Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question8/ar
ما هو رأيك في مطالبة مجتمعات ويكيبيديا بالاستقلالية والمحاولات التي تبذلها مؤسسة ويكيميديا لتنظيم السيطرة على المجتمعات
Gerard Meijssen (GerardM)
Wikimedia Foundation projects are not autonomous and have to function within the policies set for all. They have to deal with the impact of the recent strategy as defined in a collaborative effort. It is why we were able to deal with the bias and bullying in the Croatian Wikipedia.
Dariusz Jemielniak (Pundit)
I think that Wikimedia communities (not just Wikipedia) should exercise a very wide autonomy. Cultures differ, and it is very difficult to create universal rules. However, there could be some basic, common ground rules that we all adhere to - the pillars or the universal code of conduct are such examples. Especially the latter should be consulted with the Global Council - and my hope is that with time, and when we have better communication channels as well as tools for feedback gathering (which I'm postulating in my candidacy statement) we should be able to discuss the global rules more constructively and with improved results. The Wikimedia Foundation should be careful in exercising control - as even if they are right in a given case, they may basically aggravate the communities, which expect autonomy and self-regulation (for good reasons). Historically, we have achieved less controversial results with community-elected bodies stepping in (be it the FDC or stewards, for instance). Pundit (talk) 12:41, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
Lionel Scheepmans (Lionel Scheepmans)
This question includes two pieces of information that ask for references about "claims of autonomy by Wikipedia communities" and also about "attempts by the Wikimedia Foundation to regulate control over the community". Without specifics, I have a hard time answering because things have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Reda Kerbouche (Reda Kerbouche)
The community’s autonomy from the Wikimedia Foundation needs to be ensured, respected, and entrenched. As an active member of the community, I like that the routine comes to me from my environment where I work and that I understand.
On the other hand, it is always necessary to have an entity that will be able to react to serious problems in the community which may arise. sometimes you are faced with a problem that you are still not able to solve on your own and you need one or more community leaders who will manage everything or an organization that is responsible for helping the community with these tools without having to change everything in these ecosystems.
Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight (Rosiestep)
Wikipiedia communities and sister project communities require autonomy in order to be successful in their work according to their unique situations. Shared mission, vision, and values across the movement, for example, the 2017 Movement Strategy Direction and the Universal Code of Conduct, support this work as they are globally developed. The nine Movement Strategy Working Groups are recent examples of how the Wikimedia movement can achieve something for the greater good (10 Movement Strategy Recommendations; 45 Initiatives) when the Wikimedia Foundation and the Board work together with the community: all three of these entities -community, WMF, Board- were represented in each Working Group. The development of Hubs and the Global Council, is a step in the right direction as their establishment will lead to more equitably-defined roles and responsibilities (who regulates what), as well as resource allocation, and so forth.
If I am elected to the Board: I will continue to support the autonomy of Wikipedia and sister project communities; continue to favor community-elected teams, such as the Global Council, Arbitration Committees, the Funds Dissemination Committee, and the Affiliations Committee, the latter of which I have been a member for the past six years (Chair, since 2020); and continue to champion skills training and diversity for community members and leaders. --Rosiestep (talk) 18:46, 13 July 2021 (UTC)
Mike Peel (Mike Peel)
Independence of the community is important within the Wikimedia movement, within the scope of our shared values (policies on individual Wikipedias, the Universal Code of Conduct more generally). WMF has certain important duties here, though, which are carried out well by Trust and Safety and the legal team as needed. It shouldn’t overstep (as it sometimes has in the past), though, and should cooperate well with Arbcoms and local communities. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 11:46, 11 July 2021 (UTC)
Adam Wight (Adamw)
The WMF is the wrong body to be imposing any rules or oversight upon communities. The basis of its power is simply that it owns the trademarks, and controls the flow of fundraising money. The fact that WMF operates the servers exposes it to some level of legal liability for what happens on the sites, but doesn't give it any moral or political authority.
That said, I support the Universal Code of Conduct policy as currently written (is that what this question is about?) and would like to see it evolve into an even more effective tool for preventing online abuse. What seems to have been lost in the process is that such a document needs to be ratified by the people who will be affected, not by the WMF Board.
