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Chapters Association spanked 
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Unread post Chapters Association spanked
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At our February 2 Board meeting, we spent several hours discussing the proposed Chapters Association and its potential role in the Wikimedia movement.

Despite our initial optimism, we have now reluctantly concluded that the proposed Chapters Association is unlikely to advance the Wikimedia mission significantly. We encouraged the concept in its early stages, but in light of the implementation to date, we regretfully have come to believe it will not be successful.

In our opinion, the Chapters Association hasn’t made a persuasive case that it will be effective. We believe that during its development thus far, it has not consulted sufficiently with movement stakeholders. We are concerned that it will not be equipped to offer oversight, which would be essential for an entity expected to provide governance support and oversight for the chapters. Considering its proposed role in the movement as well as the demand it would place on movement resources, we believe these factors are decisive.

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wi ... ssociation

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Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:41 am
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
Wow, that is a spanking. And not the good kind.

Some interesting responses so far:
Nemo Bis wrote:
...in light of the above letter, there are additional good reasons to stop waiting and proceed with the chapters association plans.


In other words, full steam ahead!

Fæ wrote:
In line with our shared values of openness and transparency...


Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:53 am
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
Mason wrote:
Wow, that is a spanking. And not the good kind.

Some interesting responses so far:
Nemo Bis wrote:
...in light of the above letter, there are additional good reasons to stop waiting and proceed with the chapters association plans.


In other words, full steam ahead!

Fæ wrote:
In line with our shared values of openness and transparency...

Pundit his the nail on the head: essentially saying the emphasis has been on the bureaucracy not any thought of what to do.

Good waffle, Fae!

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Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:24 am
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
I am no expert in non-profit organization and development, but the whole idea of the "chapters association" always seemed daft to me, especially from the bureaucratic interests of the Wikimedia Foundation ("Hey, I know: Lets create a competing power center to ourselves composed of people of no proven ability whatsoever and with even less acountablity. What could go wrong?").


Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:38 pm
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
If those fools go ahead with the Chapters Association, this will represent the first major "insurrection".

It might be the opening salvo in the battle that will tear the WMF apart. They are trying to create a "trade union" or "pressure group" for WMF chapters, after nearly 10 years of repeated claims that the WMF is just one big happy consonant Wiki-Luving family.

In which case, I welcome it. Finally, the massive incompetence, self-serving dishonesty,
and erratic behaviour of WMF insiders will be too obvious to ignore.

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Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:48 pm WWW
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
A couple of the WMF trustees have posted statements.
Quote:
Stu West statement

My name is Stu West and I’m one of the Wikimedia Foundation Trustees. I’m happy to respond to this request because I believe that all of us on the organizational side of our movement are here in large part to support you, the editors that create the projects that allow our community to pursue its vision. As it happens, that belief is also the core of my personal concerns with the proposed Chapters Association.

Like many, I am attracted to the idea that cooperative, community-driven groups can play a coaching/mentoring role across our movement. The Chapters Committee (now Affiliations Committee) has made incredible contributions for years, and Iberocoop has been a great model for how our people in our community can support one another.

As discussions around a chapters association took on some momentum a year ago, and particularly during and after the excellent community meeting Wikimedia France hosted in Paris in February of 2012, I was optimistic about the promise for such a group.

Since then, sadly, I’ve become increasingly disturbed by the actions of this nascent organization:
  • It selected and empowered as Chair someone banned by our community's largest project, demonstrating a disconnect from and disrespect for our editing community. I don’t personally consider this acceptable for any individual or organization in our movement.
  • Its initial proposed budget was larger than that of most of the chapters it purports to represent.
  • It pursued legal incorporation and the hiring of an senior staff in an expensive location before demonstrating any contribution to our community. This was even after many (including me) suggested that it pursue some kind of actual work first to test out and better understand the value it could add.
  • It selected grandiose titles for its intended staff (e.g. "Secretary-General"), demonstrating a tendency toward power/ego rather than humble (even anonymous) contribution that is the personality of our movement.

