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

2016-03-07 Thread James Heilman
+1 to MZMcBride comment

I strongly support us actually elected the community trustees. I have
reached out to a couple of lawyers to try to figure out how involved this
would be.

James

On Mon, Mar 7, 2016 at 5:41 PM, MZMcBride  wrote:

> Patricio Lorente wrote:
> >Today the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees voted to remove one of
> >the Trustees, Dr. James Heilman, from the Board. His term ended effective
> >immediately.
> >
> >This was not a decision the Board took lightly. The Board has a
> >responsibility to the Wikimedia movement and the Wikimedia Foundation to
> >ensure that the Board functions with mutual confidence to ensure effective
> >governance. Following serious consideration, the Board felt this removal
> >decision was a necessary step at this time. The resolution will be
> >published shortly.
> >
> > [...]
>
> The minutes from this Board of Trustees meeting have now been posted:
>
> ---
> December 28, 2015 minutes
> WMF Board minutes
>
> * December 28, 2015
> * Board of Trustees present: Patricio Lorente (Chair), Alice Wiegand (Vice
>   Chair), Dariusz Jemielniak, Denny Vrandečić, Frieda Brioschi, James
>   Heilman Jan-Bart de Vreede, Jimmy Wales, Stu West, and Guy Kawasaki
> * Others present for part of the meeting: Geoff Brigham (Secretary and
>   General Counsel), Stephen LaPorte (Legal Counsel)
>
> Patricio called the meeting to order at 1:30 PM Pacific time on December
> 28, 2016. Geoff called roll and confirmed that a quorum was present and
> able to simultaneously hear the meeting.
>
> Patricio called the meeting for the purpose of discussing a resolution to
> remove James from the Board of Trustees. Patricio introduced the
> discussion, and asked James to discuss his perspective. At that point in
> the meeting, James was excused from the discussion and Board members
> discussed their concerns. Patricio invited James back to the meeting.
> After a motion by Patricio, seconded by Alice, the Board voted to approve
> a resolution to remove James from the Board
> ,
> effective immediately.
>
> The Board discussed the next steps, and the meeting was concluded.
> ---
>
> From .
>
> >This decision creates an open seat for a community-selected Trustee. [...]
>
> Hmmm, I only just now noticed your use of community-selected here. I think
> sometime this year, we should hold a community straw poll on Meta-Wiki
> about changing the selection to an election. I think the Board of Trustees
> needs to hear from the Wikimedia editing community about this issue.
>
> MZMcBride
>
>
>
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-- 
James Heilman
MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian

The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
www.opentextbookofmedicine.com
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-03-07 Thread MZMcBride
Patricio Lorente wrote:
>Today the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees voted to remove one of
>the Trustees, Dr. James Heilman, from the Board. His term ended effective
>immediately.
>
>This was not a decision the Board took lightly. The Board has a
>responsibility to the Wikimedia movement and the Wikimedia Foundation to
>ensure that the Board functions with mutual confidence to ensure effective
>governance. Following serious consideration, the Board felt this removal
>decision was a necessary step at this time. The resolution will be
>published shortly.
>
> [...]

The minutes from this Board of Trustees meeting have now been posted:

---
December 28, 2015 minutes
WMF Board minutes

* December 28, 2015
* Board of Trustees present: Patricio Lorente (Chair), Alice Wiegand (Vice
  Chair), Dariusz Jemielniak, Denny Vrandečić, Frieda Brioschi, James
  Heilman Jan-Bart de Vreede, Jimmy Wales, Stu West, and Guy Kawasaki
* Others present for part of the meeting: Geoff Brigham (Secretary and
  General Counsel), Stephen LaPorte (Legal Counsel)

Patricio called the meeting to order at 1:30 PM Pacific time on December
28, 2016. Geoff called roll and confirmed that a quorum was present and
able to simultaneously hear the meeting.

Patricio called the meeting for the purpose of discussing a resolution to
remove James from the Board of Trustees. Patricio introduced the
discussion, and asked James to discuss his perspective. At that point in
the meeting, James was excused from the discussion and Board members
discussed their concerns. Patricio invited James back to the meeting.
After a motion by Patricio, seconded by Alice, the Board voted to approve
a resolution to remove James from the Board
,
effective immediately.

The Board discussed the next steps, and the meeting was concluded.
---

From .

>This decision creates an open seat for a community-selected Trustee. [...]

Hmmm, I only just now noticed your use of community-selected here. I think
sometime this year, we should hold a community straw poll on Meta-Wiki
about changing the selection to an election. I think the Board of Trustees
needs to hear from the Wikimedia editing community about this issue.

MZMcBride



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

2016-01-16 Thread Michael Peel

> On 16 Jan 2016, at 18:39, Alex Monk  wrote:
> 
> On 16 January 2016 at 10:08, Yury Bulka 
> wrote:
> 
>> MZMcBride  writes:
>>> A few years ago, the Wikimedia Foundation switched over to the Google
>> Apps
>>> platform, which means that most e-mail sent on the wikimedia.org domain
>> is
>>> now hosted by Google.
>> Are you sure? It doesn't look like wikimedia.org's MX point to google's
>> servers:
>> https://starttls.info/check/wikimedia.org
> 
> 
> It's true that individual inboxes for staff/contractors/board/etc. are
> hosted in Google Apps. WMF Operations controls the mail routing (hence the
> MX record) and directs mail sent to different addresses to different places
> - including rules for allowing Office IT (via foundation corporate LDAP) to
> route addresses to Google:
> https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/diffusion/OPUP/browse/production/templates/exim/exim4.conf.mx.erb;51327368b853ffabcc93ea336c7e9e603354a077$261-292

Open source email options apparently aren't up to the job. As demonstrated by 
the number of times that the gmail-only 'mute thread' functionality has been 
mentioned on this list of late...

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

2016-01-16 Thread MZMcBride
James Alexander wrote:
>I think everyone knows there are a lot of legitimate concerns to be
>concerned about and certainly Arnnon's actions at Google are legitimate
>for question however this whole "google is controlling the board/wmf"
>line of thought is turning into a huge and enormous conspiracy theory and
>what seems to be a giant school of red herring
>. We haven't quite yet gotten
>to "Frieda has 6 letters in her name and you know what else has 6 letters
>in it's name? GOOGLE!" but we're getting damn close. If anything the only
>concern about google I've heard within the actual WMF is that the
>"Knowledge Engine" was a plan to 'compete' against google for traffic (for
>the record my personal opinion is that would be a waste of money on
>something we could never succeed if true but ALSO that it isn't actually
>true at all at this point).

A few years ago, the Wikimedia Foundation switched over to the Google Apps
platform, which means that most e-mail sent on the wikimedia.org domain is
now hosted by Google. Along with e-mail services, Google Apps also
includes Google Sheets, Google Docs, etc., which the Wikimedia Foundation
now regularly makes use of. The Wikimedia Foundation is quite literally
pumping a large portion of its data directly into Google's servers. This
applies to Wikimedia Foundation staff, contractors, and Board members.

About a year ago, PiRSquared17 began documenting the relationship between
Wikimedia and Google: . This page
needs additional expansion, but it already mentions the millions of
dollars that Google has directly donated to the Wikimedia Foundation and
related organizations. (It's not quite clear how Google funded Wikidata,
possibly via Wikimedia Deutschland.)