Ideally we would already have created something like a Global Council, but made up of rotating representatives from each community. I think the most appropriate structure for the Wikimedia Movement is a confederation, in which each site is completely autonomous and decides whether or not to participate in a larger grouping, which can then make decisions about global policies and resource distribution. This is a major part of my platform and priority as a Board member.
Vinicius Siqueira (Vini 175)
Project autonomy has been an essential pillar of the way we organize ourselves in the last 20 years. The Wikimedia Foundation should not regulate control over communities.
Nonetheless, as much as project autonomy has been essential to our successes, it has allowed for uneven access and participation in our projects. Community-driven processes might be created to guarantee increasing equity in the movement. These processes include the definition of community-regulated standards (i.e., the Universal Code of Conduct) and the development of mechanisms for empowered participatory governance. --Vinicius Siqueira (talk) 02:31, 9 July 2021 (UTC)
Yao Eliane Dominique (Yasield)
What are these demands and their impact on the movement and what actions is the Foundation taking to satisfy these demands? I think it is normal for communities to present demands that are not outside the framework of the good governance of our movement. It is in the interest of the Foundation to respond to these needs if and only if these requests do not go against our charter.
Douglas Ian Scott (Discott)
The way I see it the Wikimedia Foundation exists to serve the community. The community’s autonomy from the Wikimedia Foundation needs to be ensured, respected and entrenched. This needs to be done by both the community broadly but also by Foundation staff who understand our movement’s culture. Community representatives within the board also play a very important role in this process and culture of respect.
An important part ensuring this is to increase the ratio of community members on the board of trustees (both directly elected and affiliate). I will actively work for greater representation of community members on the board and a reduction of the number of appointed board members.
It is important for the board to realise that many of their policies and big decisions need a mandate from the community before they can be initiated. As a board member I will ensure the board lives up to this responsibility. --Discott (talk) 15:45, 19 July 2021 (UTC)
Pascale Camus-Walter (Waltercolor)
As I said in the rebranding question, it’s not the place of the Wikimedia Foundation to melt into a single project, however prominent this may be. Creating is differentiating. If we want to prevent Wikimedia from entropy, from losing it’s raison d’être, the Wikimedia Foundation has to prove that it is able to set up a new project with new contributors in the field of free knowledge. The Foundation must show that it has learned from the failures of Wikipedia and is able to give a chance from the beginning to diversity and parity when setting up new projects. The Community is actually mainly the Wikipedia community and this also gives the false image that a single project may represent the total sum of people able to participate in the sharing of free knowledge. Let’s try new projects to give a second chance to parity and diversity to build a more extensive community. --Waltercolor (talk) 10:28, 9 July 2021 (UTC)
Iván Martínez (ProtoplasmaKid)
There are problems that have historically dragged on between the role of the foundation and the vast volunteer community. It can be so problematic to take on such a challenge that for years has been avoided. As for the control of the content we regulate as volunteers, it seems that today the ball is more on the side of the community than the foundation. But this must be fully established in the future Movement Charter in order to begin to circumvent this principle of governance as the starting point. Certainly there are things where either the community or the WMF must take enforcement action, whether it be legal threats, disclosure of personal data, or conduct intolerable to the safety of the community, but the processes and measures around their prevention and sanctioning must be driven primarily by the community as the Universal Code of Conduct.
Personally, I received early advice when I formally joined the chapter-WMF relationship to take a strong stand in defense of autonomy as an affiliate. My postcolonial background has made me observe how new domains can be replicated in all processes, from the largest to the smallest. It is clear that a U.S. organization with a majority U.S. membership can cause a significant bias in origin and establish a de facto power relationship with other countries. Therefore, a serious and measurable decentralization of the WMF is a priority.
Victoria Doronina (Victoria)
Very often, WF dealings with the communities have bad management hallmarks. Everything is top-down and sudden; the decision is final. It looks like WF cannot do what any experienced admin can do - patience to wait until the end of the discussion, estimate the balance, and sometimes even compromise.
