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Mysterious ban, admin resignations, Wikimedia Thailand rising

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By DannyS712

Mysterious Wikimedia Foundation ban of English Wikipedia administrator

In an official action on 10 June 2019, the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) through the special role account User:WMFOffice revoked the administrator rights of English Wikipedia administrator Fram, saying "This user has been banned by the Wikimedia Foundation from editing the English Wikipedia for a period of 1 year, consistent with the Terms of Use. Please address any questions to ca@wikimedia.org."[1] At the same time, the WMF blocked Fram for 1 year (including blocking account creation and disabling email and talk page access) with the same summary.[2] This ban was significant for being the first of its kind, outside the usual Wikipedia system of justice, and for various odd other circumstances which the Wikimedia community is currently discussing to all ends. More than 400 commentators have posted at WP:FRAM (Wikipedia:Community response to the Wikimedia Foundation's ban of Fram), and so far the responses have resulted in Fram being unblocked, reblocked, and unblocked again, as well as having their administrator rights restored and then revoked again. More extensive coverage of the incident, the community's response, and the related arbitration requests are in this issue's Discussion report.

References

Admin/crat/functionary changes

If resignations continue, Wikipedia mascot Wikipe-tan will be the only remaining administrator.

In response to the WMF's ban of Fram, in protest to the responses of others, and for other reasons, a record number of administrators, bureaucrats, and functionaries have resigned in the last few weeks. As of 20:05, 30 June 2019 (UTC), the following administrators have resigned:

  1. 28bytes (also resigned as a bureaucrat)
  2. Ad Orientem
  3. Ansh666
  4. Beeblebrox (also resigned as a checkuser and oversighter)
  5. Boing! said Zebedee
  6. BU Rob13 (also resigned as a checkuser and oversighter)
  7. Dennis Brown
  8. Deor
  9. DoRD (also resigned as a checkuser and oversighter)
  10. Floquenbeam
  11. Gadfium
  12. GB fan (also resigned as an oversighter)
  13. Jonathunder
  14. Kusma
  15. Lectonar
  16. MSGJ (also resigned as an interface administrator)
  17. Nick
  18. Spartaz
  19. TheDJ (also resigned as an interface administrator)
  20. WJBscribe (also resigned as a bureaucrat)

Many of these users also published personal statements on their user talk pages explaining their actions.

Furthermore, Flyguy649, Moink, and Syrthiss were desysopped for inactivity, and Od Mishehu and Rama were desysopped by the Arbitration committee.

English Wikipedia currently has 1,146 administrators. The Signpost routinely reports the coming and going of administrators and community discussions related to the institution. English Wikipedia itself has an article on Wikipedia administrators. The decline of the number of administrators sometimes inspires predictions of the end of Wikipedia among both Wikimedia community members and mainstream media sources as documented in that Wikipedia article. In general, the Wikipedia community expresses gratitude to get even a single new administrator and remarks on the departure of every individual who leaves the role.

Wikimedia Thailand becomes chapter, will host Wikimania 2020

Wikimedia Thailand has membership around the country, but Wikimania 2020 will be in the capital Bangkok.

Wikimedia Thailand became a Wikimedia chapter on 14 June 2019 through a resolution by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees and on the recommendation of the Affiliations Committee. Previously the organization was designated as a Wikimedia User Group in the system of Wikimedia Movement Affiliates. In that scheme, groups of 10 people can register a user group, and if their organization grows in participation, administration, and impact, then it may commit to additional responsibility and become a chapter in recognition of Wikimedia community trust and as a prerequisite for access to greater funding.

The difference between a chapter and a usergroup is not entirely documented. In general, user groups have smaller membership, make few reporting commitments, and receive little or no organization funding from the Wikimedia Foundation Grants program. In contrast, chapters demonstrate stability in administration and reporting and usually seek funding through either the Funds Dissemination Committee's Annual Plan Grant process or the Simple Annual Plan Grant process.

The last time a Wikimedia user group became a chapter was in April 2019 when Wikimedia Korea got recognition. Before that, Wikimedia Belgium became a chapter by an October 2014 resolution.

The promotion of Wikimedia Thailand is part of a plan for Wikimedia development in the region, including Thailand hosting the 2020 Wikimania conference. Available information on Thailand at this conference is at meta:Talk:Wikimania 2020. Thailand seems to have not published a Wikimania proposal and perhaps the Wikimania Foundation is assisting in the organization of the event. Organizations which made proposals or bids in the public process were Armenia, Perth, and Indonesia.

