Re: [Wikimedia-l] Free Basics

2016-01-02 Thread Bodhisattwa Mandal
Hi,

I just got the link of the official statement of WMF regarding internet.org.

https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Zero/Development#Regarding_Internet.org

Regards,
Bodhisattwa
On 2 Jan 2016 05:01, "Kim Bruning"  wrote:

> Hi Milos,
> Happy new year to you!
>
> I thought your mail to the list was very thoughtful.
> I've replied inline below.
>
> On Fri, Jan 01, 2016 at 06:50:16AM +0100, Milos Rancic wrote:
> > I don't think the pure form of net-neutrality is sustainable. Many
> > businesses already have deals with other businesses to provide
> > something for free or "for free" or for reduced price via their
> > infrastructure.
>
> Hmm, this example has little to do with net neutrality as I understand
> it though.
>
> Net neutrality means that you pay your ISP to allow you to send and
> receive packets to/from anyone without discrimination to source or
> destination. (In other words you're paying for actual internet access
> without let or hindrance).
>
> Previously this is how the market worked.
>
> Without going into details here, many sources tell us that the
> market is now threatening to shift towards a winner-takes-all walled
> garden model. (if not already there)
>
> It's going to be a challenge to keep open source and open content
> operating and relevant in such an increasingly hostile environment this
> coming decade.
>
> > Neither I think the initiative will really create a permanent
> > underclass. People in underdeveloped regions will eventually become
> > richer and they won't need this kind of service.
>
> We can ask them whether they want to continue having such a service at
> any time. Or we can set some participation threshold above which we
> would accept a petition to stop. (It is always wise to have
> pre-prepared go/no-go safety checks at particular points in time)
>
> > * Finally, we belong to the movement which promotes net neutrality as
> > one of the core values. No matter how realistic it is, we should
> > support it. Wikipedia Zero is not net-neutral, but Wikimedia projects
> > are of such significance that it could be tolerated. Going further
> > into abandoning that principle would create definite divide between us
> > and the rest of our global super-movement.
>
> *Nod* We have to beware of fouling our own nest. Even though Wikipedia
> zero appears to help our own cause now, we need to be careful we don't
> hurt the people we depend on in turn.
>
> People such as the open source community and internet standards
> organisations might prove quite sensitive to changing Internet rules.
> We should put our ears to the ground and listen carefully to what
> representatives of these groups may be saying to us.
>
> sincerely,
> Kim Bruning
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread George Herbert

Could we stop catastrophizing the situation to the extent of open discussion of 
project forks, boycotts, etc?

Even if the board of trustees does turn out to have made a horrible mistake, 
there are many steps to remedy that short of ending the world.

So far the best description I can think of is that we have a bunch of people 
who were there struggling to describe the situation without breaching duty to 
the organization or resorting to attacks, the information release results of 
which so far are unsatisfying to concerned external parties such as most of us.

It's responsible to reiterate that we (the community) do need real answers to 
some of these questions, and that existing answers were unsatisfactory.  
Further work is needed.  Delays are not confidence building, but obviously 
these are complicated issues to untangle.  I for one would appreciate the board 
being more explicit.

This ultimately comes down to trust in people and the Board.  Without 
information trust ebbs.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Jan 2, 2016, at 12:37 AM, "Peter Southwood"  
> wrote:
> 
> Just as you say.
> No threat to WMF if they don’t care about retaining the editing community.
> If all else fails thy could just sell advertising
> Cheers,
> Peter
> 
> -Original Message-
> From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:wikimedia-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org] On Behalf 
> Of Tim Landscheidt
> Sent: Saturday, 02 January 2016 8:16 AM
> To: wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board
> 
> "Peter Southwood"  wrote:
> 
>> I agree.
>> The situation may well be metastable, in that the WMF may get away 
>> with alienating the crowd for a long time, until it reaches a tipping 
>> point, when the reaction becomes catastrophic and non-reversible. At 
>> which point there will be a large number of people who will say they 
>> told them so, but it may well be too late to reassemble the debris. 
>> Something will survive , but maybe not Wikipedia as we know it. How 
>> far we are from the tipping point is anybody's guess. At present the 
>> vast majority of the crowd are probably totally unaware of the 
>> problems, but I personally would not bet the survival of Wikipedia 
>> against them staying and continuing to produce for free if there was a 
>> major walkout by the volunteers who currently keep the show on the 
>> road. Will the level of donations remain viable if the general public 
>> witnesses a meltdown? Would you bet on it?
>> […]
> 
> That is irrelevant for threatening WMF.  If at some point in time WMF would 
> no longer raise enough funds, its staff would just have to pick new jobs 
> somewhere else (just like all other employees do in a similar situation).  
> Working at WMF probably has some amenities, but noone bases their decisions 
> on fears that as an effect their contract might be termi- nated in ten or 
> twenty years.  Even less so do trustees plan that they can replace their 
> summer holiday with a trip to Wikimania till eternity.
> 
> And it's also irrelevant for writing an online encyclopedia.
> You don't need the current level of funding as only a frac- tion actually 
> goes to expenditures necessary for /that/, and if you have viewers, you will 
> have (more than sufficient) donations.
> 
> So while a reaction may be "catastrophic and non-re- versible", if the 
> possible effect is a minor nuisance at worst, then it cannot be a motivating 
> factor.
> 
> Tim
> 
> 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread
There are helpful remedies to restore community confidence:

1. Hold an early election.
  To fill the community elected seat that James has now been forced to
vacate. This would even allow James to re-run.

2. Leave James' seat empty until the next planned election.
  Though the seat *can* be appointed, this is literally allowing an
unelected group of trustees to go through a list of volunteer
candidates and rejecting those that might not like the non-transparent
behaviour of the current board until they find one that will say yes
to whatever they want. This is the *opposite* of why the community
elected seats exist.

3. Commission and publish a detailed independent governance assessment
of this incident and the issues it starkly highlighted.
  Including the assertions published on Wikipedia by Jimmy Wales to
James' detriment. Preferably one that can conclude within a couple of
months and costs less than $40k. Though my experience at the centre of
one of these in the past is that this is unlikely to do much to repair
community confidence by itself, but might help push the current board
to have a majority of elected seats and ensure that the majority -
that have had many years at the top of the hierarchy of our movement
without being accountable in an election - avoid being seen as having
sinecure positions of power that have the unfortunate power to club
together to vote out the elected they feel are creating waves.

4. Jimmy Wales can offer to turn his special 'founder's seat' into an
elected seat. Though not a majority, this means that the elected seats
would have significantly more authority. No doubt Jimmy will always
have a special place on the WMF board as an adviser, but he does not
*have* to take the burden of being a voting trustee, and there is no
harm in him running for election if he wishes to.

Fae
-- 
fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae

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[Wikimedia-l] Annual report for Cascadia Wikimedians User Group

2016-01-02 Thread Pine W
(Forwarding from the announcements list, which apparently having issues
again with automatic forwards to Wikimedia-l)

Dear colleagues,

The annual report for Cascadia Wikimedians User Group is available on
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cascadia_Wikimedians/4Q_2014_and_CY_2015_report

The information there includes our activities report, balance sheet, and
income statement.

This information includes our activities in the latter portions of 2014,
after our recognition from the Affiliations Committee but before we had a
bank account.

Please also note that we held our first post-formation board elections. The
new board and officer assignments are below:

3 year terms (January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2018)
* Peaceray (continuing from 2015 board)
* Benjamin Mako Hill (continuing from 2015 board)
* Pine (continuing from 2015 board)

2 year terms (January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2017)
* SounderBruce (new to the board for 2016)
* Jmabel (new to the board for 2016)
* Brianhe (continuing from 2015 board)

Board appointment to fill a vacant seat; 1 year term (January 1, 2016
through December 31, 2016)
* Another Believer (continuing from 2015 board)

We have 2 remaining open seats on our board that may be appointed by the
other board members, or may be filled during the next regular election.

Officer appointments:
*President: Peaceray (continuing from 2015)
*Vice President: Benjamin Mako Hill (continuing from 2015)
*Secretary: Pine (interim appointment, concurrent with role as Executive
Director)
*Treasurer: Brianhe (continuing from 2015)

I am available via email or my talk page for questions.

Happy new year,

Pine
Executive Director and Interim Secretary
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Peter Southwood
Just as you say.
No threat to WMF if they don’t care about retaining the editing community.
If all else fails thy could just sell advertising
Cheers,
Peter

-Original Message-
From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:wikimedia-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org] On Behalf Of 
Tim Landscheidt
Sent: Saturday, 02 January 2016 8:16 AM
To: wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

"Peter Southwood"  wrote:

> I agree.
> The situation may well be metastable, in that the WMF may get away 
> with alienating the crowd for a long time, until it reaches a tipping 
> point, when the reaction becomes catastrophic and non-reversible. At 
> which point there will be a large number of people who will say they 
> told them so, but it may well be too late to reassemble the debris. 
> Something will survive , but maybe not Wikipedia as we know it. How 
> far we are from the tipping point is anybody's guess. At present the 
> vast majority of the crowd are probably totally unaware of the 
> problems, but I personally would not bet the survival of Wikipedia 
> against them staying and continuing to produce for free if there was a 
> major walkout by the volunteers who currently keep the show on the 
> road. Will the level of donations remain viable if the general public 
> witnesses a meltdown? Would you bet on it?
> […]

That is irrelevant for threatening WMF.  If at some point in time WMF would no 
longer raise enough funds, its staff would just have to pick new jobs somewhere 
else (just like all other employees do in a similar situation).  Working at WMF 
probably has some amenities, but noone bases their decisions on fears that as 
an effect their contract might be termi- nated in ten or twenty years.  Even 
less so do trustees plan that they can replace their summer holiday with a trip 
to Wikimania till eternity.

And it's also irrelevant for writing an online encyclopedia.
You don't need the current level of funding as only a frac- tion actually goes 
to expenditures necessary for /that/, and if you have viewers, you will have 
(more than sufficient) donations.

So while a reaction may be "catastrophic and non-re- versible", if the possible 
effect is a minor nuisance at worst, then it cannot be a motivating factor.

Tim


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Anders Wennersten



Den 2016-01-02 kl. 10:44, skrev Yaroslav M. Blanter:


This is an interesting theoretical discussion, and I criticized WMF in 
the past on a number of occasions, but I feel necessary to emphasize 
that there is not a slightest indication at this time that they do not 
care about retaining the community. At most, we have indications that 
they did not handle some issues in sub-optimal way. The probability 
that Wikipedia and sister projects will collapse in say ten years 
because some novel technical means become available and we do not 
manage to respond properly is in my opinion a billion times higher 
than that we will collapse because BoT or WMF staff function 
sub-optimally in their daily communications with the community. Let us 
discuss real things and not what happens if Martians come to enslave us.


Cheers
Yaroslav



I agree and I also think we should not over dramatize that someone is at 
odds with a group and leave the group (by resignation or by forced leaving).


I have myself been part of numerous groups in my life, probably several 
hundreds, and have left in being at odds with the group/employer almost 
a dozen times. A very few times by being sacked or ousted and mostly 
with me resigning, but then feeling I have had very sound reasons for 
taking my position making me becoming at odds with the rest.


But in no case after the resignation has been a fact, have I continued 
to dwell publicly over it. A fact is a fact and it is better to go on 
with life for all parties (and it is enough my loyal wife has had to 
hear "my side of it") .


In this case I know first hand a majority of the Board and I know them 
to be true to the values and belief of the movement, and as individuals  
being caring, and the opposite to my  most hated disliked personality, 
power hungry persons without empathy.