But this depends on the community and the scale of the problem. I know that the English Wikipedia community is fiercely independent and resists any attempts to impose any regulations. This conflict is less severe in other Wikipedia's because of the language barriers that allow degrees of separation. For example, "Flagged reviews" were introduced in Russian Wikipedia only after asking for them. After which, it transpired that Russian developers requested it without consultation with the broader community.
As I see it, WMF is the guardian of the movement principles. Unfortunately, sometimes the affiliates and even some "communities leaders" may deviate from these principles until they cannot claim to be wikimedians. Let's consider a hypothetical example where a community decided to ban female editors. The content is even more misogynistic than an average project. I don't see how this community can continue claiming to be the Wikimedians and why WMF shouldn't do anything about it.
The main problem in the WMF vs. communities maybe not what is done but how it's done. WMF prefers to deal with trusted individuals rather than the community. However, I don't see why it should continue to be a problem with modern automatic translation tools.--Victoria (talk) 07:49, 8 July 2021 (UTC)
Lorenzo Losa (Laurentius)
There has always been a tension between the community and the Wikimedia Foundation. The Foundation is a structured organization, and because of its nature tends towards structure and top-down decisions; the community is fragmented and volunteer-based, and tends to self-organize. Moreover, the Wikimedia Foundation has legal duties and constraints, that are not always apparent from the community point of view.
While this tension will never completely go away, because it has structural reasons, the Wikimedia Foundation must recognize this nature, and respect the decision of the community. At the end of the day, the mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to support the community in growing the wiki projects. As I stated in my presentation, the community has the highest decision-making authority.
I have to point out, however, that "autonomy" is not the right word here. We are all part of the same movement: many different projects and languages, the Wikimedia Foundation, the chapters and the user groups... we are all interdependent. The projects need both the community and an organization (the Wikimedia Foundation) that provides the basic support infrastructure, and the many other organizations that are supporting the mission around the world (chapters, thematic organizations, user groups). Being truly "autonomous" is neither possible nor desirable.
Raavi Mohanty (Raavimohantydelhi)
As I had mentioned earlier WMF needs to be a little lenient on its top-down approach. Various writer's communities do require space and freedom to showcase their voices. However, an effective code of conduct needs to be put into place to check the conflict of interests and an unbiased repetition of all communities.
Autonomy is a very strong word here, because a guiding principle is required and only an organized and transparent structure can provide that. A leg room to be both creative and adequately represented can be achieved by the various communities under the ambit of Wikimedia "without being autonomous." Raavimohantydelhi (talk) 13:16, 10 July 2021 (UTC)
Ashwin Baindur (AshLin)
The Volunteer Community and organised affiliates on one hand, and the WMF on the other are two sides of a coin; both sides are needed, and the one can’t do without the other. Both sides need to realise this, and both sides need to respect the other. WMF should not ride roughshod over the Community and Community should not consider Foundation as the “enemy”. Communities feel their autonomy threatened when their priorities and needs are not addressed, and when the Foundation acts unilaterally in peremptory fashion.
On the other hand, Foundation being a legal entity is faced with constraints and competing demands for attention. This leads to the perceived need to “control” communities so as to avoid being put in morally and legally untenable positions, hence their urge to take action that completes an issue speedily and satisfactorily, without engaging the community in long and messy discussion.
Other complicating factors exist. For example, the principle of “Subsidiarity” in social organizations holds that social and political issues should be dealt with at the most immediate (or local) level that is consistent with their resolution. Structurally, that's not possible, with every request or issue needing to go to WMF.
In the Wikimedia movement, any issue requiring a resolution will need to go all the way up to the WMF, because there is no intermediate layer. Hence, decision-making could get delayed. What is important to a small community may not seem to be important to WMF in its big picture, and this community’s concerns may get delayed, or not addressed, or even dismissed by staff for bureaucratic reasons.
The Foundation is a legal entity, has vast resources of all kinds, and the power to set the agenda. Communities on the other hand have little or no resources, and have no way of ensuring that their feedback and needs get taken seriously and addressed. On top of this, individual communities are discrete in nature and when a particular community makes a request, it does so from a position of inequality and asymmetry. Effectively, it makes the community, not just a lesser partner, but a supplicant.
