On Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 4:05 PM, Milos Rancic <email@example.com> wrote: > On Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 21:38, Mateus Nobre <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> I totally agree to fight against censorships in Internet and in real life, I agree with that. And I fight against that. We can, as people and citizens; But Wikimedia Foundation can't, cause we can't force the volunteers to agree that visions.
> I know that it's complex, of course. And I know that it was necessary
> to see that our bunker is on the front line to realize that it's
> better to help others before.
>> We're not a political party (yet?)
> At some point of time we'll have to articulate ourselves politically.
> There is relatively clear set of values behind our movement and there
> are clear benefits which all humans are getting thanks to our work.
> Pretending that we are apolitical makes our position worse and
> inevitably leads to the crisis, like this one is.
> Leadership inside of one network, no matter how loose the connections
> are inside of that network, has responsibility to raise and articulate
> relevant political issues, as well. And I am glad to see that Jimmy
> has taken at least the articulation role in this case.
I think our very existence is not politically neutral. The articles,
yes, as close to that ideal of neutrality as possible. But the project
itself? We depend on a legal infrastructure that makes it possible for
us to operate. And we depend on a legal infrastructure that also
allows other sites to host user-contributed material, both information
For the most part, Wikimedia projects are organizing and summarizing
and collecting the world's knowledge. We're putting it in context, and
showing people how to make to sense of it. But that knowledge has to
be published somewhere for anyone to find and use it. Where it can be
censored without due process, it hurts the speaker, the public, and
Wikimedia. Where you can only speak if you have sufficient resources
to fight legal challenges, or if your views are pre-approved by
someone who does, the same narrow set of ideas already popular will
continue to be all anyone has meaningful access to.
I've started thinking of our public voice and the goodwill we have in
the public's mind as being a resource that we need to be responsible
stewards of--just as much so as the money we're given. Both as the
legal entity of the Wikimedia Foundation, and as the broader
community-based entity of the movement around our set of goals.
Not using that voice when we obviously have it is also a political
decision. We already take many political stances just by what we're
doing: we support the right to freedom of thought and expression. We
support the idea of letting authors and creators choose different
terms than the default copyright term. We think that simple facts
about the world should not be copyrightable. We think everyone should
have access to educational material on any subject, even if they
cannot pay for it or their government doesn't want them to have it.
They're assumptions that we don't usually make a lot of noise about,
but they are basic to our mission; we cannot do what we set out to do
in our mission statement if the laws we're operating under make it
I think it was good for us that we've focused on creating things
rather than talking about things--we have built something that has
brought tremendous value to the world, and have built up a lot of
credibility. When a law is proposed that challenges our ability to
continue doing that, we should use that voice and that goodwill we
have to stand up for the mission.
There is more stress and concern on Wikimedia lists over allocating
money properly than almost any other topic. It's important--using the
resources we've been given by the public to their best end is a huge
and difficult responsibility. But that's only (!) a few tens of
millions of dollars. Our voice is worth much more than that, and we've
mostly been letting it sit in the bank. We should spend it to make
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