Proposal:Suspending the private mailing list

This page is a proposal being developed by our members.  The proposal was moved by John Vandenberg and seconded by Lankiveil. If you are not a member of the organisation, you may request an account on this wiki using special:RequestAccount, and discuss this proposal on the discussion page.

This proposal is to suspend the private members mailing list, discuss the cost/benefit of it on our public wiki, and put in place policies for its use before it is re-enabled.


As in many countries, the Wikimedia community in Australia has had a public mailing list since before the chapter existed. When the chapter was created, a private "members" mailing list was established for discussion between members only, and an "announce" list was established however it has not been used.

In the weeks between nomination of candidates for the committee of management and the AGM, the Wikimedia Australia private mailing list was used in ways that are not beneficial to the organisation. Specifically, accusations of impropriety and illegality have been made privately without evidence.

One member asked to be removed from the private list during this period, presumably due to the inappropriateness of the content of the list traffic. This was done by Adam Jenkins.

Even after the AGM, the accusations continue, and the people involved have continued to niggle at each other on the private mailing list.

We do not have policies or guidelines that help with the management and moderation of the private "members" mailing list.

The Rules leave a lot to be desired in the way of dealing with problems that arise from differences in opinion on how the private "members" mailing list should be used.

Similar accusations have also been made publicly, however these are on the public record and are able to be assessed by peers in the broader community on the merits of the statements made, and answers made in public.

Private discussion allows people to avoid public scrutiny of their statements, which is not in accord with the Wikimedia Australia Values. These issues should have been framed as questions in public, and the answers should have been public.

Over the years many members have lamented the lack of activity on the public wiki and on the public mailing list. It is hoped that by suspending the private mailing list, more members will become active on the public wiki and the public mailing list will again become our primary communication tool.

Interim solution

While the private members mailing list is suspended, the following measures will be taken to limit the adverse effects of suspending the private members mailing list

  • the committee should encourage existing and new members to join the public mailing list, and to create a wiki account.
  • a public announce list and a private announce list will be set up and used by the committee to inform members of important information at its discretion.
    • Requests to send an email to the public announce list will be made on the wiki.
    • Requests to send an email to the private announce list will be made by email to
  • a weekly digest of important activity will be sent to the public announce list, including links to ongoing discussions relating to this proposal.

Re-enabling the list

The community are requested to discuss the members mailing list in public (e.g. at Billabong), develop a list of costs and benefits, and develop policies and guidelines that address the problems we have seen previously.

For example, if one of the benefits of the private mailing list is the ability for members to inform other members about a conflict of interest, a conflict of interest policy is needed so that there is agreement on if & when private disclosure is appropriate.

After the committee believes there is consensus that the necessary policies and guidelines are in place, re-enabling the mailing list will be placed on the agenda of a public IRC meeting, and then placed on the agenda of the following committee meeting.

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