Anders












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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Free Basics

2016-01-02 Thread Milos Rancic
Thanks! I see it's from November. Somebody could point earlier to this and
spare us u couple of emails of this month quota :P
On Jan 2, 2016 09:20, "Bodhisattwa Mandal" 
wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I just got the link of the official statement of WMF regarding
> internet.org.
>
>
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Zero/Development#Regarding_Internet.org
>
> Regards,
> Bodhisattwa
> On 2 Jan 2016 05:01, "Kim Bruning"  wrote:
>
> > Hi Milos,
> > Happy new year to you!
> >
> > I thought your mail to the list was very thoughtful.
> > I've replied inline below.
> >
> > On Fri, Jan 01, 2016 at 06:50:16AM +0100, Milos Rancic wrote:
> > > I don't think the pure form of net-neutrality is sustainable. Many
> > > businesses already have deals with other businesses to provide
> > > something for free or "for free" or for reduced price via their
> > > infrastructure.
> >
> > Hmm, this example has little to do with net neutrality as I understand
> > it though.
> >
> > Net neutrality means that you pay your ISP to allow you to send and
> > receive packets to/from anyone without discrimination to source or
> > destination. (In other words you're paying for actual internet access
> > without let or hindrance).
> >
> > Previously this is how the market worked.
> >
> > Without going into details here, many sources tell us that the
> > market is now threatening to shift towards a winner-takes-all walled
> > garden model. (if not already there)
> >
> > It's going to be a challenge to keep open source and open content
> > operating and relevant in such an increasingly hostile environment this
> > coming decade.
> >
> > > Neither I think the initiative will really create a permanent
> > > underclass. People in underdeveloped regions will eventually become
> > > richer and they won't need this kind of service.
> >
> > We can ask them whether they want to continue having such a service at
> > any time. Or we can set some participation threshold above which we
> > would accept a petition to stop. (It is always wise to have
> > pre-prepared go/no-go safety checks at particular points in time)
> >
> > > * Finally, we belong to the movement which promotes net neutrality as
> > > one of the core values. No matter how realistic it is, we should
> > > support it. Wikipedia Zero is not net-neutral, but Wikimedia projects
> > > are of such significance that it could be tolerated. Going further
> > > into abandoning that principle would create definite divide between us
> > > and the rest of our global super-movement.
> >
> > *Nod* We have to beware of fouling our own nest. Even though Wikipedia
> > zero appears to help our own cause now, we need to be careful we don't
> > hurt the people we depend on in turn.
> >
> > People such as the open source community and internet standards
> > organisations might prove quite sensitive to changing Internet rules.
> > We should put our ears to the ground and listen carefully to what
> > representatives of these groups may be saying to us.
> >
> > sincerely,
> > Kim Bruning
> >
> > ___
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> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Andy Mabbett
On 2 January 2016 at 10:41, Tomasz Ganicz  wrote:

> The Baylaws call them " Community-selected Trustees" - not elected (sec. 3c
> of art. IV) .

But - as I pointed out earlier - the language used in public-and
community facing communications refers to "elections"; and - as I also
pointed out - this should be changed to correct the false impression
that is being given..

-- 
Andy Mabbett
@pigsonthewing
http://pigsonthewing.org.uk

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Dariusz Jemielniak
Hi there,

I wanted to send a note to all of you, that shares my perspective on the
recent Board decision. These are my own thoughts, as a community-selected
Board member who voted in the minority for the recent resolution. However,
I also want to be clear that I support the outcome and the majority
decision, and look forward to a new community Trustee. I hope that, even
though you may continue to have questions, you will too.

From my own perspective, the issue of "trust" had nothing to do with James’
personal integrity. The Board however must ensure that members follow their
duties and obligations in their roles as Trustees. My personal (not
organizational) trust in James is 100%, in the sense that I would buy a car
from him, and leave him the keys to my house without hesitation. James is
an exceptional individual and an amazing Wikipedian. I feel privileged to
know him.

Yet, when governance is involved, things work out a bit differently. I can
explain to you how I understand the results of the vote. I myself
considered voting in favor of the resolution. I also believe that others
reasonably considered their vote. James himself recognized his errors and
admitted that he made mistakes and stepped out of process for a Board
member. Our collective decision was carefully thought through. I also
understand well the reasons of many Board members who voted as they did.

I do want to comment on one point very important to me: This decision does
not signal a shift on the Board’s attitude towards community
representation, and does not alter our commitment to an active role for the
community representatives on the Board. I also want to be clear that the
Board decision was not based on a difference of opinion about direction or
strategy.

At this stage, I think we basically need to move on. The Board is committed
to community-nominated membership, and we are actively working with the
most recent Election Committee on a plan to fill the open
community-selected seat . We expect James to stay in the movement and
continue to do the amazing things he is well known for. Until recently, I
was also a member of the community, watching the Board’s decisions. I
understand the desire to have more details. At the same time, I genuinely
ask for you to assume good faith from the Board.

I do, however, agree that the Foundation and the Board can be better at
communicating, and be more open. While we're not there yet, I am optimistic
about the direction of the change, and I know that 2016 will bring more
open community discussions around both strategy and our annual planning in
consultation with the movement.

I join my colleagues in wishing my friend, James, the absolute best in his
next ventures. I am excited that he plans to remain an active member of our
movement, and I look forward to seeing him on-wiki and at community
gatherings.

Best,

Dariusz a.k.a. pundit
02.01.2016 6:44 AM "Kevin Gorman"  napisał(a):

> Hi all -
>
> Just to be clear, none of my previous posts were meant to suggest that the
> sky was falling - just that from the information that has been made public
> and am aware of, choosing to remove James from the board certainly wasn't
> legally necessary, and that there's a good chance it wasn't in the
> interests of the movement to remove him, and that it should probably be
> examined publicly whether or not it was a good or necessary idea.  I'm not
> calling for anyone's heads even if a mistake was made; I know and respect
> many of the board as well, and don't doubt their devotion to Wikimedia - I
> just question if a mistake was made, and think that we should be
> transparent enough as a movement to figure out a mistake was made in a
> transparent fashion.  If a mistake was made, then it would be a good idea
> to examine both procedures around the removal of board members, and also,
> potentially to ensure that the idea of transparency believed in by the
> Board is the same as the idea of transparency believed in by much of the
> rest of the movement.  We've already learned one valuable lesson from this:
>  Board should probably consult with comms before holding a meeting likely
> to generate controversy, even if that decision isn't 100% yet.
>
> Best,
> KG
>
> On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 2:03 AM, Anders Wennersten <
> m...@anderswennersten.se>
> wrote:
>
> >
> >
> > Den 2016-01-02 kl. 10:44, skrev Yaroslav M. Blanter:
> >
> >>
> >> This is an interesting theoretical discussion, and I criticized WMF in
> >> the past on a number of occasions, but I feel necessary to emphasize
> that
> >> there is not a slightest indication at this time that they do not care
> >> about retaining the community. At most, we have indications that they
> did
> >> not handle some issues in sub-optimal way. The probability that
> Wikipedia
> >> and sister projects will collapse in say ten years because some novel
> >> technical means become available and we do not manage to respond
> properly
> >> is in my opinion a 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Olaniyan Olushola
Have been enjoying discussions on the subject matter. I wish we can  understand 
that we are laying a  precedent that would be used to judge you and I tomorrow. 
‎
Yes, the board could be right  by the decision taking against James . More so , 
the communities could be  right by their reactions  against the decision. 

In light of these two positions, we need to look at the substances  surrounding 
the issue at hand, thus: 

1. What is James's offence 
2. Is the offense enough for a sack ‎
3. Is the board answerable to the communities in term of their decisions and 
activities. ‎
4. How current is the bylaw being used by the board
5 . ‎Who makes the law. 
‎
The more the above mentioned questions remain unanswered, the more the 
argument. Mind you, a very tiny smoke if not quenched will definitely lead to a 
wildfire. 
‎
Lastly,  If we could answer these golden questions, perhaps we could be on the 
way to resolve the matter at hand.  

WR. 
 ‎
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.
  Original Message  
From: Gnangarra
Sent: Saturday, January 2, 2016 10:56 AM
To: Wikimedia Mailing List
Reply To: Wikimedia Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

The sky isnt falling  yes it
wasnt optimally handled and yes it caught the community by surprise but
lets be careful here. We cant sit back and enjoy the holiday season while
expecting everyone else to be dropping everything and running into to the
office to write a full explanation while threaten to bring the the
projects(their livelyhoods) crashing down around their ears.

Lets just take a collective breath and wait until people start returning
next week to sort out the mess created, let them provide better information
and move forward better informed

On 2 January 2016 at 17:44, Yaroslav M. Blanter  wrote:

> On 2016-01-02 09:37, Peter Southwood wrote:
>
>> Just as you say.
>> No threat to WMF if they don’t care about retaining the editing community.
>> If all else fails thy could just sell advertising
>> Cheers,
>> Peter
>>
>>
> This is an interesting theoretical discussion, and I criticized WMF in the
> past on a number of occasions, but I feel necessary to emphasize that there
> is not a slightest indication at this time that they do not care about
> retaining the community. At most, we have indications that they did not
> handle some issues in sub-optimal way. The probability that Wikipedia and
> sister projects will collapse in say ten years because some novel technical
> means become available and we do not manage to respond properly is in my
> opinion a billion times higher than that we will collapse because BoT or
> WMF staff function sub-optimally in their daily communications with the
> community. Let us discuss real things and not what happens if Martians come
> to enslave us.
>
> Cheers
> Yaroslav
>
>
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-- 
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WMAU: http://www.wikimedia.org.au/wiki/User:Gnangarra
Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Tomasz Ganicz
2016-01-01 22:11 GMT+01:00 Marcin Cieslak :

>
> Until now many of us were under impression (supported by the Florida
> statutes it seems)
> that they were "community elected".
>
> Saper
>

The Baylaws call them " Community-selected Trustees" - not elected (sec. 3c
of art. IV) .

-- 
Tomek "Polimerek" Ganicz
http://pl.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Polimerek
http://www.ganicz.pl/poli/
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Yaroslav M. Blanter

On 2016-01-02 09:37, Peter Southwood wrote:

Just as you say.
No threat to WMF if they don’t care about retaining the editing 
community.

If all else fails thy could just sell advertising
Cheers,
Peter



This is an interesting theoretical discussion, and I criticized WMF in 
the past on a number of occasions, but I feel necessary to emphasize 
that there is not a slightest indication at this time that they do not 
care about retaining the community. At most, we have indications that 
they did not handle some issues in sub-optimal way. The probability that 
Wikipedia and sister projects will collapse in say ten years because 
some novel technical means become available and we do not manage to 
respond properly is in my opinion a billion times higher than that we 
will collapse because BoT or WMF staff function sub-optimally in their 
daily communications with the community. Let us discuss real things and 
not what happens if Martians come to enslave us.


Cheers
Yaroslav

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Gnangarra
The sky isnt falling  yes it
wasnt optimally handled and yes it caught the community by surprise but
lets be careful here. We cant sit back and enjoy the holiday season while
expecting everyone else to be dropping everything and running into to the
office to write a full explanation while threaten to bring the the
projects(their livelyhoods) crashing down around their ears.