Before you try to dismiss the people with concerns about the relationship
between Wikimedia and Google as conspiracy theorists and quacks, perhaps
we should first have a full accounting of the tangled web that's been
woven. My suspicion is that if you or others put in the time to thoroughly
document the connection between the two entities, you'd miraculously find
more than a single concern about a failed project, as your reply suggested.

MZMcBride



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

2016-01-16 Thread Yury Bulka

MZMcBride  writes:

> A few years ago, the Wikimedia Foundation switched over to the Google Apps
> platform, which means that most e-mail sent on the wikimedia.org domain is
> now hosted by Google.
Are you sure? It doesn't look like wikimedia.org's MX point to google's servers:
https://starttls.info/check/wikimedia.org

Yury

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

2016-01-16 Thread Gerard Meijssen
Hoi,
To be perfectly honest, the biggest gift of Google is to recognise
Wikipedia as significant. I like to think that it is because of the
algorithms they use and even when it is not it is what makes Wikipedia
significant. When they value us not only through their algorithms and give
us money because we add value to their search results, there is something
to find, I welcome their money as long as it fits with our stated
principles.

Google did invest in Wikidata and It became a vital tool for Wikipedia
through its interwiki links. Their thoughts on why they did this is not
that relevant to me. What they did is end their superior tool and they
spend money to end their product gracefully.

My thoughts on this are simple. The relation with Google is symbiotic. We
both do better because of the other. Those that do not see this are not
dismissed because they are quacks but because they do not see what is in
front of them; they are imho irrelevant.

The suggestion that there might be something is great. The suggestion is to
waste even more time. Time we could spend on researching how we can make a
better mouse trap out of Wikipedia. My conclusion is that the people that
waste their time politicking are in reality satisfying their own curiosity
and not improving what we do or how we do it.
Thanks,
   GerardM

On 16 January 2016 at 17:31, MZMcBride  wrote:

> James Alexander wrote:
> >I think everyone knows there are a lot of legitimate concerns to be
> >concerned about and certainly Arnnon's actions at Google are legitimate
> >for question however this whole "google is controlling the board/wmf"
> >line of thought is turning into a huge and enormous conspiracy theory and
> >what seems to be a giant school of red herring
> >. We haven't quite yet gotten
> >to "Frieda has 6 letters in her name and you know what else has 6 letters
> >in it's name? GOOGLE!" but we're getting damn close. If anything the only
> >concern about google I've heard within the actual WMF is that the
> >"Knowledge Engine" was a plan to 'compete' against google for traffic (for
> >the record my personal opinion is that would be a waste of money on
> >something we could never succeed if true but ALSO that it isn't actually
> >true at all at this point).
>
> A few years ago, the Wikimedia Foundation switched over to the Google Apps
> platform, which means that most e-mail sent on the wikimedia.org domain is
> now hosted by Google. Along with e-mail services, Google Apps also
> includes Google Sheets, Google Docs, etc., which the Wikimedia Foundation
> now regularly makes use of. The Wikimedia Foundation is quite literally
> pumping a large portion of its data directly into Google's servers. This
> applies to Wikimedia Foundation staff, contractors, and Board members.
>
> About a year ago, PiRSquared17 began documenting the relationship between
> Wikimedia and Google: . This page
> needs additional expansion, but it already mentions the millions of
> dollars that Google has directly donated to the Wikimedia Foundation and
> related organizations. (It's not quite clear how Google funded Wikidata,
> possibly via Wikimedia Deutschland.)
>
> Before you try to dismiss the people with concerns about the relationship
> between Wikimedia and Google as conspiracy theorists and quacks, perhaps
> we should first have a full accounting of the tangled web that's been
> woven. My suspicion is that if you or others put in the time to thoroughly
> document the connection between the two entities, you'd miraculously find
> more than a single concern about a failed project, as your reply suggested.
>
> MZMcBride
>
>
>
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> New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> 
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-16 Thread Alex Monk
On 16 January 2016 at 10:08, Yury Bulka 
wrote:

> MZMcBride  writes:
> > A few years ago, the Wikimedia Foundation switched over to the Google
> Apps
> > platform, which means that most e-mail sent on the wikimedia.org domain
> is
> > now hosted by Google.
> Are you sure? It doesn't look like wikimedia.org's MX point to google's
> servers:
> https://starttls.info/check/wikimedia.org


It's true that individual inboxes for staff/contractors/board/etc. are
hosted in Google Apps. WMF Operations controls the mail routing (hence the
MX record) and directs mail sent to different addresses to different places
- including rules for allowing Office IT (via foundation corporate LDAP) to
route addresses to Google:
https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/diffusion/OPUP/browse/production/templates/exim/exim4.conf.mx.erb;51327368b853ffabcc93ea336c7e9e603354a077$261-292
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-16 Thread MZMcBride
Yury Bulka wrote:
>MZMcBride  writes:
>> A few years ago, the Wikimedia Foundation switched over to the Google
>>Apps platform, which means that most e-mail sent on the wikimedia.org
>>domain is now hosted by Google.
>Are you sure? It doesn't look like wikimedia.org's MX point to google's
>servers: https://starttls.info/check/wikimedia.org

Yes, the Wikimedia Foundation switched to Google Apps around October 2010.
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2010-October/108636.html

My understanding is that the MX records show where the mail goes
initially, before being re-routed to either Google Apps for most staff,
contractors, et al.; to OTRS if it's a particular set of addresses; or
elsewhere as needed. If you'd like more detail, we can start a new thread.

Careful readers will note that the timeline of the Wikimedia Foundation's
Annual Plan 2016-17 is living at docs.google.com, not meta.wikimedia.org.
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-January/081120.html

MZMcBride



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

2016-01-16 Thread Tim Landscheidt
Yury Bulka  wrote:

>> A few years ago, the Wikimedia Foundation switched over to the Google Apps
>> platform, which means that most e-mail sent on the wikimedia.org domain is
>> now hosted by Google.
> Are you sure? It doesn't look like wikimedia.org's MX point to google's 
> servers:
> https://starttls.info/check/wikimedia.org

Cf.
http://git.wikimedia.org/blob/operations%2Fpuppet.git/production/templates%2Fexim%2Fexim4.conf.mx.erb#L261:

| […]

| ldap_account:
| driver = manualroute
| domains = wikimedia.org
| condition = ${lookup ldap \
| 
{user="cn=eximagent,ou=other,dc=corp,dc=wikimedia,dc=org" pass=LDAPPASSWORD \
| 
ldap:///ou=people,dc=corp,dc=wikimedia,dc=org?mail?sub?(&(objectClass=inetOrgPerson)(mail=${quote_ldap:$local_part}@$domain)(x121Address=1))}
 \
| {true}fail}
| local_part_suffix = +*
| local_part_suffix_optional
| transport = remote_smtp
| route_list = *  aspmx.l.google.com
  ^^
| ldap_group:
| driver = manualroute
| domains = wikimedia.org
| condition = ${lookup ldap \
| 
{user="cn=eximagent,ou=other,dc=corp,dc=wikimedia,dc=org" pass=LDAPPASSWORD \
| 
ldap:///ou=groups,dc=corp,dc=wikimedia,dc=org?businessCategory?sub?(businessCategory=${quote_ldap:$local_part}@$domain)}
 \
| {true}fail}
| local_part_suffix = +*
| local_part_suffix_optional
| transport = remote_smtp
| route_list = *  aspmx.l.google.com
  ^^
| […]

Tim


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

2016-01-10 Thread Risker
Perhaps before people make random stabs in the dark about the nomination
process this time around - which wasn't the old NomCom or any other former
process - they might want to check the archives of this mailing list from
late September or early October when candidates and nominations were
solicited, and further follow-up emails about this time's process.