As the Foundation’s Audit Committee Chair, and a board member passionate about the organizational side of our movement, I reached out to its Chair and Vice Chair in writing in early October to share my concerns. I even made a trip to London in November and spent some time with its Chair.

Sadly, based on these interactions and on following the wikis, I concluded that the Chapters Association in its current form is not on track to be a constructive part of our community. It’s just not connected with the editors, not respectful enough of them. I’m too concerned that it’s going to be just another layer of bureaucracy and politicization that will at best be irrelevant to the pursuit of our vision and at worst slow it down.

A cooperative, community-driven body dedicated to supporting our mission and our community could be amazing -- look at what Iberocoop has done, or the ChapCom/AffCom. Unfortunately, that is not the path that the Chapters Association has ended up pursuing. Thus I joined the unanimous Board support for the letter. (PS -- i'm working on a blog post reflecting on the broader organizational issues; look for it in a few days) Stu (talk) 16:21, 5 February 2013 (UTC)


Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:56 pm
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
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Since then, sadly, I’ve become increasingly disturbed by the actions of this nascent organization:

It selected and empowered as Chair someone banned by our community's largest project, demonstrating a disconnect from and disrespect for our editing community. I don’t personally consider this acceptable for any individual or organization in our movement.


Radioactive.


Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:23 pm
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
Vigilant wrote:
Quote:
Since then, sadly, I’ve become increasingly disturbed by the actions of this nascent organization:

It selected and empowered as Chair someone banned by our community's largest project, demonstrating a disconnect from and disrespect for our editing community. I don’t personally consider this acceptable for any individual or organization in our movement.


Radioactive.


I'm liking this Stu more and more.


Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:02 pm
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
Do you know what Stu West's statement says, in a nutshell? "Crowd sourcing is nice in principal, but doesn't work in practice for important stuff."

It appears to be dawning on Mr. Van Haeften that he's not going to get to wear the admiral's hat with the gold trim he had all picked out, so he unleashes a torrent of meaningless blather (rather confirming the board's point that the "WCA" has been all about personal prestige and meaningless blather).

It's kind of sad; he wants to be a bureaucrat with a puffed-up title so awfully, yet he's no good at playing the game/reading the wind.

Quote:
The letter from the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees is a surprise to the Chapters Association Council members. It was created without formally approaching the Chair or the Council members, in the weeks before the planned board meeting for advance consultation, or to arrange a presentation by the Council members, in order properly to respond to trustee perceived issues.

I would like the Council to have the opportunity in our meeting on the 16th February to consider all options and views, so that we can continue our strategy that will deliver a Wikimedia community led initiative for best practice governance, and a well developed fully elected association that embodies a strong community voice. I invite trustees from the Foundation board to freely and openly express their individual and differing viewpoints in advance of that meeting, so that Council Members are clear on the issues and what would be necessary and sufficient to resolve them.

I would ask for timely and open engagement from all interested Foundation board members, should they have continuing concerns, rather than waiting for another board meeting.

I look forward to reaching a consensus with my fellow Council members on delivering our mission, during the coordination meeting on the weekend of 16th February.

Thank you. --Fæ (talk) 14:52, 5 February 2013 (UTC)


Last edited by DanMurphy on Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:04 pm
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
DanMurphy wrote:
Do you know what Stu West's statement says, in a nutshell? "Crowd sourcing is nice in principal, but doesn't work in practice for important stuff."

I'd say it's more along the lines of "This isn't going to work with the current crop of cowpats trying to run it."

It's hard to evaluate whether crowd sourcing itself is broken or the people at wikipedia are making this instance broken.

Variable isolation is non trivial.


Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:09 pm
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
The message is even simpler.