Lets just take a collective breath and wait until people start returning
next week to sort out the mess created, let them provide better information
and move forward  better informed

On 2 January 2016 at 17:44, Yaroslav M. Blanter  wrote:

> On 2016-01-02 09:37, Peter Southwood wrote:
>
>> Just as you say.
>> No threat to WMF if they don’t care about retaining the editing community.
>> If all else fails thy could just sell advertising
>> Cheers,
>> Peter
>>
>>
> This is an interesting theoretical discussion, and I criticized WMF in the
> past on a number of occasions, but I feel necessary to emphasize that there
> is not a slightest indication at this time that they do not care about
> retaining the community. At most, we have indications that they did not
> handle some issues in sub-optimal way. The probability that Wikipedia and
> sister projects will collapse in say ten years because some novel technical
> means become available and we do not manage to respond properly is in my
> opinion a billion times higher than that we will collapse because BoT or
> WMF staff function sub-optimally in their daily communications with the
> community. Let us discuss real things and not what happens if Martians come
> to enslave us.
>
> Cheers
> Yaroslav
>
>
> ___
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> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
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>



-- 
GN.
President Wikimedia Australia
WMAU: http://www.wikimedia.org.au/wiki/User:Gnangarra
Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Kevin Gorman
Hi all -

Just to be clear, none of my previous posts were meant to suggest that the
sky was falling - just that from the information that has been made public
and am aware of, choosing to remove James from the board certainly wasn't
legally necessary, and that there's a good chance it wasn't in the
interests of the movement to remove him, and that it should probably be
examined publicly whether or not it was a good or necessary idea.  I'm not
calling for anyone's heads even if a mistake was made; I know and respect
many of the board as well, and don't doubt their devotion to Wikimedia - I
just question if a mistake was made, and think that we should be
transparent enough as a movement to figure out a mistake was made in a
transparent fashion.  If a mistake was made, then it would be a good idea
to examine both procedures around the removal of board members, and also,
potentially to ensure that the idea of transparency believed in by the
Board is the same as the idea of transparency believed in by much of the
rest of the movement.  We've already learned one valuable lesson from this:
 Board should probably consult with comms before holding a meeting likely
to generate controversy, even if that decision isn't 100% yet.

Best,
KG

On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 2:03 AM, Anders Wennersten 
wrote:

>
>
> Den 2016-01-02 kl. 10:44, skrev Yaroslav M. Blanter:
>
>>
>> This is an interesting theoretical discussion, and I criticized WMF in
>> the past on a number of occasions, but I feel necessary to emphasize that
>> there is not a slightest indication at this time that they do not care
>> about retaining the community. At most, we have indications that they did
>> not handle some issues in sub-optimal way. The probability that Wikipedia
>> and sister projects will collapse in say ten years because some novel
>> technical means become available and we do not manage to respond properly
>> is in my opinion a billion times higher than that we will collapse because
>> BoT or WMF staff function sub-optimally in their daily communications with
>> the community. Let us discuss real things and not what happens if Martians
>> come to enslave us.
>>
>> Cheers
>> Yaroslav
>>
>>
> I agree and I also think we should not over dramatize that someone is at
> odds with a group and leave the group (by resignation or by forced leaving).
>
> I have myself been part of numerous groups in my life, probably several
> hundreds, and have left in being at odds with the group/employer almost a
> dozen times. A very few times by being sacked or ousted and mostly with me
> resigning, but then feeling I have had very sound reasons for taking my
> position making me becoming at odds with the rest.
>
> But in no case after the resignation has been a fact, have I continued to
> dwell publicly over it. A fact is a fact and it is better to go on with
> life for all parties (and it is enough my loyal wife has had to hear "my
> side of it") .
>
> In this case I know first hand a majority of the Board and I know them to
> be true to the values and belief of the movement, and as individuals  being
> caring, and the opposite to my  most hated disliked personality, power
> hungry persons without empathy.
>
> Anders
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread
Thanks for your thoughts Dariusz. It seems there is no WMF board commitment
to a single measurable action as a result of this badly handled incident.

I hope for a bit more than a classic "moving forward" message without
learning anything new. The unelected are entrenched and deaf to volunteer
dissatisfaction with their behaviour.

Fae
On 2 Jan 2016 11:08, "Dariusz Jemielniak"  wrote:

> Hi there,
>
> I wanted to send a note to all of you, that shares my perspective on the
> recent Board decision. These are my own thoughts, as a community-selected
> Board member who voted in the minority for the recent resolution. However,
> I also want to be clear that I support the outcome and the majority
> decision, and look forward to a new community Trustee. I hope that, even
> though you may continue to have questions, you will too.
>
> From my own perspective, the issue of "trust" had nothing to do with James’
> personal integrity. The Board however must ensure that members follow their
> duties and obligations in their roles as Trustees. My personal (not
> organizational) trust in James is 100%, in the sense that I would buy a car
> from him, and leave him the keys to my house without hesitation. James is
> an exceptional individual and an amazing Wikipedian. I feel privileged to
> know him.
>
> Yet, when governance is involved, things work out a bit differently. I can
> explain to you how I understand the results of the vote. I myself
> considered voting in favor of the resolution. I also believe that others
> reasonably considered their vote. James himself recognized his errors and
> admitted that he made mistakes and stepped out of process for a Board
> member. Our collective decision was carefully thought through. I also
> understand well the reasons of many Board members who voted as they did.
>
> I do want to comment on one point very important to me: This decision does
> not signal a shift on the Board’s attitude towards community
> representation, and does not alter our commitment to an active role for the
> community representatives on the Board. I also want to be clear that the
> Board decision was not based on a difference of opinion about direction or
> strategy.
>
> At this stage, I think we basically need to move on. The Board is committed
> to community-nominated membership, and we are actively working with the
> most recent Election Committee on a plan to fill the open
> community-selected seat . We expect James to stay in the movement and
> continue to do the amazing things he is well known for. Until recently, I
> was also a member of the community, watching the Board’s decisions. I
> understand the desire to have more details. At the same time, I genuinely
> ask for you to assume good faith from the Board.
>
> I do, however, agree that the Foundation and the Board can be better at
> communicating, and be more open. While we're not there yet, I am optimistic
> about the direction of the change, and I know that 2016 will bring more
> open community discussions around both strategy and our annual planning in
> consultation with the movement.
>
> I join my colleagues in wishing my friend, James, the absolute best in his
> next ventures. I am excited that he plans to remain an active member of our
> movement, and I look forward to seeing him on-wiki and at community
> gatherings.
>
> Best,
>
> Dariusz a.k.a. pundit
> 02.01.2016 6:44 AM "Kevin Gorman"  napisał(a):
>
> > Hi all -
> >
> > Just to be clear, none of my previous posts were meant to suggest that
> the
> > sky was falling - just that from the information that has been made
> public
> > and am aware of, choosing to remove James from the board certainly wasn't
> > legally necessary, and that there's a good chance it wasn't in the
> > interests of the movement to remove him, and that it should probably be
> > examined publicly whether or not it was a good or necessary idea.  I'm
> not
> > calling for anyone's heads even if a mistake was made; I know and respect
> > many of the board as well, and don't doubt their devotion to Wikimedia -
> I
> > just question if a mistake was made, and think that we should be
> > transparent enough as a movement to figure out a mistake was made in a
> > transparent fashion.  If a mistake was made, then it would be a good idea
> > to examine both procedures around the removal of board members, and also,
> > potentially to ensure that the idea of transparency believed in by the
> > Board is the same as the idea of transparency believed in by much of the
> > rest of the movement.  We've already learned one valuable lesson from
> this:
> >  Board should probably consult with comms before holding a meeting likely
> > to generate controversy, even if that decision isn't 100% yet.
> >
> > Best,
> > KG
> >
> > On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 2:03 AM, Anders Wennersten <
> > m...@anderswennersten.se>
> > wrote:
> >
> > >
> > >
> > > Den 2016-01-02 kl. 10:44, skrev Yaroslav M. Blanter:
> > >

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Ilario Valdelli

Hi Dariusz,
governance is not a question mark that someone can mean as he wants.

In this case the real problem is connected with the stakeholders, and 
this is an unsolved real problem of governance.


As soon a board member has been selected/elected by a stakeholder, the 
board of trustees cannot dismiss it following the action taken in this 
specific case.


In this case the problem of un-governance is the identification of the 
stakeholders and the real power in the hands of each stakeholder.


The real problem of "un-governance" is more related with the action of 
the board of trustee than with James (at the moment).


I understand that James have "recognized his errors and admitted that he 
made mistakes and stepped out of process for a Board member" but at the 
moment the records of the board's meeting says that James voted against 
his dismission.


It means that you are doing a personal statement, but the official one 
is that James didn't accepted his dismission during the vote.


Kind regards

On 02.01.2016 12:08, Dariusz Jemielniak wrote:


Yet, when governance is involved, things work out a bit differently. I can
explain to you how I understand the results of the vote. I myself
considered voting in favor of the resolution. I also believe that others
reasonably considered their vote. James himself recognized his errors and
admitted that he made mistakes and stepped out of process for a Board
member. Our collective decision was carefully thought through. I also
understand well the reasons of many Board members who voted as they did.




--
Ilario Valdelli
Wikimedia CH
Verein zur Förderung Freien Wissens
Association pour l’avancement des connaissances libre
Associazione per il sostegno alla conoscenza libera
Switzerland - 8008 Zürich
Tel: +41764821371
http://www.wikimedia.ch


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Steinsplitter Wiki
I agree with Andy.

Well, if it is not a election pursuant to bylaws IV (3c) why it was always 
announced as such [1]. So it was de-facto a election. Wasn't it?

(imho) It is Ethically it is not okay to remove a "elected" member whiteout 
public discussion.

[1] 
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/Board_elections/2015


> From: a...@pigsonthewing.org.uk
> Date: Sat, 2 Jan 2016 12:05:25 +
> To: wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board
> 
> On 2 January 2016 at 10:41, Tomasz Ganicz  wrote:
> 
> > The Baylaws call them " Community-selected Trustees" - not elected (sec. 3c
> > of art. IV) .
> 
> But - as I pointed out earlier - the language used in public-and
> community facing communications refers to "elections"; and - as I also
> pointed out - this should be changed to correct the false impression
> that is being given..
> 
> -- 
> Andy Mabbett
> @pigsonthewing
> http://pigsonthewing.org.uk
> 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Dariusz Jemielniak
hi Ilario,

I don't want to fuel this discussion, so I'll just reply briefly and shut
up :)
Hi Dariusz,
governance is not a question mark that someone can mean as he wants.

In this case the real problem is connected with the stakeholders, and this
is an unsolved real problem of governance.

As soon a board member has been selected/elected by a stakeholder, the
board of trustees cannot dismiss it following the action taken in this
specific case.

In this case the problem of un-governance is the identification of the
stakeholders and the real power in the hands of each stakeholder.

The real problem of "un-governance" is more related with the action of the
board of trustee than with James (at the moment).

I understand that James have "recognized his errors and admitted that he
made mistakes and stepped out of process for a Board member" but at the
moment the records of the board's meeting says that James voted against his
dismission.

It means that you are doing a personal statement, but the official one is
that James didn't accepted his dismission during the vote.

Kind regards

On 02.01.2016 12:08, Dariusz Jemielniak wrote:

>
> Yet, when governance is involved, things work out a bit differently. I can
> explain to you how I understand the results of the vote. I myself
> considered voting in favor of the resolution. I also believe that others
> reasonably considered their vote. James himself recognized his errors and
> admitted that he made mistakes and stepped out of process for a Board
> member. Our collective decision was carefully thought through. I also
> understand well the reasons of many Board members who voted as they did.
>
>
>
-- 
Ilario Valdelli
Wikimedia CH
Verein zur Förderung Freien Wissens
Association pour l’avancement des connaissances libre
Associazione per il sostegno alla conoscenza libera
Switzerland - 8008 Zürich
Tel: +41764821371
http://www.wikimedia.ch


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Lodewijk
Dear Dariusz,

Thank you for the response. I understand that you (and the board) want to
move on. But there are in many organisations (and countries) certain powers
that are 'excessive' - and I think expelling a board member is one of
those. I agree there can be circumstances where this power has to be
invoked, and surely I'm more than willing to assume good faith.

