*Discussion forked from the thread that started with
I believe that this mailing list is run with WMF hardware and software, so
I conclude that this is not a community mailing list any more than
Wikipedia is a community website. They are both under the technical and
legal control of WMF, and WMF can intervene at any time in a variety of
ways, although the copyrights to the content usually are owned by
individual contributors (or their employers) and in that sense the content
but not the technical infrastructure is owned by the community. There are
many social processes where WMF chooses not to intervene, and community
members have developed varied and sometimes sophisticated self-governance
mechanisms, but that does not mean that WMF has permanently gifted control
of its infrastructure to the community or that this is a mailing list that
is not run with WMF money. Maybe a way to think about the issue is that
both WMF and the community share space on this mailing list, with hardware
and technical services belonging to WMF, and content mostly belonging to
individual contributors or to their employers.
I think that WMF resources generally should not be used for advertising
third party services, whether or not they are related to the subject of a
mailing list. I would feel differently if this mailing list was not a WMF
resource that is supported by donations that I think donors intend for the
benefit of Wikipedia and the sister projects.
I am more accepting of an on-wiki list of third party related services,
such as the one that you linked. Also, I don't want to discourage good
faith discussion of third party MediaWiki services, such as if someone asks
for advice regarding which provider to select, but I think that the email
announcement that started this thread is far removed from acceptable uses
for WMF donor funded resources such as this mailing list.
If someone wants to propose a change to the mailing list description, they
can try that. My interpretation of the existing description is that
advertising is not allowed on this list, and I think that is the way that
it should be. On the other hand, I am not sensing much support in this
thread for enforcing my interpretation of policy or my views of appropriate
uses for donor-supported resources, so I won't press this issue further at
this time unless I hear more support for my views.
I am willing to ask WMF Legal for its opinion regarding the use of
Wikimedia Foundation mailing lists for advertising commercial hosting
services, but even if WMF Legal thinks that this is OK in terms of the
letter of the law, I don't think that it's consistent with the intentions
of donors or my understanding of the Wikimedia Foundation brand.
Pine, I hope WMF Legal won't care and won't comment. They likely have
better things to spend time on than telling a community how they may or
may not define the scope of one of the community mailing lists.
As a general reminder,
exists, is linked from the mediawiki.org frontpage, and welcomes edits
(which has already happened in this case).