Brief notes

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Fram

I support the abolition of the WMF. The WMF, however, cannot abolish us. Perhaps those caffè macchiatos enjoyed from the plush WMF offices convinced the occupants that Wikipedia content is magically created and WMF simply needs to find better ways to generate income. For some reason bitter internet seem unhappy with their enlightened masters. I guess the WMF just needs to order out for lunch and the problem will go away. Chris Troutman (talk) 16:53, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well yes, but the loss of many experienced admins is serious and urgently needs to be halted (and if possible reversed). Chiswick Chap (talk) 18:26, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Chris troutman, while I agree with your general sentiment, the WMF are no longer in their big shiny office at 149 Montgomery Street, and the new, downsized, WMF offices look anything but plush. "Grim" would probably be a better word. ‑ Iridescent 18:30, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not sure I'd describe their offices as "grim". I notice that whatever hack of an interior architect designed the workarea settled on the open plan model, which is all the fashionable rage at the moment for offices everywhere, yet countless studies have shown this model severely cripples productivity. In a way, this is a good metaphor for the Foundation. -- llywrch (talk) 22:24, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article is suggesting people resigned because they didn't agree with the T&S action. I saw at least one sysop stepping aside because they do not support actions that undermine the work of the T&S team. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 18:56, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is that not covered by in protest to the responses of others? ‑ Iridescent 19:04, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Ad Huikeshoven: That was exactly what I meant by in protest to the responses of others, and for other reasons --DannyS712 (talk) 19:15, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@DannyS712: Thanks for clarifying that. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 21:18, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No need for abolition of the WMF, a fork would be enough. The WMF would go one way (hopefully taking their Visual Editor with them), the humble drudges who actually do the work would go the other. Maproom (talk) 12:00, 6 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thailand

Last time I was at a Wiki-event in Bangkok, we had roadblocks, demonstrations, sit-ins, occupation of government buildings and an ever-rising level of insanity. You had to go everywhere on foot because the roads were sealed off. I hope things have calmed down since then. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 03:33, 1 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hawkeye7, I would be curious to know what that event was. I've lived in Thailand for almost 20 years now, been a Wikipedian for about 14, and an admin for nearly 9. I enjoy an excellent, safe, modern, and inexpensive lifestyle here - please don't make comments that have absolutely no bearing on today's Thailand. Instead, compare the current chaos in Hong Kong where incidentally I attended a very disorganised Wikimania in 2013. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 19:56, 1 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It was the 2013 Asia-Oceania Wheelchair Basketball Championships. You're quite right about there being chaos in Hong Kong at the moment, although I don't remember Wikimania 2013 being disorganised. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 20:10, 1 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps you weren't there Hawkeye7. The venue was good, the tracks were fine, the accommodation was OK, but the logistics were catastrophic (those of us who arrived by planes at midday weren't able to access the accommodation until nearly midnight after being shunted around in a group from one huge subway station to another for hours on end. The peripheral events were a disaster, the midday food was food was fine (if you got some) but wasn't enough to go round and by the time the 100m line had been served there was nothing left and the afternoon sessions had already started. There was no chance of getting an evening meal anywhere if you were in the provided accommodation, and there was only food for the privileged invitees and WMF at the official welcoming function. The closing beach party at which most of the attendees spent 2 hours standing in line for the food t& drink tent where there was also no food or drink by the time they got there, and it was time to get back on the bus to return to town. Some of The WMF staff on their regular privileged junket were rude to the volunteers and I wish I hadn't bothered going and saved my money. I have been to dozens of international conferences in my time, and organised some of them. This was my worst experience, although Esino Lario was also pretty chaotic but truly excellent food and accomodation. - alone worth going for! If I have anything to do with it (and I don't know if I will be asked), the Bangkok event will run much smoother. At least I live here. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 20:49, 1 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Kudpung, you know I was there because you spoke to me. (In Esino Lario too.) Hope it all goes well. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 20:56, 1 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually, the main difference between a chapter and a user group is that a chapter is required to be a legal entity in its own right and is therefore subject to both local company laws in the places they operate in and bilateral agreements with WMF; while a user group does not need to have legal status and function under the auspices of WMF directly where a legal person is required. Deryck C. 16:24, 5 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]




       

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