However, the use of such power (especially when dismissing a community
selected board member) comes with a responsibility to explain /why/ the
person was expelled towards the electorate. Patricio did a poor job at it
(he focused on process) and your elaboration makes some suggestions/nods in
which direction to look for an answer. I hope you understand that people
keep trying to figure out why James was dismissed. Even if you can't share
details, the general reason should, imho, be shared.

James suggests in his email that he was dismissed for two reasons primarily
(the third point he makes, is after the dismissal, hence irrelevant and
process). Paraphrasing, he talked with staff (and the board thought he
shouldn't have), and he would have leaked information.

Could you, or another board member, confirm whether this is a fair
representation? Again, I'm not looking for specifics if that is truely
confidential information - but I think that from a community point of view,
it is important to understand what kind of reasoning was at the basis for
this decision.

Besides that, there are many process questions still open (I agree with
many that the percentage is way too fuzzy at this point, and should perhaps
be clarified for the future, for example) but that is basically something
that should be handled independent of this particular decision.

Best,
Lodewijk

On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 12:08 PM, Dariusz Jemielniak 
wrote:

> Hi there,
>
> I wanted to send a note to all of you, that shares my perspective on the
> recent Board decision. These are my own thoughts, as a community-selected
> Board member who voted in the minority for the recent resolution. However,
> I also want to be clear that I support the outcome and the majority
> decision, and look forward to a new community Trustee. I hope that, even
> though you may continue to have questions, you will too.
>
> From my own perspective, the issue of "trust" had nothing to do with James’
> personal integrity. The Board however must ensure that members follow their
> duties and obligations in their roles as Trustees. My personal (not
> organizational) trust in James is 100%, in the sense that I would buy a car
> from him, and leave him the keys to my house without hesitation. James is
> an exceptional individual and an amazing Wikipedian. I feel privileged to
> know him.
>
> Yet, when governance is involved, things work out a bit differently. I can
> explain to you how I understand the results of the vote. I myself
> considered voting in favor of the resolution. I also believe that others
> reasonably considered their vote. James himself recognized his errors and
> admitted that he made mistakes and stepped out of process for a Board
> member. Our collective decision was carefully thought through. I also
> understand well the reasons of many Board members who voted as they did.
>
> I do want to comment on one point very important to me: This decision does
> not signal a shift on the Board’s attitude towards community
> representation, and does not alter our commitment to an active role for the
> community representatives on the Board. I also want to be clear that the
> Board decision was not based on a difference of opinion about direction or
> strategy.
>
> At this stage, I think we basically need to move on. The Board is committed
> to community-nominated membership, and we are actively working with the
> most recent Election Committee on a plan to fill the open
> community-selected seat . We expect James to stay in the movement and
> continue to do the amazing things he is well known for. Until recently, I
> was also a member of the community, watching the Board’s decisions. I
> understand the desire to have more details. At the same time, I genuinely
> ask for you to assume good faith from the Board.
>
> I do, however, agree that the Foundation and the Board can be better at
> communicating, and be more open. While we're not there yet, I am optimistic
> about the direction of the change, and I know that 2016 will bring more
> open community discussions around both strategy and our annual planning in
> consultation with the movement.
>
> I join my colleagues in wishing my friend, James, the absolute best in his
> next ventures. I am excited that he plans to remain an active member of our
> movement, and I look forward to seeing him on-wiki and at community
> gatherings.
>
> Best,
>
> Dariusz a.k.a. pundit
> 02.01.2016 6:44 AM "Kevin Gorman"  napisał(a):
>
> > Hi all -
> >
> > Just to be clear, none of my previous posts were meant to suggest that
> the
> > sky 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Dariusz Jemielniak
hi Ilario,

I don't want to fuel this discussion, so I'll just reply briefly and shut
up :)

On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 9:24 AM, Ilario Valdelli  wrote:

As soon a board member has been selected/elected by a stakeholder, the
board of trustees cannot dismiss it following the action taken in this
specific case.

I think that what is clear and should stay untouched is the community's
share in the Board. However, I think that for many practical reasons the
Board should have the right to expel a single member, irrespective of how
they joined this body. I don't think it is viable to have a public
discussion and evaluation of what a member did wrong, and then a public
vote.

I am a community-elected member, and still I believe that the Board should
have the right to get rid of me, if they  really want to. However, I think
that such a procedure:

(a) cannot happen often (as not to be abused)

(b) should not overall lead to a decrease of community-appointed members'
share in the Board.




I understand that James have "recognized his errors and admitted that he
made mistakes and stepped out of process for a Board member" but at the
moment the records of the board's meeting says that James voted against his
dismission.

Yes, so did I. Recognizing mistakes is different from assessing the
consequences. James knew what he did wrong, but he assumed that he could
effectively use a second chance.
02.01.2016 12:07 PM "Dariusz Jemielniak"  napisał(a):

> hi Ilario,
>
> I don't want to fuel this discussion, so I'll just reply briefly and shut
> up :)
> Hi Dariusz,
> governance is not a question mark that someone can mean as he wants.
>
> In this case the real problem is connected with the stakeholders, and this
> is an unsolved real problem of governance.
>
> As soon a board member has been selected/elected by a stakeholder, the
> board of trustees cannot dismiss it following the action taken in this
> specific case.
>
> In this case the problem of un-governance is the identification of the
> stakeholders and the real power in the hands of each stakeholder.
>
> The real problem of "un-governance" is more related with the action of the
> board of trustee than with James (at the moment).
>
> I understand that James have "recognized his errors and admitted that he
> made mistakes and stepped out of process for a Board member" but at the
> moment the records of the board's meeting says that James voted against his
> dismission.
>
> It means that you are doing a personal statement, but the official one is
> that James didn't accepted his dismission during the vote.
>
> Kind regards
>
> On 02.01.2016 12:08, Dariusz Jemielniak wrote:
>
>>
>> Yet, when governance is involved, things work out a bit differently. I can
>> explain to you how I understand the results of the vote. I myself
>> considered voting in favor of the resolution. I also believe that others
>> reasonably considered their vote. James himself recognized his errors and
>> admitted that he made mistakes and stepped out of process for a Board
>> member. Our collective decision was carefully thought through. I also
>> understand well the reasons of many Board members who voted as they did.
>>
>>
>>
> --
> Ilario Valdelli
> Wikimedia CH
> Verein zur Förderung Freien Wissens
> Association pour l’avancement des connaissances libre
> Associazione per il sostegno alla conoscenza libera
> Switzerland - 8008 Zürich
> Tel: +41764821371
> http://www.wikimedia.ch
>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Robert Rohde
Dariusz,

One of the things you said gives a different impression than Patricio's
official statement in an important aspect.

Specifically you said:

> James knew what he did wrong, but he assumed that he could
> effectively use a second chance.

That seems to suggest that James made recent error(s), that he acknowledged
these errors, and that he was willing to work on avoiding them in the
future.  By contrast, Patricio's said:

> Over the course of the past few months, the Trustees had
> multiple conversations around expectations for Trustee conduct,
> responsibilities, and confidentiality. Ultimately, the majority of the
> Trustees came to the opinion that we were not able to reach a
> common understanding with James on fulfilling those expectations.

This seems to suggest that there was a long-standing disagreement about
appropriate behavior for Board members, and despite best efforts James and
the majority of the Board were not able to reach an amicable resolution.

So far, James's own comments seem more in line with the narrative that
there was a good faith but irreconcilable difference of opinion between
himself and the majority.

Would you (or James) care to clarify?

-Robert Rohde

On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 5:25 PM, Lodewijk 
wrote:

> Dear Dariusz,
>
> Thank you for the response. I understand that you (and the board) want to
> move on. But there are in many organisations (and countries) certain powers
> that are 'excessive' - and I think expelling a board member is one of
> those. I agree there can be circumstances where this power has to be
> invoked, and surely I'm more than willing to assume good faith.
>
> However, the use of such power (especially when dismissing a community
> selected board member) comes with a responsibility to explain /why/ the
> person was expelled towards the electorate. Patricio did a poor job at it
> (he focused on process) and your elaboration makes some suggestions/nods in
> which direction to look for an answer. I hope you understand that people
> keep trying to figure out why James was dismissed. Even if you can't share
> details, the general reason should, imho, be shared.
>
> James suggests in his email that he was dismissed for two reasons primarily
> (the third point he makes, is after the dismissal, hence irrelevant and
> process). Paraphrasing, he talked with staff (and the board thought he
> shouldn't have), and he would have leaked information.
>
> Could you, or another board member, confirm whether this is a fair
> representation? Again, I'm not looking for specifics if that is truely
> confidential information - but I think that from a community point of view,
> it is important to understand what kind of reasoning was at the basis for
> this decision.
>
> Besides that, there are many process questions still open (I agree with
> many that the percentage is way too fuzzy at this point, and should perhaps
> be clarified for the future, for example) but that is basically something
> that should be handled independent of this particular decision.
>
> Best,
> Lodewijk
>
> On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 12:08 PM, Dariusz Jemielniak 
> wrote:
>
> > Hi there,
> >
> > I wanted to send a note to all of you, that shares my perspective on the
> > recent Board decision. These are my own thoughts, as a community-selected
> > Board member who voted in the minority for the recent resolution.
> However,
> > I also want to be clear that I support the outcome and the majority
> > decision, and look forward to a new community Trustee. I hope that, even
> > though you may continue to have questions, you will too.
> >
> > From my own perspective, the issue of "trust" had nothing to do with
> James’
> > personal integrity. The Board however must ensure that members follow
> their
> > duties and obligations in their roles as Trustees. My personal (not
> > organizational) trust in James is 100%, in the sense that I would buy a
> car
> > from him, and leave him the keys to my house without hesitation. James is
> > an exceptional individual and an amazing Wikipedian. I feel privileged to
> > know him.
> >
> > Yet, when governance is involved, things work out a bit differently. I
> can
> > explain to you how I understand the results of the vote. I myself
> > considered voting in favor of the resolution. I also believe that others
> > reasonably considered their vote. James himself recognized his errors and
> > admitted that he made mistakes and stepped out of process for a Board
> > member. Our collective decision was carefully thought through. I also
> > understand well the reasons of many Board members who voted as they did.
> >
> > I do want to comment on one point very important to me: This decision
> does
> > not signal a shift on the Board’s attitude towards community
> > representation, and does not alter our commitment to an active role for
> the
> > community representatives on the Board. I also want to be clear that the
> > Board 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Pine W
At this point, confidence in the Board has been weakened enough that no, we
should not just move on. The confidence issue needs to be addressed. There
are multiple ways of doing that. One is (far) more openness, as many others
have suggested. Another is to have an impartial investigation of the facts
in this case. The high trust of the community in James seems in start
contrast with the actions of the Board. Perhaps there was a good reason for
the Board to remove James, but the Board's handling of this situation
(particularly Jimmy's, which I think has been flatly unacceptable) leaves
much to be desired. The Board needs to think hard about, and take concrete
actions to improve, the community and staff confidence in its governance.

Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Ben Creasy
James Heilman  writes:

> 
> Dear all
> 
> I have been accused of three things:
> 
>1.
> 
>Giving staff unrealistic expectations regarding potential board
>decisions. I have always stated to staff that I only represented 10% of the
>board and have never given assurances that I could convince other trustees.
>I would be interested in hearing staff weigh in on this accusation but I
>consider it unfounded.
> 
>1.
> 
>Releasing private board information. I have not made public, private
>board discussions during my time on the board. I have however pushed for
>greater transparency both within the WMF and with our communities. I have
>made myself informed by discussing issues with trusted staff and community
>members and used independent judgement.
> 
>1.
> 
>Publishing the statement about my removal on Wikimedia-l. I was not
>asked by other board members at any time before its publication to produce
>a joint statement or to delay publishing the statement I had put together a
>few days prior. The first proposal to collaborate I believe was by myself
>here
>https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2015-December/080502.html
>I was also not informed that the meeting was going to continue for the
>purpose of producing such a statement.
> 
> I have always acted in what I believe are the best interests of the
> movement and the WMF.
> 

Hi - my name isn't familiar to most of you,* but I'm another community member 
and I spoke to James when he visited San Francisco a couple months ago. James 
was an early mentor of mine when I was editing medical topics a number of years 
ago, so it was natural for us to meet up for coffee.

As a nonvoting community member of the WMF Audit Committee, I get to see some 
privileged information and talk to the auditors once a year. If I recall 
correctly, James thought I might have been receiving emails about some sort of 
financial situation. When I said no, he didn't reveal any information about what
the situation was, but if I recall correctly he said that the board wasn't 
letting him view some documents.

I'm not a lawyer, but the general rule, mostly codified in state statutes, is 
that all board members have an equally absolute right to inspect and copy all 
books and records. See Martin G. McGuinn Jr. 1966 which notes that "a large 
number of courts have ... termed this right absolute and unqualified". So I 
told him his rights. We've never talked about it since. The announcement of his 
dismissal came as a huge shock to me, but I imagine James asserted his rights 
to some of the board's discomfort.

I did come away with a question mark about what the situation might be and I 
figured I would bring it up at the next audit meeting (which hasn't happened), 
but as a nonvoting member I'm really not in a position to rock the boat or 
demand sensitive information. I can make gentle suggestions and ask questions, 
but I'm really just there as a courtesy. I imagine this message may spell the 
end of my tenure.

Commenting on the three points:

1. Putting a few pieces together, it appears that much of the dispute centers 
around staff relationships. According to 
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:WMF_Transparency_Gap#Staff_communications_d
iscouraged staff were forbidden to communicate to board members, which implies 
that there was also an unwritten rule strongly discouraging board members from 
reaching out to staff as well. Yeah, it's a convention to funnel all 
communication through the ED, but it's not necessarily a good one. In any case, 
the board needs to survey staff (quantitatively and qualitatively) to 
effectively review the Executive Director's performance. Further, this makes WMF
sound like a fear-driven organization ("fear is the mind-killer"). The best 
employees - especially the developers - can easily find other jobs. In any case,
we in the community are free to talk to staff all we - and they - want. It's 
hard to keep things secret in the wiki-world, even if the WMF seems to have done
a pretty good job so far. If necessary, the community can organize a group to 
conduct surveys of willing employees and send it to the board, although I hope 
that won't be necessary.

2. As far as releasing private information, if anyone got something private, you
might think I would have gotten something juicy sitting across a table from 
James, but I didn't. If the WMF had good evidence of disclosing private 
information, you'd think they would have revealed it by this point. Also, while 
there is a convention that "what happens in the boardroom stays in the 
boardroom", my understanding is that non-executive session discussions are not 
confidential. Which is not to suggest that James was describing board meetings 
to people.

3. While James has a great rebuttal, his announcement about his dismissal came 
after the fact, and it isn't worth cluttering up the more important 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread geni
On 2 January 2016 at 09:24, George Herbert  wrote:

>
> So far the best description I can think of is that we have a bunch of
> people who were there struggling to describe the situation without
> breaching duty to the organization or resorting to attacks, the information
> release results of which so far are unsatisfying to concerned external
> parties such as most of us.
>
>
Eh I'd argue at this point we have a fairly good idea of what went on.

We know from the high employee turnover in some areas and the odd slip
(well that and pretty direct complaints
https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=WMF_Transparency_Gap=15199687=15199605
) that, oh lets call it moral, isn't exactly rock solid at the WMF. The
long term failure to fill the chief technology officer position probably
doesn't help but there are reasons to suspect there are other issues.

For whatever reason James ended being ground zero for complaints by WMF
employees. Not clear why they would go for one of the community elected
people although perhaps it has something to do with only them being the
only post Lila Tretikov board members. (BTW either
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Board_of_Trustees needs updating or
we've just lost another two board members).

James handled these complaints in a way that the WMF management felt was
undermining their authority/ability to lead and complained to the board.
The board sided with management and removed James.

The community can't actually do much about this other than perhaps
recommending board level representation for WMF employees with the counter
that we revive that old proposal of them not voting in the elections for
the community representatives.

-- 
geni
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Laurentius
Il giorno sab, 02/01/2016 alle 09.31 +0900, James Heilman ha scritto:
> Dear all
> 
> I have been accused of three things:
> [...]

Does the board agree that these three are the things contested to James?
 * Giving staff unrealistic expectations regarding potential board
   decisions;
 * Releasing private board information;
 * Publishing the statement about his removal on Wikimedia-l.
(the last one clearly cannot have had a role in his removal, so this
leaves the first two)

Laurentius



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Asaf Bartov
Dear Doc James, and everyone,

On Fri, Jan 1, 2016 at 4:31 PM, James Heilman  wrote:

> I have been accused of three things:
>
>1. Giving staff unrealistic expectations regarding potential board
>decisions. I have always stated to staff that I only represented 10% of
> the
>board and have never given assurances that I could convince other
> trustees.
>I would be interested in hearing staff weigh in on this accusation but I
>consider it unfounded.
>

For my part, and I believe I speak for at least some other staff, I can
confirm you have never misrepresented your role in the board or the
positions you were taking, and did not "give unrealistic expectations" on
that potential board decision, or any other.  (If anyone did, it was
another board member, and not Doc James.)

I think my role as staff means I should keep out of this discussion (and to
those reaching out privately: please understand I am not at liberty to
discuss this), but since this allegation about your conduct is specifically
about staff, I thought I should inform the community on this specific point.

Thank you for all you've done, Doc.

Sincerely,

 Asaf
-- 
Asaf Bartov
Wikimedia Foundation 

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the
sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!
https://donate.wikimedia.org
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Pine W
I appreciate your speaking up, Ben.

If, while James was a board member, financial information was being
withheld from him, that would indeed be another problem that should be
included in the scope of an investigation of this situation by an outside
party. It would also be troubling to me if there was some significant
financial problem and the Audit Committee was not proactively informed of
it.

Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread
On 2 January 2016 at 21:25, Kevin Gorman  wrote:
> Thank you for coming forward, Ben and Asaf.

Yes, thank you. These statements cast a much needed healthy light on
the events leading up to James being kicked off the WMF board.

...
> If documents were intentionally held from James while he was still in fact
> a sitting trustee that were either distributed to other trustees, that were
> drectly asked for by James, or that were reasonably necessary for him to
> uphold his duties of loyalty and care to WMF, I believe an outside
> investigation by a nonprofit consulting group that WMF doesn't have a
> pre-existing relationship is likely necessary.

This now appears unacceptably sordid politicking by at least some of
the current board of trustees, and is sufficient cause for involved
trustees to promptly resign. However based on the past behaviour and
statements of the unelected board members, this will never happen by
itself. As has been suggested on this list several times, an
independent review with published recommendations for both immediate
action and longer term improvement is necessary. Appropriate ethical
trustee behaviour would then be seen to be in place and measured.

I don't see how any Wikimedian can claim the current board of the WMF
to be competent. No board should be beyond accountability for their
actions. It's time to see some swift credible changes made, that have
more impact than re-arranging the deckchairs.

Fae

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Kevin Gorman
Thank you for coming forward, Ben and Asaf.

I'd been debating whether or not to gather more details about the handling
of this event, or for just trying to make sure that procedures went more
smoothly in case any further trustee was removed, but this calls for a
direct question: were documents intentionally being withheld from James -
for a couple of months at that - that were either being distributed to
other trustees, that he directly asked for, or that were reasonably
necessary for him acting in good faith to fulfill his fidicuiary duties?  I
can't cite chapter and verse of state code - partly because it varies
depending on what exactly was involved, and I'm far more familiar with
Califonia's requirements than Florida's - but if so, this is a problem.
California is an extreme state when it comes to stuff like this, but in
certain situations, intentionally withholding information that a sitting
board member is legally entitled to is in some cases something that results
in the waiver of protection they normally enjoy in most of their duties
conducted in good faith even in unrelated areas to any and all trustees
that were involved in the decision to withhold information - going as far
as to negate not even specifically purchased insurance coverage.

If documents were intentionally held from James while he was still in fact
a sitting trustee that were either distributed to other trustees, that were
drectly asked for by James, or that were reasonably necessary for him to
uphold his duties of loyalty and care to WMF, I believe an outside
investigation by a nonprofit consulting group that WMF doesn't have a
pre-existing relationship is likely necessary.

Best,
KG

On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 12:20 PM, Laurentius 
wrote:

> Il giorno sab, 02/01/2016 alle 09.31 +0900, James Heilman ha scritto:
> > Dear all
> >
> > I have been accused of three things:
> > [...]
>
> Does the board agree that these three are the things contested to James?
>  * Giving staff unrealistic expectations regarding potential board
>decisions;
>  * Releasing private board information;
>  * Publishing the statement about his removal on Wikimedia-l.
> (the last one clearly cannot have had a role in his removal, so this
> leaves the first two)
>
> Laurentius
>
>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Comet styles
We should probably start with our high and mighty leader, Jimbo, just
like everyone else, He should now be 'elected' into the BoT, no more
free seats..Wikimedia has now grown to an extent where we may no
longer need him to run the foundation or to hold a deciding vote on
issues where he has his own interests in..This problem of lacking
transparency has leaked down to the lower levels of wikimedia as well,
is that the example they are going to set? .. As I said before, the
longer this drags on, the more likelihood of a 'manufactured' truth
coming out..

People who do wrong need time to come up with a good lieeveryone
knows this..James spoke the moment he was "fired" for which he was
reprimanded by the same authority that 'fired' him...If what Ben
Creasy said is true, then its definitely not James on the wrong here
and I'd be really effing pissed if he was made a 'scapegoat' by the
powers that be to save their own useless hide..Its very clear that
there is corruption at the highest order at WMFthe question is..
How deep does it go? ..

-- 
Cometstyles

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread philippe
I don't believe that's "very clear" at all.  You yourself said "If what Ben 
said is true"  I think it's very possible - to the extent that Ben 
cautioned against it himself - that this may be a misunderstanding. 

In my nearly seven years at the WMF I never once saw corruption of the sort you 
suggest. Not once. And I think it's safe to say I was well connected. 