Risker

On 10 January 2016 at 21:18, Milos Rancic  wrote:

> On Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 1:37 AM, Dariusz Jemielniak 
> wrote:
> > I can, however, generally add that we have not collected any nominations
> > from our donors, if this helps.
>
> I can confirm this, as I am sure nothing has changed since NomCom
> existence in relation to this issue, except updating the list with the
> new names and maybe removing some of those proved to be controversial
> (optionally, they are removing controversial ones every time the
> process starts).
>
> NomCom failed mostly because of that list. However, Sue's idea to use
> HR agency turned out to be the best solution, as we got Bishakha.
> (Note for the future: use HR agency; they do the job better than you;
> they are professionals.)
>
> Although I never had particular information, it's obvious that the
> list is mostly consisted of Jimmy's network. That's not necessary bad
> per se. Jimmy has the best connections inside of the Board and while
> some of the names if selected would trigger demonstration in front of
> the WMF office, it is possible to find good names inside of that list.
> However, again, HR agency would do much better job, as they are not
> dilettantes.
>
> There is one more thing in favor of Jimmy. Inside of the relations and
> structure as it's now, Wikimedia movement should thank him for keeping
> the integrity of WMF inside of the sea full of barracudas, sharks and
> orcas. There were and are numerous worse scenarios than we have now
> and people don't tend to think about them. That's independent of how
> vocal he is here or anywhere else.
>
> I want to say it's not about CoI, as mentioned here numerous times.
> Jimmy and the other Board members from the community (not elected by,
> but from the community; Alice is from the community, too) are not
> corrupted for sure and they are majority. It's normal to suggest the
> best possible options for your organization if you are able to do
> that. Arnnon Geshuri would be strong reinforcement to the Board if
> there is no that serious investigation against him.
>
> Board members are not corrupted, but the system is. We see now how
> serious mistakes could pass because of that.
>
> That small number of people heavily depend on virtues of every
> particular Board member. One of that is long-term institutional
> memory, which, with the exception of Jimmy, we likely don't have for a
> year or more. I know Stu wanted to leave Board years ago. I also know
> Jan-Bart wanted to leave Board at the end of 2014. It's questionable
> to me how strong they were involved into the selection process (also,
> Stu's Yahoo background could be inhibiting to him to say anything
> against candidates of Google background). This situation could have
> been avoided if we had pedantic Wikipedian with OCD inside of the
> Board, but it turns out that we don't have one.
>
> I could imagine the process of selecting the candidates:
>
> Committee:
> - Ideal Board member has to be a woman from a developing country.
> - Oh, but see this guy! I never heard about him, but he's working for
> Tesla and he was working for Google! Wow!
> - OK, the second one then has to be for sure a woman and from a
> developing country.
> - We have a woman!
> - From developing country?
> - No.
> - OK, it's fair enough. We did the job. Jan-Bart and Stu are pretty
> angry as they had to be inside of the Board for one more year.
> - True. We don't have time anymore. Done.
>
> Board:
> - Dariusz: We have two candidates!
> - Stu: Wow, such great candidates! -- while thinking "OMG, Arnnon! He
> approached our HR to make some business with us, but our HR was too
> drunk to talk with him. Whatever, they promised me I am leaving at the
> end of December, so it's not my job anymore."
> - Jan-Bart: Great, may I leave now? Patricio is chair, you don't need
> me anymore! Hohoho! Oh, I have to vote? OK, I am voting!
> - Jimmy: Perfect! -- while thinking "Oh, Arnnon! He is such a nice
> guy! I talked to him on Eric Schmidt's yacht. He knows a lot about
> wines! ... Hmm... I remember Paul Allen told me something about him...
> Never mind, he was just jealous because I am more often on Eric's
> yacht. Besides that, I completely forgot what's that about. Nothing
> serious, I am sure."
> - Patricio: OK. Who will write the statement? My English is not perfect.
> - Alice: Guy, he is Japanese!
>
> I don't think this will be an issue for a long time. I think it's
> clear to Arnnon himself that he is definitely controversial to us.
> However, the pressure, lack of long-term institutional memory and

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

2016-01-10 Thread
Milos, is your email a wind-up?

I find this idea that everything will be okay if we shut up and let
Jimmy select his mates as our future trustees not just a scenario that
should stay in Bizarro World, but the opposite of good governance.

If this is how the WMF actually works, then yes, the WMF really,
*really*, needs a governance review and changes to ensure trustees are
appointed who do not have a history of being found in court to be
acting illegally and get in just because they are exceedingly wealthy,
a good chap according Jimmy, or have just been hanging out at the
right parties for rich Californians.

Imagine a world where the sum of human knowledge was governed by an
open and transparent trusted meritocracy. Wouldn't that be super?

Fae

On 11 January 2016 at 02:18, Milos Rancic  wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 1:37 AM, Dariusz Jemielniak  wrote:
>> I can, however, generally add that we have not collected any nominations
>> from our donors, if this helps.
>
> I can confirm this, as I am sure nothing has changed since NomCom
> existence in relation to this issue, except updating the list with the
> new names and maybe removing some of those proved to be controversial
> (optionally, they are removing controversial ones every time the
> process starts).
>
> NomCom failed mostly because of that list. However, Sue's idea to use
> HR agency turned out to be the best solution, as we got Bishakha.
> (Note for the future: use HR agency; they do the job better than you;
> they are professionals.)
>
> Although I never had particular information, it's obvious that the
> list is mostly consisted of Jimmy's network. That's not necessary bad
> per se. Jimmy has the best connections inside of the Board and while
> some of the names if selected would trigger demonstration in front of
> the WMF office, it is possible to find good names inside of that list.
> However, again, HR agency would do much better job, as they are not
> dilettantes.
>
> There is one more thing in favor of Jimmy. Inside of the relations and
> structure as it's now, Wikimedia movement should thank him for keeping
> the integrity of WMF inside of the sea full of barracudas, sharks and
> orcas. There were and are numerous worse scenarios than we have now
> and people don't tend to think about them. That's independent of how
> vocal he is here or anywhere else.
>
> I want to say it's not about CoI, as mentioned here numerous times.
> Jimmy and the other Board members from the community (not elected by,
> but from the community; Alice is from the community, too) are not
> corrupted for sure and they are majority. It's normal to suggest the
> best possible options for your organization if you are able to do
> that. Arnnon Geshuri would be strong reinforcement to the Board if
> there is no that serious investigation against him.
>
> Board members are not corrupted, but the system is. We see now how
> serious mistakes could pass because of that.
>
> That small number of people heavily depend on virtues of every
> particular Board member. One of that is long-term institutional
> memory, which, with the exception of Jimmy, we likely don't have for a
> year or more. I know Stu wanted to leave Board years ago. I also know
> Jan-Bart wanted to leave Board at the end of 2014. It's questionable
> to me how strong they were involved into the selection process (also,
> Stu's Yahoo background could be inhibiting to him to say anything
> against candidates of Google background). This situation could have
> been avoided if we had pedantic Wikipedian with OCD inside of the
> Board, but it turns out that we don't have one.
>
> I could imagine the process of selecting the candidates:
>
> Committee:
> - Ideal Board member has to be a woman from a developing country.
> - Oh, but see this guy! I never heard about him, but he's working for
> Tesla and he was working for Google! Wow!
> - OK, the second one then has to be for sure a woman and from a
> developing country.
> - We have a woman!
> - From developing country?
> - No.
> - OK, it's fair enough. We did the job. Jan-Bart and Stu are pretty
> angry as they had to be inside of the Board for one more year.
> - True. We don't have time anymore. Done.
>
> Board:
> - Dariusz: We have two candidates!
> - Stu: Wow, such great candidates! -- while thinking "OMG, Arnnon! He
> approached our HR to make some business with us, but our HR was too
> drunk to talk with him. Whatever, they promised me I am leaving at the
> end of December, so it's not my job anymore."
> - Jan-Bart: Great, may I leave now? Patricio is chair, you don't need
> me anymore! Hohoho! Oh, I have to vote? OK, I am voting!
> - Jimmy: Perfect! -- while thinking "Oh, Arnnon! He is such a nice
> guy! I talked to him on Eric Schmidt's yacht. He knows a lot about
> wines! ... Hmm... I remember Paul Allen told me something about him...
> Never mind, he was just jealous because I am more often on Eric's
> yacht. Besides 

