Examples of the WMF interfering in en.wiki?

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Philomath
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Examples of the WMF interfering in en.wiki?

Post by Philomath » Sun May 26, 2024 3:14 am

Are there any historical examples of the WMF, for one reason or another, interfering with en.wikipedia (or another language wikipedia) to force a change of policies or guidelines?

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Re: Examples of the WMF interfering in en.wiki?

Post by Brillig » Sun May 26, 2024 4:56 pm

I know they imposed BLP on all projects (https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/R ... ing_people) and the UCoC is meant (at least in theory) to create a standard of civility for smaller projects. However, I can't think of an example of them changing the PAGs of a project, merely examples of them superseding local rules by creating global policies.

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Re: Examples of the WMF interfering in en.wiki?

Post by boredbird » Sun May 26, 2024 7:20 pm

Philomath wrote:
Sun May 26, 2024 3:14 am
Are there any historical examples of the WMF, for one reason or another, interfering with en.wikipedia (or another language wikipedia) to force a change of policies or guidelines?
Among the most obvious vectors of interference are the many Foundation employees and grant recipients who are also "functionaries" on Wikipedia. They change "hats" though before they do it.

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Re: Examples of the WMF interfering in en.wiki?

Post by Philomath » Sun May 26, 2024 7:39 pm

boredbird wrote:
Sun May 26, 2024 7:20 pm
Philomath wrote:
Sun May 26, 2024 3:14 am
Are there any historical examples of the WMF, for one reason or another, interfering with en.wikipedia (or another language wikipedia) to force a change of policies or guidelines?
Among the most obvious vectors of interference are the many Foundation employees and grant recipients who are also "functionaries" on Wikipedia. They change "hats" though before they do it.
Any specific examples come to mind for you?

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Re: Examples of the WMF interfering in en.wiki?

Post by Philomath » Sun May 26, 2024 7:50 pm

Brillig wrote:
Sun May 26, 2024 4:56 pm
I know they imposed BLP on all projects (https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/R ... ing_people) and the UCoC is meant (at least in theory) to create a standard of civility for smaller projects. However, I can't think of an example of them changing the PAGs of a project, merely examples of them superseding local rules by creating global policies.
Why did they decide to impose BLP? Lawsuits/legal threats?

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Re: Examples of the WMF interfering in en.wiki?

Post by Brillig » Mon May 27, 2024 4:35 pm

Philomath wrote:
Sun May 26, 2024 7:50 pm
Brillig wrote:
Sun May 26, 2024 4:56 pm
I know they imposed BLP on all projects (https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/R ... ing_people) and the UCoC is meant (at least in theory) to create a standard of civility for smaller projects. However, I can't think of an example of them changing the PAGs of a project, merely examples of them superseding local rules by creating global policies.
Why did they decide to impose BLP? Lawsuits/legal threats?
My guess would be legal reasons. There may have been a specific triggering incident on a non-English Wikipedia but 2009 is so far back I don't remember anything.

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Re: Examples of the WMF interfering in en.wiki?

Post by ericbarbour » Thu May 30, 2024 12:03 am

Philomath wrote:
Sun May 26, 2024 7:39 pm
boredbird wrote:
Sun May 26, 2024 7:20 pm
Among the most obvious vectors of interference are the many Foundation employees and grant recipients who are also "functionaries" on Wikipedia. They change "hats" though before they do it.
Any specific examples come to mind for you?
Are you kidding? it has been ROUTINE for admins and other suck-ups to end up working for the WMF or on their Board. Anyone who kissed Jimbo's ass hard prior to around 2011 usually landed on the WMF payroll.

Do I really need to list all the guff from the book wiki? There's a LOT. Most were later forced out or quit, especially under the short reign of Lila Tretikov and the slightly longer reign of Katherine Maher. Lila was especially ruthless, which explains why they hated her so much. Don't forget Sarah Stierch, not mentioned below ..... didn't last very long at all.
Apart from the WMF personnel mentioned in other articles, since 2011 the WMF has embarked on a little-noticed campaign -- to hire English Wikipedia insiders and Wikipedia-related code developers as employees or contractors. Prominent ones, as of 2013, included Tim Starling, longtime Wikipedia and Commons administrator Ryan Kaldari, James Forrester, Oliver Keyes, Maryana Pinchuk, Steven Walling, Sage Ross, Peter Coombe, Joseph Seddon, and possible others. The result was a series of software-development and other disasters. When Lila Tretikov took over the WMF in 2014, longtime Wikipedia insiders started to disappear from the payroll.

Excepted from a Feb 2013 email exchange:

"> If you could help by identifying the Wikipedia accounts of any ones I haven't mentioned, in case there are some really evil ones, that would be helpful.
"> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/St ... ?showall=1

"Other than the usual suspects, Andrew "Werdna" Garrett, and Aaron "Voice Of All" Schulz, no one else pops out as insiders."