--
Philippe Beaudette
philippe.beaude...@icloud.com

> On Jan 2, 2016, at 5:48 PM, Comet styles  wrote:
> 
> We should probably start with our high and mighty leader, Jimbo, just
> like everyone else, He should now be 'elected' into the BoT, no more
> free seats..Wikimedia has now grown to an extent where we may no
> longer need him to run the foundation or to hold a deciding vote on
> issues where he has his own interests in..This problem of lacking
> transparency has leaked down to the lower levels of wikimedia as well,
> is that the example they are going to set? .. As I said before, the
> longer this drags on, the more likelihood of a 'manufactured' truth
> coming out..
> 
> People who do wrong need time to come up with a good lieeveryone
> knows this..James spoke the moment he was "fired" for which he was
> reprimanded by the same authority that 'fired' him...If what Ben
> Creasy said is true, then its definitely not James on the wrong here
> and I'd be really effing pissed if he was made a 'scapegoat' by the
> powers that be to save their own useless hide..Its very clear that
> there is corruption at the highest order at WMFthe question is..
> How deep does it go? ..
> 
> -- 
> Cometstyles
> 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Pine W
Comet,
I'm currently of the mind that it would be a good idea to shine the bright
light of day on some of the situation inside of WMF to help us get a clear
picture of the facts, from which I hope we can draw reasonable conclusions
and help us to make choices that lead to improvements. At this time we have
a lot of speculation and causes for concern, but we are short on facts. I
agree that donors are likely to be interested in this situation and that it
should be investigated. While I share many of your concerns, I would
caution against going too far. I particularly cringe at your
characterization of the board members other than James; for all we know
their concerns about James may have been appropriate, even if we are
understandably upset at how they handled the situation.

So, while I too am disappointed with this situation, I would also suggest
that we need to be a little bit careful about how we talk about
speculation, allegations, and single-source reports. I would also urge you,
as much as possible even when you're angry, to be careful in your comments
that could step over the line between justified criticism and unjustified
personal attacks. Let's try to be civil, even when we're angry.

Thank you,
Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Philippe Beaudette
Kevin,

I disagree with nothing you’ve said here.  What I disagreed with was the 
characterization that “certainly” something untoward had taken place.

pb


> On Jan 2, 2016, at 9:41 PM, Kevin Gorman  wrote:
> 
> Philippe -
> 
> I totally agree with you that none of my experiences with WMF suggest that
> such a thing is likely to happen.  Organizations and people change over
> time, though - similarly, this is the first time a sitting trustee has been
> dismissed.  Given the unusuality of the situation, in my opinion at least,
> given the *drastic* seriousness that something like deliberately
> withholding documents in such a manner under California state law (I can't
> speak with familiarity about Florida NPO governance,) and the fact that
> both the BoT and James could pretty easily give flat out answers to the
> question of whether or not they think it occurred, I think it's worth
> asking for those answers.
> 
> If James and the BoT agree that such withholding took place, I think it
> demands an outside review of WMF governance.  If James thinks it did, but
> the rest of the BoT disagrees.. given the general respect held for James'
> and the seriousness of the charge, I think an outside review of WMF
> governance is *still* probably reasonably necessary.  If neither thinks
> such withholding took place, then it settles a serious charge quite simply.
> 
> Best,
> KG
> 
> On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 7:01 PM,  wrote:
> 
>> I don't believe that's "very clear" at all.  You yourself said "If what
>> Ben said is true"  I think it's very possible - to the extent that Ben
>> cautioned against it himself - that this may be a misunderstanding.
>> 
>> In my nearly seven years at the WMF I never once saw corruption of the
>> sort you suggest. Not once. And I think it's safe to say I was well
>> connected.
>> 
>> --
>> Philippe Beaudette
>> philippe.beaude...@icloud.com
>> 
>>> On Jan 2, 2016, at 5:48 PM, Comet styles  wrote:
>>> 
>>> We should probably start with our high and mighty leader, Jimbo, just
>>> like everyone else, He should now be 'elected' into the BoT, no more
>>> free seats..Wikimedia has now grown to an extent where we may no
>>> longer need him to run the foundation or to hold a deciding vote on
>>> issues where he has his own interests in..This problem of lacking
>>> transparency has leaked down to the lower levels of wikimedia as well,
>>> is that the example they are going to set? .. As I said before, the
>>> longer this drags on, the more likelihood of a 'manufactured' truth
>>> coming out..
>>> 
>>> People who do wrong need time to come up with a good lieeveryone
>>> knows this..James spoke the moment he was "fired" for which he was
>>> reprimanded by the same authority that 'fired' him...If what Ben
>>> Creasy said is true, then its definitely not James on the wrong here
>>> and I'd be really effing pissed if he was made a 'scapegoat' by the
>>> powers that be to save their own useless hide..Its very clear that
>>> there is corruption at the highest order at WMFthe question is..
>>> How deep does it go? ..
>>> 
>>> --
>>> Cometstyles
>>> 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Kevin Gorman
Philippe -

I totally agree with you that none of my experiences with WMF suggest that
such a thing is likely to happen.  Organizations and people change over
time, though - similarly, this is the first time a sitting trustee has been
dismissed.  Given the unusuality of the situation, in my opinion at least,
given the *drastic* seriousness that something like deliberately
withholding documents in such a manner under California state law (I can't
speak with familiarity about Florida NPO governance,) and the fact that
both the BoT and James could pretty easily give flat out answers to the
question of whether or not they think it occurred, I think it's worth
asking for those answers.

If James and the BoT agree that such withholding took place, I think it
demands an outside review of WMF governance.  If James thinks it did, but
the rest of the BoT disagrees.. given the general respect held for James'
and the seriousness of the charge, I think an outside review of WMF
governance is *still* probably reasonably necessary.  If neither thinks
such withholding took place, then it settles a serious charge quite simply.

Best,
KG

On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 7:01 PM,  wrote:

> I don't believe that's "very clear" at all.  You yourself said "If what
> Ben said is true"  I think it's very possible - to the extent that Ben
> cautioned against it himself - that this may be a misunderstanding.
>
> In my nearly seven years at the WMF I never once saw corruption of the
> sort you suggest. Not once. And I think it's safe to say I was well
> connected.
>
> --
> Philippe Beaudette
> philippe.beaude...@icloud.com
>
> > On Jan 2, 2016, at 5:48 PM, Comet styles  wrote:
> >
> > We should probably start with our high and mighty leader, Jimbo, just
> > like everyone else, He should now be 'elected' into the BoT, no more
> > free seats..Wikimedia has now grown to an extent where we may no
> > longer need him to run the foundation or to hold a deciding vote on
> > issues where he has his own interests in..This problem of lacking
> > transparency has leaked down to the lower levels of wikimedia as well,
> > is that the example they are going to set? .. As I said before, the
> > longer this drags on, the more likelihood of a 'manufactured' truth
> > coming out..
> >
> > People who do wrong need time to come up with a good lieeveryone
> > knows this..James spoke the moment he was "fired" for which he was
> > reprimanded by the same authority that 'fired' him...If what Ben
> > Creasy said is true, then its definitely not James on the wrong here
> > and I'd be really effing pissed if he was made a 'scapegoat' by the
> > powers that be to save their own useless hide..Its very clear that
> > there is corruption at the highest order at WMFthe question is..
> > How deep does it go? ..
> >
> > --
> > Cometstyles
> >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Kevin Gorman
Philippe -

Well - one of the things is - from all public indication from the BoT - it
doesn't appear that it's their current inclination to do something like
commission an outside review of the situation by a consultancy familiar
with Florida NPO governance.  I definitely don't want to pronounce early
judgement, but both public and private conversations have made me think
that this situation is worth a formal investigation, and allegations of
potentially intentionally withholding relevant documents from sitting
trustees just make me think even more than an outside review is
appropriate.  I hate wasting $20 or $40k of movement money on such a
review, but since, if substantiated and not resolved, thes allegations
could be so damaging to Wikimedia, I unfortunately think it's necessary
unless James speaks out against the idea.

Best,
KG

On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 9:56 PM, Philippe Beaudette 
wrote:

> again, i disagree with little (if any) of what you say that.  I don’t
> agree with the characterization, prior to any sort of investigation, that
> something was absolutely wrong.  We don’t KNOW what’s gone on, is my point.
>
> So let’s not speculate until and unless an investigation is completed -
> and probably not then either.
>
> pb
>
>
> > On Jan 2, 2016, at 9:54 PM, Comet styles  wrote:
> >
> > I'm quite aware of what James was trying to achieve
> > (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Doc_James/Foundation) and I'm
> > fully in support of his ideas so if whatever he did was related to one
> > of those he mentions on the link, then its quite understandable why
> > right now I'm on his side  and not on the the other side...5 of whom
> > the community did not appoint (or trusts) and one who is there by
> > 'default'
> >
> > The issue is not what James did, it was the drastic step taken and
> > above all the silence in relation to this from the 'BoT' which has
> > become quite deafening..When you fire someone and them make a
> > statement regarding it and why, we all would have accepted it  and
> > possibly fought it if we had found it unjustified..but when you fire
> > someone and then run back into the hole...what are we to assume?..Its
> > too early to start an investigation since no one is forthcoming...so
> > speculation and allegations are the only things left... I'm not angry,
> > I personally don't care but I have seen too much nonsense by the
> > hierarchy over the last 5 years to allow another one to be swept under
> > the rug under the veil of "privacy" ...
> >
> > --
> > Cometstyles
> >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Greg Grossmeier

> Then he tells to some of them: "This is going to happen. As you don't
> want that to happen, you should try to make pressure on Board members.
> I suggest you to do that in this way." I have to say that I did that
> numerous times on committee level in relation to the community needs:
> "Look, this is not going to pass Gerard. Our options to do that are
> those. You should do this, I will do that."

Asaf's comment disagrees with this point. I can confirm that with myself
as well. James never promised me anything specific was going to happen
and never made a recommendation on what I should do.

Greg

-- 
| Greg GrossmeierGPG: B2FA 27B1 F7EB D327 6B8E |
| identi.ca: @gregA18D 1138 8E47 FAC8 1C7D |

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Milos Rancic
This event puzzled me a lot, as I suppose it puzzles all of
Wikimedians who don't know what was happening inside of the Board last
couple of months.

On one side, although I am not active English Wikipedian, it's obvious
to me that James' integrity is on the mythical level. On the other
side, I know well seven of the other Board members and I am quite sure
they wouldn't do anything that stupid like removing community elected
Board member because differences in the vision of WMF future.

Patricio's and Dariusz's responses didn't help a lot. I was quite
angry on them because I just saw demagogy in their emails. Initially.

Then I read this Dariusz email and became angry again. But a cigarette
after I understood his political discourse. You know, politicians tend
to tell you so much nonsense around the information, that you simply
can't understand the information. But they do transfer the
information, as Dariusz did it.

After reading Daridusz's response, I read again Patricio's email from
December 31st and it definitely supported my understanding of the
situation.

The answer is not spectacular at all. It's about inner dynamics of the
Board and it could happen inside of any Board composition and with any
of the Board members, no matter of the vision of particular Board
member.

Before I tell you that quite unspectacular "truth", I want to say that
I completely understand both sides. From one perspective, I could
imagine myself in James' position; from the other one, the decision of
other Board members to protect Board's integrity seems quite
reasonable.

Imagine a situation when majority of Board members make one decision,
which staff don't like. That decision was a product of weeks or months
of discussion and it's almost certain that all the arguments were
processed very well.

James doesn't agree with that decision, as he sees that it could harm
some of the employees: it could be about layoffs or it could be just
about making things odd enough for some of the employees, that they
won't feel well doing their job anymore.

Then he tells to some of them: "This is going to happen. As you don't
want that to happen, you should try to make pressure on Board members.
I suggest you to do that in this way." I have to say that I did that
numerous times on committee level in relation to the community needs:
"Look, this is not going to pass Gerard. Our options to do that are
those. You should do this, I will do that."

I suppose the situation could be more fuzzy: Board was preparing
decision; James saw some employees would be strongly against it; he
told that to them to try to influence the rest of the Board. It's
quite an issue to draw the line between transparency and disclosing
confidential information in such situations. And, as I told above, I
could easily do the same thing as James did.

