WMF to community: obey the Code

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Renée Bagslint
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WMF to community: obey the Code

Post by Renée Bagslint » Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:28 pm

The Wikimedia Foundation has issued a directive to the community that the Code of Conduct has the "unequivocal support" of the Foundation directorate and that the community are to submit with further delay.

What's that all about, then? Well, the Code of Conduct has a long history, but this particular storm started with a posting by MZMcBride on the wikitech-l mailing list, asking why his Phabricator account has been blocked. It provoked a splendid sequence of postings, in which it transpired that MZMcB had been blocked for responding "What the fuck" when Gregory Varnum closed a Phab task reporting a bug in the new website. It then turned out that MZMcB's crime was not just that, but a whole history of criticising WMF employees, dating back several years. He was horrid, absolutely horrid. He expected people to do their jobs, produce code that worked, and when they didn't he actually said so. Just plain horrid. Of course he deserved to be blocked, otherwise no staff member could feel safe.

So after this public discussion on a mailing list itself explicitly within the scope of the COC, let's look at what it says: "Reports are processed confidentially" -- "Committee members and anyone else joining the Committee's deliberations on a case may not disclose private information, except when required by procedures of the Code of Conduct or the Law." -- "Confidential information (including their identity) about a reporter, target of unacceptable behavior, or witness will not be revealed during an investigation" and so on. So this public discussion including two members of the COC Committee, is in itself a flagrant breach of the COC.

And members of staff bad-mouthing a volunteer -- one staffer actually equated him to the Eye of Sauron -- is also a flagrant breach of the "Offensive, derogatory, or discriminatory comments." clause. Were they disciplined? Of course not.

But hey: a volunteer said a rude word to a member of staff. Scum like that deserves everything they get.

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Auggie
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Re: WMF to community: obey the Code

Post by Auggie » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:27 am

Sounds about right. Star chamber decides they don't like you, responds with summary block. No confronting your accusers. No chance to explain.

This is how the world works now. Trolls have gotten so good, no one wants to deal with it anymore. Any individual who causes trouble can be sacked without warning. We are all expendable.

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The Joy
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Re: WMF to community: obey the Code

Post by The Joy » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:49 am

Well, I read that long mailing list thread about MZMcBride. And as always, I saw the following categories of comments:

"This is terrible! The blocker(s) should be punished!"
"This is terrible! The complainer(s) should be punished!"
"This is terrible! We should get back to making the world a happier place by getting back to our wiki projects!"
"This is terrible! WTH is going on? Seriously, I have no idea WTH is going on!"
"This is terrible! Americans are evil and don't know how to act politely. We Non-Americans are cheese-eating surrender monkeys and we can't stand confrontation and minor swearing! Save us, WMF!"

The next time this happens, I expect the same routine.

Is there anything else I missed?
"In the long run, volunteers are the most expensive workers you'll ever have." -Red Green

"Really, what we want now, is not laws against crime, but a law against insanity. That is where the true evil lies." -Mark Twain

Renée Bagslint
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Re: WMF to community: obey the Code

Post by Renée Bagslint » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:32 pm

I think Foundation stooping down to Earth to say "You WILL respect my authoritah!" is a new development.

Renée Bagslint
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Re: WMF to community: obey the Code

Post by Renée Bagslint » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:58 pm

Incidentally, is it just me, or does this posting from Victoria Coleman read strangely? For someone born in Greece and educated in England, it reads like the purest Californian. Is it possible someone else posted it over her signature?
Last edited by Renée Bagslint on Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Renée Bagslint
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Re: WMF to community: obey the Code

Post by Renée Bagslint » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:17 pm

This is such a rich seam that new nuggets appear every time I read it. Brion Vibber, a Lead Software Architect, posts
A WMF staff member wrote:But again I have to stress that this is not a hobby project, this is a working environment for dozens of people building and maintaining the software that the Wikimedia community has entrusted them with.

That's not to say volunteers aren't welcome: rather, that's to say that volunteers are expected to behave themselves just as we are when they choose to work alongside us.
Actually, Brion, that is exactly to say that volunteers aren't welcome -- unless of course they understand fully their second-class citizen status. Perhaps you hadn't ralised that the dozens of people you mention include volunteers and staff together -- at least, according to your employer's blurb
The WMF wrote:Community volunteers and Foundation technologists collaborate on MediaWiki, the platform that makes sharing free knowledge possible.
Or are you telling us that your employers are lying?

Renée Bagslint
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Re: WMF to community: obey the Code

Post by Renée Bagslint » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:08 pm

Another thread in which the WMF explain to volunteers that they are not invited to meetings at which the great and the good will decide their strategy for them. "Organized groups" in this context is code for "no riff-raff".

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Pudeo
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Re: WMF to community: obey the Code

Post by Pudeo » Sat Sep 29, 2018 1:34 pm

Oh, so this the same Contributor Covenant code of conduct by Coraline Ada Ehmke which made somewhat of a controversy in the Linux community. A day after it was implemented they wanted to get rid of a Linux kernel developer because he's a "rape apologist".

Reddit's r/linux threads: https://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments ... loper_theo
https://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments ... ce_of_shit

Interesting.

Renée Bagslint
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Re: WMF to community: obey the Code

Post by Renée Bagslint » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:10 pm

Pudeo wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 1:34 pm
Oh, so this the same Contributor Covenant code of conduct by Coraline Ada Ehmke which made somewhat of a controversy in the Linux community.
No, it's not the same -- this was the result of an interminable discussion here (see archived pages).

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