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

2016-01-10 Thread Dariusz Jemielniak
On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 7:51 PM, Fæ  wrote:

> On 11 January 2016 at 00:37, Dariusz Jemielniak  wrote:
> ..
> This does not make sense. The existing trustees are *entirely*
> responsible for the trustee selection process, including ensuring a
> transparent and well governed process if nominations are taken.


for clarification: I've meant that the selected new Board members
themselves do not necessarily know who nominated them. Apologies for the
confusion.

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

2016-01-10 Thread
Sorry, this continues to dig a bizarre hole. It would be rude or even
unethical to nominate someone for a demanding trustee position in a
NFP or charity without first personally approaching them in a friendly
way and asking them if they might be interested and would like to be
nominated. I do not know of any charity where prospective trustees
routinely get nominated in secret without the candidate knowing who
put their name forward, though some people respond to public
recruiting adverts for trustee seats. The WMF is not supposed to be
run as if it were a secretive members only club for plutocrats.

There has been no reason given here so far that can explain this
default arbitrary secrecy. It seems very hard not to consider the
possibility that Arnnon's nomination was done in a way that the
community would find unpalatable and would reflect badly on those
involved.

Just make the facts of Arnnon's appointment to the board a matter of
public record, rather than dancing around it.

Fae

On 11 January 2016 at 01:44, Dariusz Jemielniak  wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 7:51 PM, Fæ  wrote:
>>
>> On 11 January 2016 at 00:37, Dariusz Jemielniak  wrote:
>> ..
>> This does not make sense. The existing trustees are *entirely*
>> responsible for the trustee selection process, including ensuring a
>> transparent and well governed process if nominations are taken.
>
>
> for clarification: I've meant that the selected new Board members themselves
> do not necessarily know who nominated them. Apologies for the confusion.
>
> dj

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

2016-01-10 Thread Milos Rancic
On Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 1:37 AM, Dariusz Jemielniak  wrote:
> I can, however, generally add that we have not collected any nominations
> from our donors, if this helps.

I can confirm this, as I am sure nothing has changed since NomCom
existence in relation to this issue, except updating the list with the
new names and maybe removing some of those proved to be controversial
(optionally, they are removing controversial ones every time the
process starts).

NomCom failed mostly because of that list. However, Sue's idea to use
HR agency turned out to be the best solution, as we got Bishakha.
(Note for the future: use HR agency; they do the job better than you;
they are professionals.)

Although I never had particular information, it's obvious that the
list is mostly consisted of Jimmy's network. That's not necessary bad
per se. Jimmy has the best connections inside of the Board and while
some of the names if selected would trigger demonstration in front of
the WMF office, it is possible to find good names inside of that list.
However, again, HR agency would do much better job, as they are not
dilettantes.

There is one more thing in favor of Jimmy. Inside of the relations and
structure as it's now, Wikimedia movement should thank him for keeping
the integrity of WMF inside of the sea full of barracudas, sharks and
orcas. There were and are numerous worse scenarios than we have now
and people don't tend to think about them. That's independent of how
vocal he is here or anywhere else.

I want to say it's not about CoI, as mentioned here numerous times.
Jimmy and the other Board members from the community (not elected by,
but from the community; Alice is from the community, too) are not
corrupted for sure and they are majority. It's normal to suggest the
best possible options for your organization if you are able to do
that. Arnnon Geshuri would be strong reinforcement to the Board if
there is no that serious investigation against him.

Board members are not corrupted, but the system is. We see now how
serious mistakes could pass because of that.

That small number of people heavily depend on virtues of every
particular Board member. One of that is long-term institutional
memory, which, with the exception of Jimmy, we likely don't have for a
year or more. I know Stu wanted to leave Board years ago. I also know
Jan-Bart wanted to leave Board at the end of 2014. It's questionable
to me how strong they were involved into the selection process (also,
Stu's Yahoo background could be inhibiting to him to say anything
against candidates of Google background). This situation could have
been avoided if we had pedantic Wikipedian with OCD inside of the
Board, but it turns out that we don't have one.

I could imagine the process of selecting the candidates:

Committee:
- Ideal Board member has to be a woman from a developing country.
- Oh, but see this guy! I never heard about him, but he's working for
Tesla and he was working for Google! Wow!
- OK, the second one then has to be for sure a woman and from a
developing country.
- We have a woman!
- From developing country?
- No.
- OK, it's fair enough. We did the job. Jan-Bart and Stu are pretty
angry as they had to be inside of the Board for one more year.
- True. We don't have time anymore. Done.

Board:
- Dariusz: We have two candidates!
- Stu: Wow, such great candidates! -- while thinking "OMG, Arnnon! He
approached our HR to make some business with us, but our HR was too
drunk to talk with him. Whatever, they promised me I am leaving at the
end of December, so it's not my job anymore."
- Jan-Bart: Great, may I leave now? Patricio is chair, you don't need
me anymore! Hohoho! Oh, I have to vote? OK, I am voting!
- Jimmy: Perfect! -- while thinking "Oh, Arnnon! He is such a nice
guy! I talked to him on Eric Schmidt's yacht. He knows a lot about
wines! ... Hmm... I remember Paul Allen told me something about him...
Never mind, he was just jealous because I am more often on Eric's
yacht. Besides that, I completely forgot what's that about. Nothing
serious, I am sure."
- Patricio: OK. Who will write the statement? My English is not perfect.
- Alice: Guy, he is Japanese!

I don't think this will be an issue for a long time. I think it's
clear to Arnnon himself that he is definitely controversial to us.
However, the pressure, lack of long-term institutional memory and
small number of persons in the Board tend to create an open field for
dilettantism.