"The chapters are a fuck-up and the idiots think that we are going to give them millions of dollars to run a global organisation when they haven't even organised their first piss up in a brewery. What a bunch of wankers! Then when we asked them to demonstrate the worth of the WCA in principle before spending millions of our money, they told us to fuck off and said they were going to go ahead and spend our millions anyway, and then try and paint us as the bad guys."

It is a fair bet that as part of the due diligence of chapters by the WMF, anyone found spending substantial amounts of WMF grants on the support of WCA would find their funding cut (I doubt WMUK could justify significant support under charity law anyhow) and WMF certainly will not be funding the WCA directly.

WCA is dead, Fae is just a bit thick and hasn't worked it out yet.

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Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:33 pm
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
dogbiscuit wrote:
The message is even simpler.

"The chapters are a fuck-up and the idiots think that we are going to give them millions of dollars to run a global organisation when they haven't even organised their first piss up in a brewery. What a bunch of wankers! Then when we asked them to demonstrate the worth of the WCA in principle before spending millions of our money, they told us to fuck off and said they were going to go ahead and spend our millions anyway, and then try and paint us as the bad guys."


I don't normally say - "told you so" but told you so:
viewtopic.php?p=29002#p29002

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Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:51 pm
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
lilburne wrote:
dogbiscuit wrote:
The message is even simpler.

"The chapters are a fuck-up and the idiots think that we are going to give them millions of dollars to run a global organisation when they haven't even organised their first piss up in a brewery. What a bunch of wankers! Then when we asked them to demonstrate the worth of the WCA in principle before spending millions of our money, they told us to fuck off and said they were going to go ahead and spend our millions anyway, and then try and paint us as the bad guys."


I don't normally say - "told you so" but told you so:
viewtopic.php?p=29002#p29002


"interminable talking shops" -- How very true, and much more; to borrowed phrase from Donleavy or Dobbs or someone; "plump little sacks of squiggling appetites."


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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
TungstenCarbide wrote:
"interminable talking shops" -- How very true, and much more; to borrowed phrase from Donleavy or Dobbs or someone; "plump little sacks of squiggling appetites."

The problem with WMUK was that the talking was a diversion from the true purpose, which was to leverage the Wikipedia chapter for personal gain. It seems that Fae is the foil, and it seems like nobody wanted him on board for the actual money-making schemes ("Toss him a memory stick if it keeps him quiet.")

I still think Monmouthopedia was in principle a great idea, getting ordinary people involved in Wikipedia doing ordinary things diverting the project away from gamesmanship back to the roots of data gathering, but they didn't even have the good grace to let it run a few iterations before syphoning off the benefits for personal gain. That failure to do so probably will leave them in the scraping a living phase for the rest of their tarnished time, instead of the long term bankable global fame of being the reinvigorators of Wikipedia, with all the kudos that could have brought (unless you present like Andy Mabbett).

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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
dogbiscuit wrote:
The message is even simpler.

"The chapters are a fuck-up and the idiots think that we are going to give them millions of dollars to run a global organisation when they haven't even organised their first piss up in a brewery. What a bunch of wankers! Then when we asked them to demonstrate the worth of the WCA in principle before spending millions of our money, they told us to fuck off and said they were going to go ahead and spend our millions anyway, and then try and paint us as the bad guys."

It is a fair bet that as part of the due diligence of chapters by the WMF, anyone found spending substantial amounts of WMF grants on the support of WCA would find their funding cut (I doubt WMUK could justify significant support under charity law anyhow) and WMF certainly will not be funding the WCA directly.

WCA is dead, Fae is just a bit thick and hasn't worked it out yet.

Well said is well said is well said.


Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:24 am
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
Whats going to be interesting is the fallout.

The WMF effectively treats the chapters as a significant fund-raising tool. Unfortunately for them the chapters do have effective control/influence over lots of (in themselves) influential editors. The Chapters Assoc was their attempt to claw back some of the power over how they are/were being used.

