a fraction of your lives. Anon423 (talk) 04:21, 13 January 2013 (UTC)Reply