On the other hand, I am sure that we could find relevant place for
every non-controversial Jimmy's friend willing to contribute to our
movement. I would like to see, for example, Richard Branson inside of
Wikimedia movement, helping us to create Enterprise. And I am serious.
We have to be bold and we have to be friends with other bold people.
OK, maybe not Enterprise, but Stanford Torus inside of the Earth's
orbit would do the job, as well :)

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

2016-01-10 Thread John Mark Vandenberg
On Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 12:44 PM, Dariusz Jemielniak  wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 7:51 PM, Fæ  wrote:
>
>> On 11 January 2016 at 00:37, Dariusz Jemielniak  wrote:
>> ..
>> This does not make sense. The existing trustees are *entirely*
>> responsible for the trustee selection process, including ensuring a
>> transparent and well governed process if nominations are taken.
>
>
> for clarification: I've meant that the selected new Board members
> themselves do not necessarily know who nominated them. Apologies for the
> confusion.

Hi Dariusz,

Do you mean you have no knowledge of who nominated the candidates?
Im also having difficulty understanding how you could vote without
being aware of who nominated the candidates.
But there are some ways that could be OK, if not ideal.

Was the filtering process concluded before you were appointed to the board?
Or was the filtering process done by a subcommittee?
Or was nomination data not provided as part of the info pack about
each candidate?
Or something else...?

How many candidates for these two seats did you (personally) evaluate
before voting to appoint these two?

-- 
John Vandenberg

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

2016-01-10 Thread Lilburne

On 10/01/2016 04:04, Comet styles wrote:

Jimmy has always been biased so I personally won't trust his words but
the way this is playing out, its like James somehow revealed the pass
codes to the WMF Nuclear launch codes or something...did he?

A board made up to govern a community driven project filled with
people no one voted in decides to give a community selected board
member the boot for reason which they supposedly 'cannot' reveal and
they wonder why the community is pissed off at them?



Meanwhile one knows that a Google appointed board member objected to James,
presence at a meeting where they were most likely to be finalizing the 
appointment

of another from the Googleplex, who is a little tarnished.


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

2016-01-10 Thread James Alexander
I will admit that if I knew I would likely not be wiling to say without
talking to others first. However I will never lie and I can honestly say
that I do not.

On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 2:27 AM, Fæ  wrote:

> Hi James Alexander,
>
> Thanks for writing here. As a WMF insider, do you know who recommended
> Arnnon to the trustees for a seat on the board?
>
> I can think of no reason why that should be a secret.
>
> Thanks,
> Fae
>
> On 10 January 2016 at 10:16, James Alexander  wrote:
> > Oh dear god everyone... [This is in general, not any specific person]
> >
> > I think everyone knows there are a lot of legitimate concerns to be
> > concerned about and certainly Arnnon's actions at Google are legitimate
> for
> > question however this whole "google is controlling the board/wmf" line of
> > thought is turning into a huge and enormous conspiracy theory and what
> > seems to be a giant school of red herring
> > . We haven't quite yet
> gotten to
> > "Frieda has 6 letters in her name and you know what else has 6 letters in
> > it's name? GOOGLE!" but we're getting damn close. If anything the only
> > concern about google I've heard within the actual WMF is that the
> > "Knowledge Engine" was a plan to 'compete' against google for traffic
> (for
> > the record my personal opinion is that would be a waste of money on
> > something we could never succeed if true but ALSO that it isn't actually
> > true at all at this point).
> >
> > There are a lot of people with legitimate and understandable concerns (in
> > many ways I wish I could take part in the discussion but there is just no
> > good way to do that) but please let's try to keep the lines of thought as
> > sane as possible (which I know is the norm for all of you so I know it's
> > possible). When people get worked up and there is a lack of information
> our
> > imagination can always get the best of us, I certainly understand that,
> but
> > it is rarely helpful.
> >
> > James
> > User:Jamesofur
> > User:Jalexander-WMF
>
> --
> fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-10 Thread Yaroslav M. Blanter

On 2016-01-10 10:49, Lilburne wrote:
Meanwhile one knows that a Google appointed board member objected to 
James,

presence at a meeting where they were most likely to be finalizing the
appointment
of another from the Googleplex, who is a little tarnished.



Would you please remain civil. We do not have a Google appointed board 
member, nor the bylaws provide a possibility for Google to appoint a 
board member. If you mean Denny, he was not Google appointed, but 
community elected, which makes a big difference. I, for one, voted for 
him.


Cheers
Yaroslav

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

2016-01-10 Thread Tobias
On 01/10/2016 11:16 AM, James Alexander wrote:
> Oh dear god everyone... [This is in general, not any specific person]
> 
> I think everyone knows there are a lot of legitimate concerns to be
> concerned about and certainly Arnnon's actions at Google are legitimate for
> question however this whole "google is controlling the board/wmf" line of
> thought is turning into a huge and enormous conspiracy theory and what
> seems to be a giant school of red herring

I completely agree with you James. But, I do think that besides the
specific concerns over Arnnon, an overrepresentation of
Google-affiliated members in the board is a problem. Not because there
is a conspiracy, but because it is a lack of diversity.

In addition, it poses problems whenever the board has to decide anything
Google related. As a matter of principle, for any vote, board members
with a conflict of interest should abstain. If the majority of board
members have to abstain, this leaves the decision to a minority and thus
reduces its legitimacy.

Tobias



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

2016-01-10 Thread
On 10 January 2016 at 09:53, Yaroslav M. Blanter  wrote:
> On 2016-01-10 10:49, Lilburne wrote:
>> Meanwhile one knows that a Google appointed board member objected to
>> James,
>> presence at a meeting where they were most likely to be finalizing the
>> appointment
>> of another from the Googleplex, who is a little tarnished.
> Would you please remain civil. We do not have a Google appointed board
> member, nor the bylaws provide a possibility for Google to appoint a board
> member. If you mean Denny, he was not Google appointed, but community
> elected, which makes a big difference. I, for one, voted for him.

Literally speaking, Denny was appointed by Google to Google, so
"Google appointed board member" is not untrue, though "board member on
Google's payroll" would be less confusing.

As for a member of the "Googleplex" who is "a little tarnished", well
that's a mild way of putting the facts about illegal activities of
major public interest, very polite even.

To help debunk conspiracy theorists, it would be interesting to find
out how many of the board of trustees have shares in Google, a useful
way of finding out who is part of the Googleplex. Presumably current
and past employees would have taken their stock options. Is that
possible to discover from the public record in the USA?

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

2016-01-10 Thread James Alexander
Oh dear god everyone... [This is in general, not any specific person]

I think everyone knows there are a lot of legitimate concerns to be
concerned about and certainly Arnnon's actions at Google are legitimate for
question however this whole "google is controlling the board/wmf" line of
thought is turning into a huge and enormous conspiracy theory and what
seems to be a giant school of red herring
. We haven't quite yet gotten to
"Frieda has 6 letters in her name and you know what else has 6 letters in
it's name? GOOGLE!" but we're getting damn close. If anything the only
concern about google I've heard within the actual WMF is that the
"Knowledge Engine" was a plan to 'compete' against google for traffic (for
the record my personal opinion is that would be a waste of money on
something we could never succeed if true but ALSO that it isn't actually
true at all at this point).

There are a lot of people with legitimate and understandable concerns (in
many ways I wish I could take part in the discussion but there is just no
good way to do that) but please let's try to keep the lines of thought as
sane as possible (which I know is the norm for all of you so I know it's
possible). When people get worked up and there is a lack of information our
imagination can always get the best of us, I certainly understand that, but
it is rarely helpful.