Regardless of what the (nice-sounding) posts by WMF trustees say, the fact is the WMF does not want its fund-raisers (editors & chapters) getting organised any more than an any other employer wants its employees to be unionised. Its simple divide & conquer at this point.

If the WCA and individual chapters want to go to war over it however, it will become very messy for the WMF very quickly. Look at the UK for example, if the WMUK go to the gov and say 'Yeah you know when we said we could control content on WP? Sorry that was not really accurate!'

All it would need is the biggest chapters and members of the WCA to put out group statements to the press and their countries govs given the ACTUAL state of editing on WP, the problems with BLP's, accurate info etc, and the WMF would be completely undermined. The reason this isnt general knowledge is because for the most part, editors and chapters buy into the dream. Well the WMF has just shattered that, so will be interesting to see what happens next.


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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
Anroth wrote:
Whats going to be interesting is the fallout.

The WMF effectively treats the chapters as a significant fund-raising tool. Unfortunately for them the chapters do have effective control/influence over lots of (in themselves) influential editors. The Chapters Assoc was their attempt to claw back some of the power over how they are/were being used.

Regardless of what the (nice-sounding) posts by WMF trustees say, the fact is the WMF does not want its fund-raisers (editors & chapters) getting organised any more than an any other employer wants its employees to be unionised. Its simple divide & conquer at this point.

If the WCA and individual chapters want to go to war over it however, it will become very messy for the WMF very quickly. Look at the UK for example, if the WMUK go to the gov and say 'Yeah you know when we said we could control content on WP? Sorry that was not really accurate!'

All it would need is the biggest chapters and members of the WCA to put out group statements to the press and their countries govs given the ACTUAL state of editing on WP, the problems with BLP's, accurate info etc, and the WMF would be completely undermined. The reason this isnt general knowledge is because for the most part, editors and chapters buy into the dream. Well the WMF has just shattered that, so will be interesting to see what happens next.

Just might be an embryonic fork that's brewing, if they get a 'Secretary General' with oomph . Normally I'd say a fork would be great, couldn't be any worse could it? But then you look at the crazy bowl of popcorn the chapters are. :blink:


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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
TungstenCarbide wrote:
Just might be an embryonic fork that's brewing, if they get a 'Secretary General' with oomph . Normally I'd say a fork would be great, couldn't be any worse could it? But then you look at the crazy bowl of popcorn the chapters are. :blink:


Depends, if Germany & Australia were steering, it would probably be a good thing. If it was the UK at the helm? Not so much.


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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
I think there are a few problems with the analysis of control. Firstly, it is of vital importance to any group with assets that they are not seen to have any influence over the content of Wikipedia, or else liability starts accruing. While that is not a problem for Joe Editor where it is not worthwhile going legal over aside from revenge, chapters with assets claiming influence over content would be an attractive target.

The WMF switched off the ability for WMUK to gather money so although in 2011 in principle WMUK gathered the money and redirected it to the WMF, in 2012 the WMF gathered the money and redirected it to WMUK. There was a fundamental difference: in law in 2011 it had to be seen to be a WMUK decision as to how to distribute the funds - WMF could not instruct them to hand over all the money. There was a certain amount of posturing over that money in 2011 which would have raised alarm bells with the WMF and was enough to get them to throw away substantial the charity tax break in the UK. Essentially, Wikipedia funds are what fundraising raises from the website plus the WMF big deals from the (typically American) foundations. WMUK hasn't got an independent income stream of note, and I doubt the other chapters have either, they are not credible enough without WMF.

The way the WCA is set up, setting up a £75k post, presumably with the budget for support staff and accommodation to go with it, WCA seem to be wanting to spend £250k-£500k just on setting up the bureaucracy, then they are going to worry about what they are going to achieve. Hands up anyone who can concisely (or otherwise!) state a useful benefit to Wikipedia of the WCA.