"It's funny to see Luke Welling in the "platform" section. He is a well-known expert on PHP programming, and wrote a popular book on it. What is he doing on the WMF staff page? Are they going "let's try to hire some famous programmers part-time as contractors, and pretend they "do something" for Wikipedia"? Luke should have Moeller's job. In fact, Moeller should be working UNDER Luke, because I have seen little evidence Moeller actually knows much about coding."

"All these "semi-prominent" coders on the payroll, and still no visual editor?"
From a 2018 email discussion:
From a private email exchange, this is important and needs to be noted.

"Rich people love slavery. The best labor is the exploitable free labor. It still amazes me that WP content writers are willingly generating material and giving it to the WMF. They should be SUING the WMF for support instead. At very least they should be demanding better representation and support."

"That fat English shitlump James Forrester continues to be "Senior Product Manager". [54] A guy with no IT training--but a 14 year history of lying for The Glory Of Jimbo The Holy One.

"Warning: The WMF had a recent major reshuffling of staff. Most of the old-time looney insiders are now gone from the "Staff and Contractors" page. They are slowly being replaced by people with actual real-world IT and nonprofit experience. I made up a list of notorious Friend Of Jimbo types still on the staff: of about 400 employees/contractors, only about 23 remain from the evil pre-2010 era. I suspect Maher and the Board knows they have to clean out the freaks. They just won't admit anything publicly."

"You will note: As of 15 December, James Alexander has disappeared from the main WMF staff page. His WMF userpage is tagged "former employee". [55] Apparently they got rid of him just a few days ago. There was NO PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT. Interesting."

"The remaining "deep insiders" are:"

Joe Seddon
Peter Coombe
Megan Hernandez
James Forrester
Ryan Kaldari
Roan Kattouw
Max Semenik
Leon Ziemba
Tilman Bayer
Brion Vibber
Ed Erhart
Maggie Dennis
Jake Orlowitz
Keegan Peterzell
Sherry Snyder
Karen Brown
Sydney Poore
Brad Jorsch
Tim Starling
Aaron Schulz
Erik Zachte
Aaron Halfaker
Andre Klapper
There is plenty more. Too much to post here.
Last edited by ericbarbour on Thu May 30, 2024 12:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Examples of the WMF interfering in en.wiki?

Post by ericbarbour » Thu May 30, 2024 12:09 am

Remember the "Friendly Space Policy" from 2012?
In January, WMF employees created a "Friendly Space Policy" for their public meetings.[29] It was extremely vague, and as pointed out on WR, "This new "rule" of theirs is a joke. It takes antidiscrimination laws and twists them slightly, specifically for one reason: to keep critics out of their meetings. The vagueness is intentional, I'm sure, so they don't have to actually write down what constitutes "harassment". In all likelihood, if this ever came up in a court of law, I expect it would be struck down for excessive vagueness. It is an obvious attempt to purge critics from their publicly-held open meetings." And "While the Peter Damian angle is tempting, really this is reflective of the fact that a supermajority of Wikipedians have victim complexes. Wikipedia, like many online communities, is a haven for people who are convinced that they are being oppressed for their differences. Some of them are, others are not, but ultimately the truth of the belief doesn't matter; all that matters is that the belief is pervasive." The "Friendly space policy" was started by WMF employee Sumana Harihareswara, and thereafter edited by two of the WMF's most intolerant insiders, Pete Forsyth and Samuel Klein.

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Re: Examples of the WMF interfering in en.wiki?

Post by ericbarbour » Thu May 30, 2024 12:23 am

As of right now, the only real early insiders still on the WMF staff are Tim Starling, Aaron Schulz, Peter Coombe, Ed Erhart, Maryana Pinchuk, Maggie Dennis, Keegan Peterzell, Sherry Snyder, Ed Sanders, Liam Wyatt, Mark Holmquist, Roan Kattouw, Denny Vrandečić, Joe Seddon, Brion/Brooke/etc. Vibber and the ever-unavoidable James Forrester. Any organization that keeps Forrester or Snyder on the staff is BY DEFINITION a dysfunctional organization, no matter how many other purges they undergo and no matter how many competent people they hire instead. And I am NOT convinced the newer employees are all that capable. At the WMF, buttlicking wins and "work" is a joke.

Rebecca MacKinnon is a "special case". She came to the WMF from the Berkman-Klein Center, where she kissed Jimbo-ass and OPENLY edited her own Wikipedia biography. Berkman Klein gets "speshul treatment" on Wikipedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:C ... profittech
Last edited by ericbarbour on Thu May 30, 2024 12:30 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Examples of the WMF interfering in en.wiki?

Post by Philomath » Thu May 30, 2024 12:34 am

Interesting stuff Eric. Thanks.

Are you aware of other instances, besides BLP, where the WMF acted as the "adults in the room" and forced a change of content or a change of PAG, against the wishes of editors?

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