James
User:Jamesofur
User:Jalexander-WMF

On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 2:03 AM, Fæ  wrote:

> On 10 January 2016 at 09:53, Yaroslav M. Blanter  wrote:
> > On 2016-01-10 10:49, Lilburne wrote:
> >> Meanwhile one knows that a Google appointed board member objected to
> >> James,
> >> presence at a meeting where they were most likely to be finalizing the
> >> appointment
> >> of another from the Googleplex, who is a little tarnished.
> > Would you please remain civil. We do not have a Google appointed board
> > member, nor the bylaws provide a possibility for Google to appoint a
> board
> > member. If you mean Denny, he was not Google appointed, but community
> > elected, which makes a big difference. I, for one, voted for him.
>
> Literally speaking, Denny was appointed by Google to Google, so
> "Google appointed board member" is not untrue, though "board member on
> Google's payroll" would be less confusing.
>
> As for a member of the "Googleplex" who is "a little tarnished", well
> that's a mild way of putting the facts about illegal activities of
> major public interest, very polite even.
>
> To help debunk conspiracy theorists, it would be interesting to find
> out how many of the board of trustees have shares in Google, a useful
> way of finding out who is part of the Googleplex. Presumably current
> and past employees would have taken their stock options. Is that
> possible to discover from the public record in the USA?
>
> Fae
> --
> fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-10 Thread
Hi James Alexander,

Thanks for writing here. As a WMF insider, do you know who recommended
Arnnon to the trustees for a seat on the board?

I can think of no reason why that should be a secret.

Thanks,
Fae

On 10 January 2016 at 10:16, James Alexander  wrote:
> Oh dear god everyone... [This is in general, not any specific person]
>
> I think everyone knows there are a lot of legitimate concerns to be
> concerned about and certainly Arnnon's actions at Google are legitimate for
> question however this whole "google is controlling the board/wmf" line of
> thought is turning into a huge and enormous conspiracy theory and what
> seems to be a giant school of red herring
> . We haven't quite yet gotten to
> "Frieda has 6 letters in her name and you know what else has 6 letters in
> it's name? GOOGLE!" but we're getting damn close. If anything the only
> concern about google I've heard within the actual WMF is that the
> "Knowledge Engine" was a plan to 'compete' against google for traffic (for
> the record my personal opinion is that would be a waste of money on
> something we could never succeed if true but ALSO that it isn't actually
> true at all at this point).
>
> There are a lot of people with legitimate and understandable concerns (in
> many ways I wish I could take part in the discussion but there is just no
> good way to do that) but please let's try to keep the lines of thought as
> sane as possible (which I know is the norm for all of you so I know it's
> possible). When people get worked up and there is a lack of information our
> imagination can always get the best of us, I certainly understand that, but
> it is rarely helpful.
>
> James
> User:Jamesofur
> User:Jalexander-WMF

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

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

2016-01-10 Thread Andrea Zanni
I totally second James' invitation to avoid a certain tone, language and
conspiracy theories.
I will also add that the more those tone, language, and conspiracy theories
are used in these threads,
the *less* likely a good chunk of the community will participate in
conversation.

If we really want to be open and inclusive, please remain civil, polite and
constructive.
Wikimedia-l is not a felt as a "safe space" and this is a huge problem: at
least if we want meaningful, helpful, rich discussions.

This is not to say we do not have to clearly state what we think (and
feel): but please, let us avoid (metaphorical) pitchforks.

Thanks.

Aubrey

On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 11:39 AM, James Alexander 
wrote:

> I will admit that if I knew I would likely not be wiling to say without
> talking to others first. However I will never lie and I can honestly say
> that I do not.
>
> On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 2:27 AM, Fæ  wrote:
>
> > Hi James Alexander,
> >
> > Thanks for writing here. As a WMF insider, do you know who recommended
> > Arnnon to the trustees for a seat on the board?
> >
> > I can think of no reason why that should be a secret.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Fae
> >
> > On 10 January 2016 at 10:16, James Alexander 
> wrote:
> > > Oh dear god everyone... [This is in general, not any specific person]
> > >
> > > I think everyone knows there are a lot of legitimate concerns to be
> > > concerned about and certainly Arnnon's actions at Google are legitimate
> > for
> > > question however this whole "google is controlling the board/wmf" line
> of
> > > thought is turning into a huge and enormous conspiracy theory and what
> > > seems to be a giant school of red herring
> > > . We haven't quite yet
> > gotten to
> > > "Frieda has 6 letters in her name and you know what else has 6 letters
> in
> > > it's name? GOOGLE!" but we're getting damn close. If anything the only
> > > concern about google I've heard within the actual WMF is that the
> > > "Knowledge Engine" was a plan to 'compete' against google for traffic
> > (for
> > > the record my personal opinion is that would be a waste of money on
> > > something we could never succeed if true but ALSO that it isn't
> actually
> > > true at all at this point).
> > >
> > > There are a lot of people with legitimate and understandable concerns
> (in
> > > many ways I wish I could take part in the discussion but there is just
> no
> > > good way to do that) but please let's try to keep the lines of thought
> as
> > > sane as possible (which I know is the norm for all of you so I know
> it's
> > > possible). When people get worked up and there is a lack of information
> > our
> > > imagination can always get the best of us, I certainly understand that,
> > but
> > > it is rarely helpful.
> > >
> > > James
> > > User:Jamesofur
> > > User:Jalexander-WMF
> >
> > --
> > fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae
> >
> > ___
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> > 
> >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-10 Thread Dariusz Jemielniak
10.01.2016 05:04 "Fæ"  napisał(a):
>
> To help debunk conspiracy theorists, it would be interesting to find
> out how many of the board of trustees have shares in Google, a useful
> way of finding out who is part of the Googleplex.

While I don't have, and never had (nor expect to have in the future) any
shares in Google, I have to make a full disclosure that I do use Google for
my internet searches (Google.pl, to be exact, which may also be
occasionally relevant).

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

2016-01-10 Thread Dariusz Jemielniak
On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 10:22 AM, Fæ  wrote:

> Thanks for talking about it Dariusz.
>
> Could you please make a serious declaration of interests as is being
> discussed at [1]. This will help set a ethical model for the rest of
> the WMF board to follow without needing a year to think about it. If
> you want to check some best practice examples of meaningful and frank
> declarations, take a look at WMUK's.[2]
>

I have no problem with that. You've provided links from WMUK, so until
there is something similar for WMF, I don't think we can expect all Board
members to make declarations (but I also think it would be a good practice
to develop a similar model for WMF board, just observing that I don't know
of one yet; I will ask).

I terms of shares, I am a major shareholder in Druid Multimedia sp. z o. o.
(Polish abbreviation for LLC), which developed the largest online
dictionary in Poland. If there are any discussions related to Wiktionary or
other dictionary services (e.g. within Wikidata)  and the dictionary is
still published by the company, I am going to recuse myself. I also own a
significant number of shares in Insta.Ling sp. z o. o., which is a startup
oriented at online flashcard language acquisition (currently with about
50,000 users in Poland and Germany). If there is ever a language
acquisition project discussed, and I'm still in, I'm going to recuse
myself.

I've also had a number of academic affiliations, but these can hardly be
considered a potential COI, I think.