I don't have a lot of sympathy with the WMF because they set this state of affairs in motion, but they would be abrogating their responsibility if they allowed the chapters to continue to drain money from the WMF without any recognisable benefits in return. The big mistake of the WMF was letting these little boy clubs have sight of millions when what they needed was thousands. If the WMF wanted outposts in other countries, they should have organised a professional network, not a bunch of misfits.

The WMF didn't want to ask the question - "Why are these people devoting so much time to setting up WMUK? What are they hoping to get out of it?" I can only assume that they thought the answer was "The greater good of mankind." which shows how naive the WMF are: even though they are a cynical bunch themselves, they didn't recognise their own traits in others; they believed their own propaganda.

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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
Anroth wrote:
If the WCA and individual chapters want to go to war over it however, it will become very messy for the WMF very quickly. Look at the UK for example, if the WMUK go to the gov and say 'Yeah you know when we said we could control content on WP? Sorry that was not really accurate!'


If they do that, two things happen - they lose their charity status (and part of their capacity to get their own funding) AND they lose further funding from WMF (and the trademark...).

I doubt that WMUK would be that crazy.... but you never know.

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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
James Heilman, on Wikimedia-l:

Quote:
"The WCA is lead by the council, who are all volunteers. They will be
supported by staff, but the council are in charge."

I would love to have my Wikipedia work supported by staff too. Who is
paying for said staff? How much are they projected to cost? In fact I
would simply like some of the travel costs and accommodations for
those involved in my Wikipedia projects covered. I am happy to cover
my own costs.

We have a second draft budget here
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedi ... _2012-2013
at more than $300,000

We have $42,000 going to a translator / PR person? I have managed to
find translators for more than 30 languages which have translated more
than 1 million words in 2012 as part of this project
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia: ... task_force
Most translation on Wikipedia is done by volunteers. Why is
translation for this organization deem more important than say for key
medical diseases?

I see that in the second draft the funding for the SG has decreased
from 96000 euro to 60000 euro. I think the number I am looking for is
around zero, we are an organization run on volunteers. The World
Health Organization is willing to have a Wikipedian in Residence. I
have found someone who will do it for free / the experience of working
at the WHO but he needs some help covering his expenses. The person is
willing to work full time to do out reach to 600 interns at the WHO
who are usually young leaders in their respective medical communities
from around the world.

With respect to the law firm costs of $30,000. That is a lot for
supporting collaboration between chapters. With respect to $10,000 for
a chapters network / skype? But skype is free and we already have
meta. It is inexpensive to set up a website.

--
James Heilman
MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian

The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
http://www.opentextbookofmedicine.com


An interesting discussion ensues, highlighting different ideas and ideals about volunteerism vs. paid work.


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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
And now Fae is posting parts of email exchanges with board members. More popcorn anyone?


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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
Anroth wrote:
If the WCA and individual chapters want to go to war over it however, it will become very messy for the WMF very quickly. Look at the UK for example, if the WMUK go to the gov and say 'Yeah you know when we said we could control content on WP? Sorry that was not really accurate!'

When did they say that? And to whom?

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Hex wrote:
Anroth wrote:
If the WCA and individual chapters want to go to war over it however, it will become very messy for the WMF very quickly. Look at the UK for example, if the WMUK go to the gov and say 'Yeah you know when we said we could control content on WP? Sorry that was not really accurate!'

When did they say that? And to whom?

There were representations made to the UK Parliament by Fae and also representations made to the Charity Commission that gave the overriding impression that there were proper and robust controls over the content of Wikipedia operated by WMUK. Autumn of 2011.

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Hex wrote:
When did they say that? And to whom?


What dogbiscuit said. As it was open submission, someone here can probably link you to the statements, I think there was also a response/objection lodged from some of the people here regarding it too.


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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
dogbiscuit wrote:
Hex wrote:
Anroth wrote:
If the WCA and individual chapters want to go to war over it however, it will become very messy for the WMF very quickly. Look at the UK for example, if the WMUK go to the gov and say 'Yeah you know when we said we could control content on WP? Sorry that was not really accurate!'