What I see as a bottom line here is that the issue wasn't about
strategic or political disagreement, but about dynamics of one group,
which happened to be WMF Board. From that perspective, decision is
definitely up to that group, as well as I understand now James'
statement from the December 29th: "My fellow trustees need no reason
beyond lack of trust in me to justify my removal. No reason beyond
that is needed per our board by laws."


On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 12:08 PM, Dariusz Jemielniak  wrote:
> Hi there,
>
> I wanted to send a note to all of you, that shares my perspective on the
> recent Board decision. These are my own thoughts, as a community-selected
> Board member who voted in the minority for the recent resolution. However,
> I also want to be clear that I support the outcome and the majority
> decision, and look forward to a new community Trustee. I hope that, even
> though you may continue to have questions, you will too.
>
> From my own perspective, the issue of "trust" had nothing to do with James’
> personal integrity. The Board however must ensure that members follow their
> duties and obligations in their roles as Trustees. My personal (not
> organizational) trust in James is 100%, in the sense that I would buy a car
> from him, and leave him the keys to my house without hesitation. James is
> an exceptional individual and an amazing Wikipedian. I feel privileged to
> know him.
>
> Yet, when governance is involved, things work out a bit differently. I can
> explain to you how I understand the results of the vote. I myself
> considered voting in favor of the resolution. I also believe that others
> reasonably considered their vote. James himself recognized his errors and
> admitted that he made mistakes and stepped out of process for a Board
> member. Our collective decision was carefully thought through. I also
> understand well the reasons of many Board members who voted as they did.
>
> I do want to comment on one point very important to me: This decision does
> not signal a shift on the Board’s attitude towards community
> representation, and does not alter our commitment to an active role 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Comet styles
Ofcourse you wouldn't see it, but still, as this issue kept dragging
on, things came to light and most of us here do not agree at all with
the outcome...James was elected by the community, he was not another
random person the community did not trust or hear of before being
added to the board which actually includes 5 of the sitting BoT
members none of whom actually have any knowledge on the basic
fundamentals of the project so to fire someone who understands this
and has given all to the project is downright sillyAgain, its
quite sad that they are dragging this on, it has been a few  days now
and we still have yet to get a clear answer and thus why all the
conspiracy theory is floating around...Surely James should not be
apologising for doing something right but as per my earlier comment,
he seems to be the 'scapegoat' for something much bigger...the main
question, What exactly did he do that he got fired?.

On 1/3/16, phili...@beaudette.me  wrote:
> I don't believe that's "very clear" at all.  You yourself said "If what Ben
> said is true"  I think it's very possible - to the extent that Ben
> cautioned against it himself - that this may be a misunderstanding.
>
> In my nearly seven years at the WMF I never once saw corruption of the sort
> you suggest. Not once. And I think it's safe to say I was well connected.
>
> --
> Philippe Beaudette
> philippe.beaude...@icloud.com

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Comet styles
"My fellow trustees need no reason beyond lack of trust in me to
justify my removal. No reason beyond that is needed per our board by
laws."

Trust does go both ways, so its either 'The Hateful Eight' who are at
the wrong here or just 'James'...This firing comes around the time
when our Project goes into the Fund-raising drive so to take a drastic
step like this without providing a valid reason will not give faith to
the millions who donate to the foundation around this time.

Their action has not only affected the contributors who voted James
in, but those  that donated to the Foundation on an yearly basis..so
before another BoT member or supporter goes rambling on about the
'intricacies of the project, think twice..Its not only about the
contributors who voted James in losing faith in the BoT, its also
about the million others who donate to the foundation on an yearly
basis..No one will give money to an organisation that is rotting from
the insideso its best that they come clean on this issue by Monday
and more importantly, restore James to the BoT OR end up in a
situation where the ever-so polite community decides that they have
had enough of the 'tyranny'  and lack of transparency which as i said
before, is leaking to the lower level of the
foundationConspiracies and lies have toppled nations, this is just
a mere organisation, tread carefully..


On 1/3/16, Milos Rancic  wrote:
> This event puzzled me a lot, as I suppose it puzzles all of
> Wikimedians who don't know what was happening inside of the Board last
> couple of months.
>
> On one side, although I am not active English Wikipedian, it's obvious
> to me that James' integrity is on the mythical level. On the other
> side, I know well seven of the other Board members and I am quite sure
> they wouldn't do anything that stupid like removing community elected
> Board member because differences in the vision of WMF future.
>
> Patricio's and Dariusz's responses didn't help a lot. I was quite
> angry on them because I just saw demagogy in their emails. Initially.
>
> Then I read this Dariusz email and became angry again. But a cigarette
> after I understood his political discourse. You know, politicians tend
> to tell you so much nonsense around the information, that you simply
> can't understand the information. But they do transfer the
> information, as Dariusz did it.
>
> After reading Daridusz's response, I read again Patricio's email from
> December 31st and it definitely supported my understanding of the
> situation.
>
> The answer is not spectacular at all. It's about inner dynamics of the
> Board and it could happen inside of any Board composition and with any
> of the Board members, no matter of the vision of particular Board
> member.
>
> Before I tell you that quite unspectacular "truth", I want to say that
> I completely understand both sides. From one perspective, I could
> imagine myself in James' position; from the other one, the decision of
> other Board members to protect Board's integrity seems quite
> reasonable.
>
> Imagine a situation when majority of Board members make one decision,
> which staff don't like. That decision was a product of weeks or months
> of discussion and it's almost certain that all the arguments were
> processed very well.
>
> James doesn't agree with that decision, as he sees that it could harm
> some of the employees: it could be about layoffs or it could be just
> about making things odd enough for some of the employees, that they
> won't feel well doing their job anymore.
>
> Then he tells to some of them: "This is going to happen. As you don't
> want that to happen, you should try to make pressure on Board members.
> I suggest you to do that in this way." I have to say that I did that
> numerous times on committee level in relation to the community needs:
> "Look, this is not going to pass Gerard. Our options to do that are
> those. You should do this, I will do that."
>
> I suppose the situation could be more fuzzy: Board was preparing
> decision; James saw some employees would be strongly against it; he
> told that to them to try to influence the rest of the Board. It's
> quite an issue to draw the line between transparency and disclosing
> confidential information in such situations. And, as I told above, I
> could easily do the same thing as James did.
>
> What I see as a bottom line here is that the issue wasn't about
> strategic or political disagreement, but about dynamics of one group,
> which happened to be WMF Board. From that perspective, decision is
> definitely up to that group, as well as I understand now James'
> statement from the December 29th: "My fellow trustees need no reason
> beyond lack of trust in me to justify my removal. No reason beyond
> that is needed per our board by laws."
>
>
> On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 12:08 PM, Dariusz Jemielniak 
> wrote:
>> Hi there,
>>
>> I wanted to send a note to all of you, that shares my perspective on 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Over-opinionated

2016-01-02 Thread Richard Ames
Yes, please slow down the conversation and reduce the alarmist tones 

Regards, Richard (one of your moderators)

On Sun, Jan 3, 2016 at 3:16 PM, billinghurst  wrote:
> The whole process of James sacking from and by the Board is disturbing
> to many of us. At this point there are many who have ... much to say.


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[Wikimedia-l] Over-opinionated

2016-01-02 Thread billinghurst
The whole process of James sacking from and by the Board is disturbing
to many of us. At this point there are many who have too much to say.
The frantic nature of condemnations, extrapolations, mutterings and
irrelevant "me too"-ism means that this forum is too tightly bound to
too few..  If you have nothing of true and clear added value, then
maybe you should be silent. You should consider whether others really
need to hear your opinion (yet again).

Some of you need to learn to shut up, listen, and patiently wait.
Others should be given the opinion to talk in whichever part of the
world and the time zones they exist.

This matter will take time to resolve, and it needs information from
the Board, and they need to understand that this requires them to
communicate, and continue to communicate. That everyone fills that
void with noise is not helpful in my opinion.

Regards, Billinghurst
P.S. Any snide comments, head-butts, etc. should be sent to me
directly not via the list.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Comet styles
I'm quite aware of what James was trying to achieve
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Doc_James/Foundation) and I'm
fully in support of his ideas so if whatever he did was related to one
of those he mentions on the link, then its quite understandable why
right now I'm on his side  and not on the the other side...5 of whom
the community did not appoint (or trusts) and one who is there by
'default'

The issue is not what James did, it was the drastic step taken and
above all the silence in relation to this from the 'BoT' which has
become quite deafening..When you fire someone and them make a
statement regarding it and why, we all would have accepted it  and
possibly fought it if we had found it unjustified..but when you fire
someone and then run back into the hole...what are we to assume?..Its
too early to start an investigation since no one is forthcoming...so
speculation and allegations are the only things left... I'm not angry,
I personally don't care but I have seen too much nonsense by the
hierarchy over the last 5 years to allow another one to be swept under
the rug under the veil of "privacy" ...

-- 
Cometstyles

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Kevin Gorman
I know you probably realize this pb, but I just want to emphasize that the
verbiage that certainly something untoward has taken place wasn't coming
from me, and would like to stress that to the rest of the list.  It's just
such a serious matter, that I believe outside investigation is almost
certainly warranted, unless James agrees that there was no such withholding
and additionally agrees that the degree of transparency with which his
removal took place is in line with both the law and the values of the
movement.  On the extreme end, under california NPO governance, there are
certain situations where such intentional document withholding could
actually risk eliminating the normal shield trustees enjoy for most of
their actions and making them personally liable, so it's a situation that's
weird enough that clearing it up with transparency and speed is in the best
interests of the Wikimedia movement.

Best,
KG

On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 9:43 PM, Philippe Beaudette 
wrote:

> Kevin,
>
> I disagree with nothing you’ve said here.  What I disagreed with was the
> characterization that “certainly” something untoward had taken place.
>
> pb
>
>
> > On Jan 2, 2016, at 9:41 PM, Kevin Gorman  wrote:
> >
> > Philippe -
> >
> > I totally agree with you that none of my experiences with WMF suggest
> that
> > such a thing is likely to happen.  Organizations and people change over
> > time, though - similarly, this is the first time a sitting trustee has
> been
> > dismissed.  Given the unusuality of the situation, in my opinion at
> least,
> > given the *drastic* seriousness that something like deliberately
> > withholding documents in such a manner under California state law (I
> can't
> > speak with familiarity about Florida NPO governance,) and the fact that
> > both the BoT and James could pretty easily give flat out answers to the
> > question of whether or not they think it occurred, I think it's worth
> > asking for those answers.
> >
> > If James and the BoT agree that such withholding took place, I think it
> > demands an outside review of WMF governance.  If James thinks it did, but
> > the rest of the BoT disagrees.. given the general respect held for James'
> > and the seriousness of the charge, I think an outside review of WMF
> > governance is *still* probably reasonably necessary.  If neither thinks
> > such withholding took place, then it settles a serious charge quite
> simply.
> >
> > Best,
> > KG
> >
> > On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 7:01 PM,  wrote:
> >
> >> I don't believe that's "very clear" at all.  You yourself said "If what
> >> Ben said is true"  I think it's very possible - to the extent that
> Ben
> >> cautioned against it himself - that this may be a misunderstanding.
> >>
> >> In my nearly seven years at the WMF I never once saw corruption of the
> >> sort you suggest. Not once. And I think it's safe to say I was well
> >> connected.
> >>
> >> --
> >> Philippe Beaudette
> >> philippe.beaude...@icloud.com
> >>
> >>> On Jan 2, 2016, at 5:48 PM, Comet styles 
> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> We should probably start with our high and mighty leader, Jimbo, just
> >>> like everyone else, He should now be 'elected' into the BoT, no more
> >>> free seats..Wikimedia has now grown to an extent where we may no
> >>> longer need him to run the foundation or to hold a deciding vote on
> >>> issues where he has his own interests in..This problem of lacking
> >>> transparency has leaked down to the lower levels of wikimedia as well,
> >>> is that the example they are going to set? .. As I said before, the
> >>> longer this drags on, the more likelihood of a 'manufactured' truth
> >>> coming out..
> >>>
> >>> People who do wrong need time to come up with a good lieeveryone
> >>> knows this..James spoke the moment he was "fired" for which he was
> >>> reprimanded by the same authority that 'fired' him...If what Ben
> >>> Creasy said is true, then its definitely not James on the wrong here
> >>> and I'd be really effing pissed if he was made a 'scapegoat' by the
> >>> powers that be to save their own useless hide..Its very clear that
> >>> there is corruption at the highest order at WMFthe question is..
> >>> How deep does it go? ..
> >>>
> >>> --
> >>> Cometstyles
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Philippe Beaudette
again, i disagree with little (if any) of what you say that.  I don’t agree 
with the characterization, prior to any sort of investigation, that something 
was absolutely wrong.  We don’t KNOW what’s gone on, is my point.