I'm glad the conversation is back to more civilized - I have to admit that
I don't quite enjoy being called a clown (while I have a healthy respect
and awe for clowns, and I don't consider myself to be suffering from
coulrophobia).

cheers,

dj


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

2016-01-10 Thread
Thanks Dariusz, nice example declaration for the rest of the board to
think about.

I look forward to reading about the WMF board follow-up, as this is an
easy win to demonstrate improved governance, at a time when we need to
count a few quick wins in the good-will bank.

Fae

On 10 January 2016 at 15:40, Dariusz Jemielniak  wrote:
>
> On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 10:22 AM, Fæ  wrote:
>>
>> Thanks for talking about it Dariusz.
>>
>> Could you please make a serious declaration of interests as is being
>> discussed at [1]. This will help set a ethical model for the rest of
>> the WMF board to follow without needing a year to think about it. If
>> you want to check some best practice examples of meaningful and frank
>> declarations, take a look at WMUK's.[2]
>
>
> I have no problem with that. You've provided links from WMUK, so until there
> is something similar for WMF, I don't think we can expect all Board members
> to make declarations (but I also think it would be a good practice to
> develop a similar model for WMF board, just observing that I don't know of
> one yet; I will ask).
>
> I terms of shares, I am a major shareholder in Druid Multimedia sp. z o. o.
> (Polish abbreviation for LLC), which developed the largest online dictionary
> in Poland. If there are any discussions related to Wiktionary or other
> dictionary services (e.g. within Wikidata)  and the dictionary is still
> published by the company, I am going to recuse myself. I also own a
> significant number of shares in Insta.Ling sp. z o. o., which is a startup
> oriented at online flashcard language acquisition (currently with about
> 50,000 users in Poland and Germany). If there is ever a language acquisition
> project discussed, and I'm still in, I'm going to recuse myself.
>
> I've also had a number of academic affiliations, but these can hardly be
> considered a potential COI, I think.
>
> I'm glad the conversation is back to more civilized - I have to admit that I
> don't quite enjoy being called a clown (while I have a healthy respect and
> awe for clowns, and I don't consider myself to be suffering from
> coulrophobia).
>
> cheers,
>
> dj
-- 
fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae

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

2016-01-10 Thread
Thanks for talking about it Dariusz.

Could you please make a serious declaration of interests as is being
discussed at [1]. This will help set a ethical model for the rest of
the WMF board to follow without needing a year to think about it. If
you want to check some best practice examples of meaningful and frank
declarations, take a look at WMUK's.[2]

Link
1. 
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_transparency_gap#Conflicts_of_interest_-_investments
2. https://wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/Declarations_of_Interest

Thanks,
Fae

On 10 January 2016 at 14:14, Dariusz Jemielniak  wrote:
> 10.01.2016 05:04 "Fæ"  napisał(a):
>>
>> To help debunk conspiracy theorists, it would be interesting to find
>> out how many of the board of trustees have shares in Google, a useful
>> way of finding out who is part of the Googleplex.
>
> While I don't have, and never had (nor expect to have in the future) any
> shares in Google, I have to make a full disclosure that I do use Google for
> my internet searches (Google.pl, to be exact, which may also be
> occasionally relevant).
-- 
fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae

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

2016-01-10 Thread Tim Landscheidt
Dariusz Jemielniak  wrote:

>> Thanks for talking about it Dariusz.

>> Could you please make a serious declaration of interests as is being
>> discussed at [1]. This will help set a ethical model for the rest of
>> the WMF board to follow without needing a year to think about it. If
>> you want to check some best practice examples of meaningful and frank
>> declarations, take a look at WMUK's.[2]

> I have no problem with that. You've provided links from WMUK, so until
> there is something similar for WMF, I don't think we can expect all Board
> members to make declarations (but I also think it would be a good practice
> to develop a similar model for WMF board, just observing that I don't know
> of one yet; I will ask).

> I terms of shares, I am a major shareholder in Druid Multimedia sp. z o. o.
> (Polish abbreviation for LLC), which developed the largest online
> dictionary in Poland. If there are any discussions related to Wiktionary or
> other dictionary services (e.g. within Wikidata)  and the dictionary is
> still published by the company, I am going to recuse myself. I also own a
> significant number of shares in Insta.Ling sp. z o. o., which is a startup
> oriented at online flashcard language acquisition (currently with about
> 50,000 users in Poland and Germany). If there is ever a language
> acquisition project discussed, and I'm still in, I'm going to recuse
> myself.

> I've also had a number of academic affiliations, but these can hardly be
> considered a potential COI, I think.

> […]

This illustrates the common (mis-)interpretation of con-
flicts of interests quite nicely: When it concerns Wikime-
dia, "interest" is something non-material, "duty"/"honour"/
etc., the conflicting interests however can always be mea-
sured in dollars.

WMUK's practice recognizes to a degree that there are non-
financial interests; that they have found nine people who
can name their interests for the most part in one paragraph
and none has friends or family shows the limits of such a
system.

To me this insistence on declaring (blatant) conflicts of
interests or labelling them with price tags is a red her-
ring.  The "quality" of a trustee or staffer should be mea-
sured only by how far they advanced the organization.  Noone
should be able to excuse damaging it with the argument that
they did not profit from the downfall.

Tim


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

2016-01-10 Thread Florence Devouard

Le 10/01/16 16:40, Dariusz Jemielniak a écrit :

On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 10:22 AM, Fæ  wrote:


Thanks for talking about it Dariusz.

Could you please make a serious declaration of interests as is being
discussed at [1]. This will help set a ethical model for the rest of
the WMF board to follow without needing a year to think about it. If
you want to check some best practice examples of meaningful and frank
declarations, take a look at WMUK's.[2]



I have no problem with that. You've provided links from WMUK, so until
there is something similar for WMF, I don't think we can expect all Board
members to make declarations (but I also think it would be a good practice
to develop a similar model for WMF board, just observing that I don't know
of one yet; I will ask).


Oh...

Right...

Please check
* https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Policies
This is the list of policies you are bound to.

And amongst those, I would like to point out to:
* https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Conflict_of_interest_policy
* https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Pledge_of_personal_commitment

I am saddened to discover that pretty obviously... the board is no more 
following a policy it approved many years ago.


And also saddened to discover that new board members are not oriented 
about their obligations. Nor do new board members actually look at WMF 
site (if only to point out to approved policies obviously disregarded).



Florence



I terms of shares, I am a major shareholder in Druid Multimedia sp. z o. o.
(Polish abbreviation for LLC), which developed the largest online
dictionary in Poland. If there are any discussions related to Wiktionary or
other dictionary services (e.g. within Wikidata)  and the dictionary is
still published by the company, I am going to recuse myself. I also own a
significant number of shares in Insta.Ling sp. z o. o., which is a startup
oriented at online flashcard language acquisition (currently with about
50,000 users in Poland and Germany). If there is ever a language
acquisition project discussed, and I'm still in, I'm going to recuse
myself.

I've also had a number of academic affiliations, but these can hardly be
considered a potential COI, I think.

I'm glad the conversation is back to more civilized - I have to admit that
I don't quite enjoy being called a clown (while I have a healthy respect
and awe for clowns, and I don't consider myself to be suffering from
coulrophobia).

cheers,

dj





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

2016-01-10 Thread SarahSV
On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 8:40 AM, Dariusz Jemielniak 
wrote:

> On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 10:22 AM, Fæ  wrote:
>
> > Thanks for talking about it Dariusz.