When did they say that? And to whom?

There were representations made to the UK Parliament by Fae and also representations made to the Charity Commission that gave the overriding impression that there were proper and robust controls over the content of Wikipedia operated by WMUK. Autumn of 2011.


And that is where Fae's recent troubles started.

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dogbiscuit wrote:
There were representations made to the UK Parliament by Fae and also representations made to the Charity Commission that gave the overriding impression that there were proper and robust controls over the content of Wikipedia operated by WMUK. Autumn of 2011.

Fascinating. Thanks.

Parliament: Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions - Oral and written evidence

This is going to take a while to plough through....

Ooh, there's video.

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Hex wrote:
dogbiscuit wrote:
There were representations made to the UK Parliament by Fae and also representations made to the Charity Commission that gave the overriding impression that there were proper and robust controls over the content of Wikipedia operated by WMUK. Autumn of 2011.

Fascinating. Thanks.

Parliament: Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions - Oral and written evidence

This is going to take a while to plough through....

Someone will have, together with the relevant paragraphs. This originally happened while we were on Wikipedia Review and I've had a quick look around but can't find a handy link as I pass by the computer. You'll see that there are rebuttals of the evidence given.

We ought to have a reference section for these documents and such like.

Fae's presentation was essentially "This is what we like to pretend Wikipedia is like." Stuff like "there are policies so therefore it is not a problem." (See Stafford Hospital for the results of that sort of thinking).

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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
dogbiscuit wrote:
See Stafford Hospital for the results of that sort of thinking.

How very contemporary. Unfortunately, that's a tasteless and inappropriate comparison.

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Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:06 pm WWW
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
Edward pulled out some stuff over at Wikipedia Review from parliament testimony Van Haeften gave at a hearing on privacy and the press. Not exactly what is being sought, but interesting.