So let’s not speculate until and unless an investigation is completed - and 
probably not then either.

pb


> On Jan 2, 2016, at 9:54 PM, Comet styles  wrote:
> 
> I'm quite aware of what James was trying to achieve
> (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Doc_James/Foundation) and I'm
> fully in support of his ideas so if whatever he did was related to one
> of those he mentions on the link, then its quite understandable why
> right now I'm on his side  and not on the the other side...5 of whom
> the community did not appoint (or trusts) and one who is there by
> 'default'
> 
> The issue is not what James did, it was the drastic step taken and
> above all the silence in relation to this from the 'BoT' which has
> become quite deafening..When you fire someone and them make a
> statement regarding it and why, we all would have accepted it  and
> possibly fought it if we had found it unjustified..but when you fire
> someone and then run back into the hole...what are we to assume?..Its
> too early to start an investigation since no one is forthcoming...so
> speculation and allegations are the only things left... I'm not angry,
> I personally don't care but I have seen too much nonsense by the
> hierarchy over the last 5 years to allow another one to be swept under
> the rug under the veil of "privacy" ...
> 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Over-opinionated

2016-01-02 Thread Kevin Gorman
Billing -

I hope some of my earlier contributions were, well, contributions, since I
do have fairly extensive training in the governance requirements of
CA-based non-profits - which certainly aren't Florida-based nonprofits, but
definitely share some similarities.  One of the things that has concerned
me is the public words of board members have pretty much entirely stressed
a hope to move past this smoothly, rather than a desire to instigate even
the sort of external review that the IEP resulted in.  One thing that would
make me pretty much shut up about the matter instantly is if, preferably
the BoT as a whole, but even an individual board member, voiced a strong
opinion/desire/committment to try to ensure that events that have
transpired so far are subject to an outside review by a group without
previous strong connections to the WMF that has a strong familiarity with
Florida NPO governance, and is as transparent as possible.

Best,
KG

On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 8:33 PM, Richard Ames  wrote:

> Yes, please slow down the conversation and reduce the alarmist tones 
>
> Regards, Richard (one of your moderators)
>
> On Sun, Jan 3, 2016 at 3:16 PM, billinghurst 
> wrote:
> > The whole process of James sacking from and by the Board is disturbing
> > to many of us. At this point there are many who have ... much to say.
> 
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Milos Rancic
On Sun, Jan 3, 2016 at 7:02 AM, Greg Grossmeier  wrote:
> 
>> Then he tells to some of them: "This is going to happen. As you don't
>> want that to happen, you should try to make pressure on Board members.
>> I suggest you to do that in this way." I have to say that I did that
>> numerous times on committee level in relation to the community needs:
>> "Look, this is not going to pass Gerard. Our options to do that are
>> those. You should do this, I will do that."
>
> Asaf's comment disagrees with this point. I can confirm that with myself
> as well. James never promised me anything specific was going to happen
> and never made a recommendation on what I should do.

It was clear from James' statement that he didn't promise anything and
I didn't say that.

Whatever else he said is a part of normal communication and I don't
see that as something bad.

While I really have no idea what exactly happened, I could see two
separate issues:

Obviously, there is one significant issue (or a couple of smaller)
over which Board has disagreement with James and (a part of) staff. We
don't know what it is and I'll start separate topic in relation to
that. That's relevant and we should talk about it.

The other issue, the one which triggered James' removal, is connected
to it, but formally quite different. I am quite sure that making one
action against the collective decision isn't something which would
trigger his removal. On the other hand, repeating those actions and
stance (which, I am sure, is quite ethical), could produce development
like this one.

Said so, I don't have an opinion in relation to James' removal; I just
gave description of what I see as the most probable reason. If I am
right, I am happy it's not a product of serious political
disagreements, as well as, on the other side, I don't like the timing.
Otherwise, I have no position and it's not because I want to be
"neutral" (I am sick of those willing to be "moderate", "neutral",
"balanced" [1]).

This problem should have been solved much earlier, without escalating
it to the point of Board member removal. I am also sick of thinking
about problems created in the past (months, years) because of lack of
cognitive abilities of participants at that point of time. The problem
is that it's always easier not to actively tackle solvable issues. And
it's endemic to our movement.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLqKXrlD1TU

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Craig Franklin
I'd like to second this.  Getting to the point of dismissing a trustee,
whether they're community elected or not, is serious business.  There
should be an investigation conducted by an impartial external organisation,
not to lay blame or point the finger, but to recommend changes to make sure
it never happens again.

Cheers,
Craig

On 3 January 2016 at 04:54, Pine W  wrote:

> At this point, confidence in the Board has been weakened enough that no, we
> should not just move on. The confidence issue needs to be addressed. There
> are multiple ways of doing that. One is (far) more openness, as many others
> have suggested. Another is to have an impartial investigation of the facts
> in this case. The high trust of the community in James seems in start
> contrast with the actions of the Board. Perhaps there was a good reason for
> the Board to remove James, but the Board's handling of this situation
> (particularly Jimmy's, which I think has been flatly unacceptable) leaves
> much to be desired. The Board needs to think hard about, and take concrete
> actions to improve, the community and staff confidence in its governance.
>
> Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Philippe Beaudette
Quite right, I didn’t mean to imply (and in retrospect i understand a reading 
that would miss that detail) that the verbiage in question was yours.

It was not.

pb


> On Jan 2, 2016, at 9:56 PM, Kevin Gorman  wrote:
> 
> I know you probably realize this pb, but I just want to emphasize that the
> verbiage that certainly something untoward has taken place wasn't coming
> from me, and would like to stress that to the rest of the list.  It's just
> such a serious matter, that I believe outside investigation is almost
> certainly warranted, unless James agrees that there was no such withholding
> and additionally agrees that the degree of transparency with which his
> removal took place is in line with both the law and the values of the
> movement.  On the extreme end, under california NPO governance, there are
> certain situations where such intentional document withholding could
> actually risk eliminating the normal shield trustees enjoy for most of
> their actions and making them personally liable, so it's a situation that's
> weird enough that clearing it up with transparency and speed is in the best
> interests of the Wikimedia movement.
> 
> Best,
> KG
> 
> On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 9:43 PM, Philippe Beaudette 
> wrote:
> 
>> Kevin,
>> 
>> I disagree with nothing you’ve said here.  What I disagreed with was the
>> characterization that “certainly” something untoward had taken place.
>> 
>> pb
>> 
>> 
>>> On Jan 2, 2016, at 9:41 PM, Kevin Gorman  wrote:
>>> 
>>> Philippe -
>>> 
>>> I totally agree with you that none of my experiences with WMF suggest
>> that
>>> such a thing is likely to happen.  Organizations and people change over
>>> time, though - similarly, this is the first time a sitting trustee has
>> been
>>> dismissed.  Given the unusuality of the situation, in my opinion at
>> least,
>>> given the *drastic* seriousness that something like deliberately
>>> withholding documents in such a manner under California state law (I
>> can't
>>> speak with familiarity about Florida NPO governance,) and the fact that
>>> both the BoT and James could pretty easily give flat out answers to the
>>> question of whether or not they think it occurred, I think it's worth
>>> asking for those answers.
>>> 
>>> If James and the BoT agree that such withholding took place, I think it
>>> demands an outside review of WMF governance.  If James thinks it did, but
>>> the rest of the BoT disagrees.. given the general respect held for James'
>>> and the seriousness of the charge, I think an outside review of WMF
>>> governance is *still* probably reasonably necessary.  If neither thinks
>>> such withholding took place, then it settles a serious charge quite
>> simply.
>>> 
>>> Best,
>>> KG
>>> 
>>> On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 7:01 PM,  wrote:
>>> 
 I don't believe that's "very clear" at all.  You yourself said "If what
 Ben said is true"  I think it's very possible - to the extent that
>> Ben
 cautioned against it himself - that this may be a misunderstanding.
 
 In my nearly seven years at the WMF I never once saw corruption of the
 sort you suggest. Not once. And I think it's safe to say I was well
 connected.
 
 --
 Philippe Beaudette
 philippe.beaude...@icloud.com
 
> On Jan 2, 2016, at 5:48 PM, Comet styles 
>> wrote:
> 
> We should probably start with our high and mighty leader, Jimbo, just
> like everyone else, He should now be 'elected' into the BoT, no more
> free seats..Wikimedia has now grown to an extent where we may no
> longer need him to run the foundation or to hold a deciding vote on
> issues where he has his own interests in..This problem of lacking
> transparency has leaked down to the lower levels of wikimedia as well,
> is that the example they are going to set? .. As I said before, the
> longer this drags on, the more likelihood of a 'manufactured' truth
> coming out..
> 
> People who do wrong need time to come up with a good lieeveryone
> knows this..James spoke the moment he was "fired" for which he was
> reprimanded by the same authority that 'fired' him...If what Ben
> Creasy said is true, then its definitely not James on the wrong here
> and I'd be really effing pissed if he was made a 'scapegoat' by the
> powers that be to save their own useless hide..Its very clear that
> there is corruption at the highest order at WMFthe question is..
> How deep does it go? ..
> 
> --
> Cometstyles
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-02 Thread Pine W
I think that a broader-scoped review would be beneficial, including a
review of the Board's alignment with nonprofit governance best practices,
especially with respect to best practices surrounding the decision to
dismiss James and the subsequent actions and comments of Board members. I
believe that WMF commissioned a similar report about WMUK in the past, so
there is precedent for doing this.

Pine

On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 10:03 PM, Kevin Gorman  wrote:

> Philippe -
>
> Well - one of the things is - from all public indication from the BoT - it
> doesn't appear that it's their current inclination to do something like
> commission an outside review of the situation by a consultancy familiar
> with Florida NPO governance.  I definitely don't want to pronounce early
> judgement, but both public and private conversations have made me think
> that this situation is worth a formal investigation, and allegations of
> potentially intentionally withholding relevant documents from sitting
> trustees just make me think even more than an outside review is
> appropriate.  I hate wasting $20 or $40k of movement money on such a
> review, but since, if substantiated and not resolved, thes allegations
> could be so damaging to Wikimedia, I unfortunately think it's necessary
> unless James speaks out against the idea.
>
> Best,
> KG
>
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