Launching the Wikimedia Public Policy site

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Imagine a world where everyone can freely access, share, create, and remix knowledge. “Spock Monroe” by Ludovic Bertron, freely licensed under CC-by-2.0.
The Wikimedia Foundation is excited to introduce the new Wikimedia Public Policy site. Public policy is vital for a world where everyone can freely access, share, create, and remix knowledge. The new site presents five policy areas that are most important for our mission and projects: access, censorship, copyright, intermediary protection, and privacy. Wikimedians can take action to support public policies to expand free knowledge. With the right laws, policies, and principles, free knowledge will be easier to collaboratively create, share, and remix.
This site is another important step toward protecting Wikimedians from censorship or reprisal due to sharing free knowledge, problems we have faced before. In 2011, the Italian parliament considered a law limiting free speech. The Wikipedia community took action to oppose it. For three days, Italian Wikipedia showed a message explaining how this proposal could endanger free knowledge. In 2012, the Wikipedia community came together to blackout the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours in opposition to SOPA. That same year, the Russian Duma passed legislation that promoted censorship of sites the government found inappropriate, so the Russian Wikipedia went black to bring attention to free speech concerns. More recently, the Russian Wikipedia responded to threats of censorship with a steadfast commitment to delivering neutral, reliable information. The public policy site is a place to coordinate new types of policy actions to support our mission without interfering with sharing of knowledge on Wikipedia.
This year, Wikimedians advocated together to preserve the freedom of panorama so Wikimedians can upload outdoor images without fearing unfair legal suits. And on Meta-Wiki, the community has worked hard to build a consensus on how governments’ actions affect our values. Furthering these same goals, the new site gives the Wikimedia community a greater voice in public policy.
We invite you to learn about Wikimedia’s public policy positions at this site and join the policy discussion list. The material on the site will be maintained as a living document, and edits are welcome on this wiki version.
Yana Welinder, Legal Director
Stephen LaPorte, Legal Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation

Special thanks to Mule Design and Heather Walls for their work on the policy site and the rest of the Legal and Communications teams for their help with this project.

Archive notice: This is an archived post from, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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“More recently, the Russian Wikipedia responded to threats of censorship with a steadfast commitment to delivering neutral, reliable information.” More recently, Russian Wikimedia responded to threats of censorship with approval of the annexation of Crimea, initiating a dispute between Wikimedia chapters which WMF is hoping will go away by itself, without any need of intermediation, if we close our eyes and wish very hard. Unfortunately, if we consider that Wikimedia movement is expanding fast in Global South then we are bound to see more conflicts between the countries with WM chapters, carrying over into WM projects (just compare articles about… Read more »

What, if anything, are you doing about online harassment, especially that directed against women and minority groups? Harassment affects contributors to Wikimedia projects, and yet you’ve given the harassers what they wanted.

@andrewjgrimm – The Community Advocacy department at the Foundation is leading several efforts to confront harassment on Wikimedia sites. We’ve formed working groups with interested volunteers to explore solutions, and are examining research on how other communities are confronting these issues. We take these problems very seriously, and will be proposing changes, presenting new resources, and fostering discussions on harassment in the coming months.

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