As reported on December 20, the Wikimedia UK non-profit organization was recently granted “charity” status, even though an overview of its constitution says it “has no control over the contents of Wikipedia or any other projects run by the Wikimedia Foundation”, but that it exists to support “the charitable activities of the Wikimedia Foundation”. In other words, its activity and the activity performed by the larger Wikimedia Foundation in San Francisco seem to be largely, if not entirely, redundant. Likewise, there have been grave concerns expressed about the propriety of Wikimedia UK trustee, Ashley Van Haeften, whose photographic self-portrait uploads have been called into question by various British citizens. Van Haeften was invited before a Parliamentary committee to share his perspective on how Wikipedia works, though his bondage photographs — which are as tax-exempt as they are kinky — were not known to the committee at the time.
Today, another Wikimedia UK trustee, Chris Keating, took steps to further suppress an organized inquiry into how the Wikimedia UK attained its official charitable status, when so many questions remain unanswered. British scholar Edward Buckner has for weeks been publicly requesting information from the Wikimedia UK board. He and others want answers to matters concerning the “control and monitoring” of content on Wikipedia, what documentation was provided to the UK Charity Commission, who wrote and delivered the documentation, and in particular what was meant by a Wikimedia UK claim that Wikipedia has “144,000 registered editors, each having responsibility for a watch list of articles”, when nobody at all on Wikipedia has any such “responsibility” for keeping a “watch list” of encyclopedia articles.
This sweeping under the rug of such inquiries has become a standard and repeated practice for trustees of the Wikimedia UK “charity”. At what point will the British taxpayers begin to ask, if this so-called charity gets a complete tax break, why is it hiding answers to simple questions from taxpayers about its provenance? The UK Charity Commission’s tribunal can be contacted here.
Medieval history specialist Edward Buckner was then further threatened with censorship, besmirched with an accusation of defamation, then less than two hours later was ultimately blocked from asking any more questions about Wikimedia UK. Meanwhile, Ashley Van Haeften has shut off the ability to communicate with him via his Wikimedia UK talk page, apparently distressed by the “trolling and soapboxing” responses he has drawn.
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