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Answers is a potential new system of the Wikimedia Foundation to put communities in touch with staff. It is intended to provide a central point where community members who need assistance from the Wikimedia Foundation or who have questions about the Foundation or its activities can reach out and find answers. This system is being unrolled on a trial basis to test its efficiency and usefulness to communities.

How does it work?

Questions and requests sent to answers(at).svgwikimedia.org will be divided according to their nature. Questions of general interest will be combined with similar questions in constructing Wikimedia Foundation – Answers, an "answers" bank published on the Wikimedia Foundation's wiki. Answers to current questions are visible on the main page; answers to older questions will be available through the indexed archives or browsed through the search function. Requests for assistance or questions of more narrow interest will be directed to the appropriate staff member or (when appropriate) volunteer community.

When might matters be directed to the volunteer community?

The Wikimedia Foundation does not control content or create policies on the various projects; it cannot help resolve disputes of that nature or between contributors to the various communities. Those must be dealt with by volunteers. Too, while the Wikimedia Foundation helps support technical aspects of the projects, much of the technological work is done by volunteers, who are the go-to point for reporting bugs and requesting new features. If a matter falls under the scope of the volunteer community, it will be directed to the "volunteer response team", a group of experienced cross-project volunteers who can confidentially assist you or direct you to the resources you need.

Are there "Answers" the Wikimedia Foundation will not provide?

The Wikimedia Foundation strives to operate transparently, but there may be answers that it cannot provide. It cannot answer questions that would violate its privacy policy or its Donor Bill of Rights. Additionally, it will not respond to questions that may jeopardize the Foundation, its mission, or its projects, such as those related to ongoing or pending litigation. Too, because the Wikimedia Foundation operates in support of its projects, there may be questions more appropriately addressed by the communities, and in such cases volunteer members of the community may be invited to assist.

What is the plan for developing this system?

This system is in trial period as we determine its efficiency and usefulness to communities. It is open to everyone, but it may be some time before sufficient translators are available to assist with requests in all languages. While volunteer translators are being acquired, every effort will be made to speedily resolve e-mails that are not in English, but there may be delays. If the trial period determines that the system is useful, volunteers will added to help sort communications quickly.

If I write to "Answers", will my question/request be confidential?

We treat Answers as a Foundation hosted email list and therefore cannot guarantee confidentiality under the Privacy policy.

As a matter of routine, your question/request may be seen by a number of staff members, volunteers, or others (such as Wikimedia Foundation contractors, fellows, etc.)

Volunteers who may routinely access this material would include volunteer e-mail responders as well as translators (if your communication is not in English) and volunteer sorters. There may also be some cases where, among other things, third parties will need to be consulted about your question, and they may receive copies of your correspondence. Also, emails sent to the Answers system may be stored for future access by Wikimedia Foundation staff and others.

While questions/requests may be published in whole or in part or modified in conjunction with other questions/requests for publication at Wikimedia Foundation – Answers, if you so request we will try not to reveal your username and contact information on the Answers page. There may be situations – similar to those enumerated in the Privacy Policy - in which material is released inadvertently or intentionally: Privacy policy#Access to and release of personally identifiable information. Contacts to the Answers system accordingly should not be regarded as confidential.

In using the Answers email system, you are permitting us to store and use your email and all information included therein and to share your e-mail with staff, selected volunteers, and third parties, including independent contractors of the Wikimedia Foundation. You agree to release your submission into the public domain and therefore allow us to use, transfer, and post your submission freely and without further permission.

How soon will I get an Answer?

It depends, really, on how complicated your question is. Some Answers are easy; others may require several conversations involving multiple staff members. Questions deferred to the volunteer response team may be answered in as much as a few days or as many as a few weeks, depending on how many of the volunteers are active and (again) how complex the question.

What you can expect is a quick acknowledgement of your question and an indication of where it will be directed. This you should receive within a few days.