Quote:
Ashley Van Haeften: Can I pick up on Wikipedia as an example of trust? People trust the brand that Wikipedia has, and that comes from good editorial policies rather than regulation. They are highly credible, public and well enforced by our community. I am speaking as a Wikipedian myself. Those policies are developed by community consensus. You can go in and you can contribute to that consensus. In particular with biographies, they fairly represent the enforcement of polices to ensure facts are presented with appropriate weight and are verifiable. In my opinion, Wikipedia already has more credibility than the majority of mainstream tabloid press, and high levels of external regulation are highly unlikely to influence our collaborative way of working.
Q555 Lord Black of Brentwood: But the editorial policies you are talking about are a form of internal regulation.
Ashley Van Haeften: They are the editorial policies that our community have created for themselves.
Q571 Ms Stuart: Ashley Van Haeften, wearing your Wikipedia hat, could you respond to George Eustice’s idea of kitemarking? While we were sitting here I googled your name and tried to work out whether you had your own Wikipedia entry, and you don’t. I was wondering whether you want to say a bit about that too.
Ashley Van Haeften: Well, Wikipedia only contains information that is notable, not transient. We are not a holder of indiscriminate information, and I am transient and not notable. Lord Gold: That might change.
Ashley Van Haeften: The kitemark is quite relevant, I think, for Wikipedia. The brand is clear. I am speaking for myself as a Wikipedian, not the Wikimedia Foundation or anything. There were references previously to the amount of money to be made. Wikipedia and its community believe they are completely neutral, because it is not sponsored and it does not have advertising. It runs as a charity for open knowledge. There is this distinction to be made, I think, between gossip and knowledge. Knowledge will always transcend geographical borders. That is probably something everybody supports, even when that contains privacy issues. Wikipedia works because of strong editorial policies that the community believes in, and that encompasses policies for the biographies of living people and biographies of the recently deceased. When you google a recently deceased famous person today you will find that the bare facts are there and the things that, for example, are transiently tweeted are not. Those tweets will all evaporate within a week, but the Wikipedia encyclopaedic article will last for the long term, and that is true knowledge. That is why Wikimedia is considered Wikipedia. It runs on a charitable basis and people believe in it as a global programme. It is a magnitude larger than any of the sites you have talked about. It is the sixth largest website on the planet, and that is why it appears so high when you search for these topics.
Q572 Ms Stuart: Just before you get away with this notion that you are so pure and don’t take any money, currently if I go on Wikipedia somebody’s face flashes up—I am so ignorant I can’t remember who the guy is—and his charity, so he is taking money from somebody.
Ashley Van Haeften: There are several faces. There is the famous Jimmy Wales; certainly he has a Wikipedia article. We are currently fundraising.
Q573 Ms Stuart: But you have to live off something, don’t you?
Ashley Van Haeften: Yes, we are currently in a fundraiser cycle that lasts for something like 50 days. We do not have any banners for the rest of the year, and that is how we raise all the money we need to run.
Q574 Ms Stuart: So because you just do it for 50 days of the year rather than longer, you are purer than the others.
Ashley Van Haeften: We are, yes. Ms Stuart: That is fine by me; it is an interesting notion.
Ashley Van Haeften: This is purely for open knowledge; it is not advertising anybody else. It is saying: if you are interested in a free and open resource like this, you can chip in your dollar to keep it going.
Q575 Yasmin Qureshi: Can I just ask something? You say Wikipedia is sort of purer than pure. But if somebody does not want to be on Wikipedia, they do not want information about them on it, can they stop it from being published?
Ashley Van Haeften: I think it is worth explaining that there are a range of things that you can do, and I think that is a very good model that can be thought of in a different context. In the first instance you can edit it yourself—it is open. You can go in and you can edit it anonymously. If it is wrong—if your birth date is wrong on there—you can go and edit it. You can discuss it on a talk page that discusses improvements to articles. We have helpdesks and notice boards specific to that. We also have administrators. I am an administrator; I can help you out in fixing an article if there is a dispute going on. You can also email. We have a system for confidential emails. So there is quite a chain of things that you can do before you might seek legal recourse, and that is part of why it works so well and why it is so well trusted. For those people that have a problem and say, “The article about me is wrong—my birthday is wrong”, it is fairly obvious how to go about it. You can always send us an email and ask for help, and that works very well. It is all run by volunteers, so I do that as a volunteer rather than a paid person.
Q576 Yasmin Qureshi: That simple, factual stuff like the birthday is alright. But there is other stuff that is written on Wikipedia about people that can be a bit suspect because of the way it is slanted, or the way it is put, or it omits a very relevant piece of information that could explain why something happened. From what I have heard from people who have tried to deal with it, they have been very disappointed because they have not found the offending information removed. They have made an amendment, then somebody comes in and blanks them out and then puts something else on. It seems the sort of action that an individual can take regarding their Wikipedia entry is not so straightforward.
Ashley Van Haeften: The problem is reaching consensus on the changes. So you may believe that you can write about yourself with a fairly independent view; other members of the public may disagree with you and think it is an unfair representation. So it is a question of how you then reach that community consensus, and the information you want to add, for instance, correcting your birth date, still needs a source for it. Of course if the sources are conflicting, that is another discussion to have.
Q577 Yasmin Qureshi: The source? Do you have to show your birth certificate?
Ashley Van Haeften: Maybe, if you can produce it. If someone can be bothered to go and look it up.
Q578 Yasmin Qureshi: How do you do that?
Ashley Van Haeften: It depends whether it is notable or not. Normally there are enough sources to find that sort of thing fairly easily. It comes up a lot with birth dates of actors. Yasmin Qureshi: I am not really concerned about my birth certificate.
Q580 […] Professor Murray: I would like to see people who address the largest audiences be held responsible for the audiences they reach, which means I think that bloggers of a certain scale should be brought within the same regulatory regime as press, television and radio publishers. I think responsibility for any kind of incitement or nudge-and-wink-style reporting should be laid squarely at the door of newspaper editors and newspaper publishers. They should be held responsible for inciting others to breach injunctions via social media and other means.
Ashley Van Haeften: I would encourage thinking more about the reputation of where people would go to on the internet to find their information. Wikipedia—what was the phrase, “Purer than pure”—has that reputation because of a strong editorial policy. So your reputation should be tied into neutrality, and respect and civility is part of why people use our website and why it is number six in the world for people to visit.


Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:27 pm
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
Yeah, that's in the PDF (and video) linked from my post above. Q571 is at 15:10:24.

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Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:27 pm WWW
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
Hex wrote:
dogbiscuit wrote:
See Stafford Hospital for the results of that sort of thinking.

How very contemporary. Unfortunately, that's a tasteless and inappropriate comparison.

It is highly appropriate. Layer upon layer of management assumed everything was ok because there were policies in place and people were reporting that things were hunky-dory, to the point that people simply could not believe the complaints that were being raised.

We see exactly that sort of attitude in Wikipedia: a disbelief that there is anything really wrong, because if there were then policy or ArbCom or Jimbo or WMF would have sorted it out. You forget we've been pointing out abuse for years and all we get is to be vilified for spreading lies and disinformation. While one would hardly claim that there is the impact of the scandal is on the same scale, the workings are exactly those of the hospital. Why is that relevant? Because it tells us the natural disposition of people is not to do the right thing; not to make things as good as they can be. If we can't run a hospital for the benefit of the patients, why on earth should we consider that running a web site will naturally tend towards doing the right thing?

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Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:31 pm
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
dogbiscuit wrote:
You forget we've been pointing out abuse for years and all we get is to be vilified for spreading lies and disinformation.

Are you honestly trying to compare the people posting to this site/Wikipedia Review to NHS whistleblowers? That's so unbelievably self-important it's bordering upon the delusional.

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Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:03 pm WWW
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
Hex wrote:
dogbiscuit wrote:
You forget we've been pointing out abuse for years and all we get is to be vilified for spreading lies and disinformation.

Are you honestly trying to compare the people posting to this site/Wikipedia Review to NHS whistleblowers? That's so unbelievably self-important it's bordering upon the delusional.

Read what you want to read. I made a quite clear rebuttal of that point in my post, I made no such claim of import, simply that if we get fucking big important things so wrong that hundreds die, then it shows the nonsense of assuming that policy and reporting are reliable solutions for the little things and all things in between.

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Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:26 pm
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Unread post Re: Chapters Association spanked
dogbiscuit wrote:
Hex wrote:
dogbiscuit wrote:
You forget we've been pointing out abuse for years and all we get is to be vilified for spreading lies and disinformation.

Are you honestly trying to compare the people posting to this site/Wikipedia Review to NHS whistleblowers? That's so unbelievably self-important it's bordering upon the delusional.

Read what you want to read. I made a quite clear rebuttal of that point in my post, I made no such claim of import, simply that if we get fucking big important things so wrong that hundreds die, then it shows the nonsense of assuming that policy and reporting are reliable solutions for the little things and all things in between.


Back in the days when I was working in a chemical factory they introduced BS5750 and some ISO-WhatEverFuckNumber loads of process and procedures. Think being that they got some green Chemical Engineer grad to write up the processes and procedures based on wishful thinking. No one came and asked anyone doing the job what everyone was doing, they just went on old documents that had been yellowing in filing cabinets for 15-20 years. So processes "which you must adhere to or else" were distributed throughout the factory, and the flow of material from one section became a dribble because discretion was over ruled. Example there are two small mixing tanks A, B of a solution which both feed into very large holding tank T.

Quote:
solution X MUST contain between 25-26% of Y before it moves to tank T.


Tank A has a 24.8% solution tank B has a 26.2% solution, holding tank T will be empty in 1 hour, correcting and re-testing tanks A and B will take 2 hours.

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Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:12 pm
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