Fram incident on English Wikipedia

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On June 10, 2019, Fram, a Wikipedia admin, was banned from English Wikipedia by the Wikimedia Foundation for one year. His Administrator status on the English Wikipedia was also removed, according to article writer DannyS712 at The Signpost.[1] The ban was issued by the Trust & Safety Team. This ban started many discussions inside and outside Wikipedia. An article by The Signpost reporter Bri said that one of the several discussions is over 1 MB. Four hundred fifty different users have made edits in that discussion[2]. The article was posted on 30 June 2019.

An article summary on BuzzFeed said that until this incident happened, Wikipedia had been neutral. The authority of what showed up on the encyclopedia publicly was up to the community of editors. The action of The Foundation may change that.[3]

An article in Slate Magazine referred to this incident as a constitutional crisis at Wikipedia. Many people expressed concerns. Fram was very popular with many people. Also, many in the English Wikipedia community thought that the English Wikipedia was in charge of its own website. They saw the ban by The Foundation as meddling in Wikipedia internal affairs.[4]

According to a Breitbart report by T. D. Adler, The Foundation is probably trying to change the toxic culture at Wikipedia. Wikipedia has been criticized for its gender gap. The belief is that there is a connection between incivility and harassment at Wikipedia and its gender gap of its Users.[5]

As a protest, 21 English Wikipedia Admins decided to resign. Others discussed whether Fram should be unbanned by another Admin. Jimbo Wales, a founder of Wikipedia, implored them to wait until The Foundation’s executive director, Katherine Maher, and The Foundation’s Board of Trustees had a chance to address this incident. On June 12, 2019, Admin Floquenbeam (Floq) unblocked Fram. On June 13 The Foundation re-blocked Fram and de-sysoped Floq. Later on June 13 Bishonen (Bish) unblocked Fram again, starting a Wheel Warring incident.

Background[change | change source]

Wikipedia was founded in January of 2001. In 2003, Jimbo Wales handed over control to the Wikimedia Foundation, which was formed as an umbrella group for all Wikipedia and other wiki-projects started by Wales. Wales retained the technical tools that allow him to control content on all wiki-projects.

Traditionally the English Wikipedia policed its own website with the help of admins, users entrusted with a set of software tools that allow them to delete content and ban individuals they consider bad for the project. The Wikipedia Arbitration Committee (ARBCOM) was enacted as a kind of a court of last resort to deal with situations causing public disagreement on English Wikipedia.The Wikimedia foundation had up to this latest incident banned Wikipedians only in rare cases involving child protection, threats of suicide, threats of violence, and legal matters.

The Wikimedia Foundation is now in the same position that corporate social networks such as YouTube and Twitter are in. They are fighting some of the most loyal Wikipedia volunteers who are sometimes involved in a toxic environment. Joseph Bernstein of Buzzfeed News said:

"The Wikimedia Foundation said that it had "leveled the ban to maintain respect and civility on the platform. Uncivil behavior, including harassment, threats, stalking, spamming, or vandalism, is against our Terms of Use, which are applicable to anyone who edits on our projects"' [6]

Timeline[change | change source]

  • 2001, Wikipedia created.
  • 2003, Wikimedia Foundation created.
  • 2016, Katherine Maher becomes executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF)[7]
  • 10 June 2019, Fram de-sysoped and blocked for one year from English Wikipedia by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • 11 June 2019, Universty of Washington (UW) publishes YouTube video talking about the gender gap on Wikipedia[8]
  • 12 June 2019, Admin Floquenbeam (Floq) unblocks Fram.
  • 13 June 2019, Foundation re-blocks Fram and de-sysops Floq.
  • 14 June 2019, Jimbo Wales responds to a request on his talkpage saying: "This is not about individual people, this is a question about our constitutional order. This is not about this specific situation, but a much more important and broader question about project governance."[9]
  • 15 June 2019, Users discuss the universal code of conduct proposed for all Wikimedia Foundation websites.[10]
  • 17 June 2019, User Newyorkbrad tries to organize a community decision to improve the situation.[11]
  • 30, June 2019, the size of one of several discussions on Wikipedia reaches 1 MB with four hundred fifty contributors.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-06-30/News and notes". July 1, 2019 – via Wikipedia.
  2. "Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-06-30/Discussion report". July 1, 2019 – via Wikipedia.
  3. The Culture War Comes For Us All Eventually
  4. Harrison, Stephen (July 2, 2019). "Wikipedia's "Constitutional Crisis" Pits Community Against Foundation".
  6. "Wikipedia Has Been A Safe Haven From The Online Culture Wars. That Time May Be Over". BuzzFeed News.