The situation will become much more complex with Code of Conduct, Movement Charter, Global Council and other initiatives emerging over the years. Whether these will help resolve issues better or just add bureaucratic overheads remains to be seen.
In this backdrop, a number of issues have arisen in the past and will do so in the future, where the Foundation and the Community may have diverging interests. It could also be legal considerations competing against universal civil rights, or say, the rights of the individual vs the rights of the world community. These issues will be hard to address, and may have no outcome that is satisfactory to all. Hence, it is the manner in which Foundation and Community behave and engage with each other in the issues which will decide the nature of the relationship.
Foundation must always engage the community, even though it is time consuming, complicated and takes effort. Community must accept the constraints and point of view of the Foundation as valid concerns during the engagement. Both sides need to show empathy and good faith in these engagements.
As regards, community requests, WMF staff need to be deliberate and empathic in their interactions with the Community. They need to be directly helpful where they can. In cases where they can’t help directly, they need to look for synergistic solutions or compromises, as best as they can. Requests which cannot be met should be refused politely with explanation, only after engagement and considering all alternatives. Concerns which cannot be addressed now need to be noted for future, and addressed when they can, and not be forgotten and put out of mind, once time passes.
The Community understands the constraints that the WMF staff is functioning under and appreciates their hard work and efforts. In turn, WMF Staff need to reciprocate empathetically regarding the Community’s interests.
Pavan Santhosh Surampudi (Pavan santhosh.s)
Managing themselves with greater autonomy is the main reason why several communities could be able to produce leaders and successfully work towards progress. I believe episodes tensions between the Wider community and Wikimedia foundation can be addressed by:
- As I mentioned in my statement, Building trust and belongingness in the community by improving and standardising community consultation procedures from Wikimedia foundation's side. Community members often feel that WMF conducts consultations for consultation sake while decisions was already taken. This has to be changed by gaining trust by improving the consultation and feedback process. On the other side of the coin, there are several instances where WMF and Communities work together. Best practices from these instances should be used.
- I hope movement entities like Global council regional and thematic hubs, as well as other existing and new entities and decision-making bodies, can tackle issues like discussing the Universal code of conduct and other such global rules. I wrote in the statement about the importance of "Empowering Wikimedia movement entities and reducing the excessive centralisation of power all over the world". This would allow communities to create much needed global rules with "skin in the game".
Sustainable skill and leadership development programme is very important for us in going forward. If we wanted to make the process truly global and equitable then we need to invest in leadership development and governance capacities in every corner. These three aspects are interdependent. If I were elected to the board, I would support more autonomy to communities, investing in leadership and skill-building, and measures to Ensure Equity in Decision-Making.
Ravishankar Ayyakkannu (Ravidreams)
When it comes to content, and adoption of certain tools unwanted or damaging for certain communities, the communities should have more autonomy. Once, the foundation engineers imposed a tool on Tamil Wikipedia which we had to resist and opt-out by conducting a vote followed by a unanimous resolution addressed to the foundation. Such a one-size-fits-all approach may not be beneficial always.
However, communities cannot claim autonomy over everything. At the end of the day, they may still be required to adhere to core policies like the five pillars or Universal Code of Conduct. Terms of usage of the projects should also be adhered to.
These are my views about unregistered communities that just work on managing content in respective projects. Regarding registered entities and movement affiliates, please check my answer to question number two which addresses a similar question.
Farah Jack Mustaklem (Fjmustak)
Wiki communities should be able to have autonomy in running the day-to-day wikis. However, there must be some guiding principles that are shared across the projects. The WMF cannot be completely detached from the communities, because after all, the success of a wiki community is a success for the Foundation, and the broader Wikimedia Community as a whole. Cultural differences should be taken into consideration when differentiating between the different communities, but there should be a Universal Code of Conduct that binds these communities together and ensures that a certain community does not "go rogue". --Fjmustak (talk) 23:55, 31 July 2021 (UTC)