​Dariusz, would you please tell us who suggested​
 Arnnon Geshuri
​ for a seat on the Board?

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

2016-01-10 Thread Dariusz Jemielniak
>
>
> ​Dariusz, would you please tell us who suggested​
>  Arnnon Geshuri
> ​ for a seat on the Board?
>
>
AFAIK we have not been sharing this information historically, and I don't
think we are going to now - even the Board members themselves don't know,
and quite likely should not know who nominated them. I also fail to see why
it would matter - people should stand or fail on their own.

I can, however, generally add that we have not collected any nominations
from our donors, if this helps.


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

2016-01-10 Thread Samuel Klein
On Jan 10, 2016 12:33, "Florence Devouard"  wrote:

>>> Could you please make a serious declaration of interests as is being
>>> discussed at [1]. This will help set a ethical model for the rest of
>>> the WMF board to follow without needing a year to think about it. If
>>> you want to check some best practice examples of meaningful and frank
>>> declarations, take a look at WMUK's.[2]
>>
>> I have no problem with that. You've provided links from WMUK, so until
>> there is something similar for WMF, I don't think we can expect all Board
>> members to make declarations (but I also think it would be a good
practice
>> to develop a similar model for WMF board, just observing that I don't
know
>> of one yet; I will ask).
>
> I would like to point out to:
> * https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Conflict_of_interest_policy
> * https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Pledge_of_personal_commitment
>
> I am saddened to discover that pretty obviously... the board is no more
following a policy it approved many years ago.

At least as of last summer, board members all follow those policies:
Taking a pledge of personal commitment on joining, and making a COI
declaration each year.

These are not currently public; that is a difference from WMUK practice.

WMF board members in my experience do recuse themselves from any decision
where they may be conflicted - more strictly than in other organizations I
know.

> And also saddened to discover that
> new board members are not oriented about their obligations.

There is an orientation session in person each year, as well as online.
There is surely room for improvement, but it is part of the annual agenda.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-10 Thread
On 11 January 2016 at 00:37, Dariusz Jemielniak  wrote:
...
> AFAIK we have not been sharing this information historically, and I don't
> think we are going to now - even the Board members themselves don't know,
> and quite likely should not know who nominated them. I also fail to see why
> it would matter - people should stand or fail on their own.

This does not make sense. The existing trustees are *entirely*
responsible for the trustee selection process, including ensuring a
transparent and well governed process if nominations are taken.

As an unlikely example, if the only nominations that get through to
the board were nominated and on the personal network of one current
trustee, then yes, the rest of the board of trustees must know that a
conflict of interest was at play, rather than presuming that an
unbiased process happened without you understanding it or caring about
it.

It's been said before, there is no possible reason for this
information to be secret. Please publish it or give a real explanation
of why it must be kept a secret rather than "because we want to" or
"because it was always kept a secret".

Fae

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

2016-01-10 Thread SarahSV
On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 5:37 PM, Dariusz Jemielniak 
wrote:

>
>> ​Dariusz, would you please tell us who suggested​
>>  Arnnon Geshuri
>> ​ for a seat on the Board?
>>
>>
> AFAIK we have not been sharing this information historically, and I don't
> think we are going to now - even the Board members themselves don't know,
> and quite likely should not know who nominated them. I also fail to see why
> it would matter - people should stand or fail on their own.
>
> I can, however, generally add that we have not collected any nominations
> from our donors, if this helps.
>
>
>
Dariusz, my request is that you make it public on this occasion. Given the
new trustee's involvement in this
,
the nomination is surprising. I'm also concerned that you seemed not to be
aware of the background, but you supported the appointment, so it raises a
general question about how these decisions are made.​

Trust in the Board is low at the moment. Transparency will go a long way to
restoring it.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-09 Thread MZMcBride
Milos Rancic wrote:
>Our technology is based on the concept from 1990s, implemented in 2001
>and slightly changed up to the moment. The only major technology which
>catches 2005 (Visual Editor) is in alpha or beta stage, depending on
>how harsh QA process would be implemented.
>
>Something should be done with that. While I would be much more happy
>with a social and gaming platform, I think anything towards technology
>innovation is good, as during the last 15 years our technology
>innovation was around zero. The most important Sue's impact on
>Wikimedia is financial stability. I expect that the most important
>Lila's impact on Wikimedia will be moving it from technologically
>passive organization to an active one.

I think we should have you use only UseModWiki for a few months and then
you can come back and tell us whether we've actually made any improvements
to our technology stack since 2001. :-)

In parts, our sites certainly look staid, dated, or even boring, but we
have a number of cool new features, with more to come, of course. Briefly
putting all of this recent drama and in-fighting aside, the most vital
part of the Wikimedia Foundation's responsibilities, keeping the sites
running fast, reliably, and securely, is being appropriately handled.
The world continues to be able to read and contribute to our shared free
content and for that I'm grateful. The rest is commentary, as they say.

MZMcBride



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

2016-01-09 Thread Milos Rancic
On Sat, Jan 9, 2016 at 9:48 AM, geni  wrote:
> On 9 January 2016 at 02:07, Milos Rancic  wrote:
>> On top of that, unlike Sue, Lila is a geek. And geeks have troubles in
>> understanding the social impact of their actions, especially inside of
>> the extraordinary complex environment of Wikimedia movement.
>
> You aren't seriously trying that argument are you? in any case it doesn't
> really help since people skills are a job requirement for WMF ED.

I tried to shorten the explanation, but, obviously it didn't work :)

The position of WMF ED is likely the most complex position inside of
the Wikimedia movement. Board is a collective body and they are rarely
involved in lower than policy level decision making. ED has to care
about the effects of her decisions not only on practical level, but
about their political implications inside of the movement: What would
say editors of English Wikipedia? What would say Wikimedia Germany?
What's going on on wikimedia-l? Signpost? Any independent Wikimedian
who's position could affect many others? Ideally, WMF ED should have
skills of one prime minister.

Besides that and unlike in the most of the organizations, WMF
employees are not just regular employees, but their voice is also very
important inside of our movement, as their contribution to the
movement itself is extraordinary significant. WMF ED doesn't lead
ordinary employees, with whom she can act in the traditional
capitalist way.

WMF Board never searched for a person with "skills of one prime
minister". Their decision is to have either a Bay Area "we are saving
the world" NPO or Bay Area "Elon Musk is God" NPO. Bad side of the
approach is that it will never cover all necessary things; good side
of the approach is that Wikimedia movement is fairly decentralized and
the rest of us could cover what's missing. And I think that it's
easier to cover social than technological part, as technological part
assumes highly structured workflow which volunteers can't implement.

On Sat, Jan 9, 2016 at 1:54 PM, MZMcBride  wrote:
> I think we should have you use only UseModWiki for a few months and then
> you can come back and tell us whether we've actually made any improvements
> to our technology stack since 2001. :-)
>
> In parts, our sites certainly look staid, dated, or even boring, but we
> have a number of cool new features, with more to come, of course. Briefly
> putting all of this recent drama and in-fighting aside, the most vital
> part of the Wikimedia Foundation's responsibilities, keeping the sites
> running fast, reliably, and securely, is being appropriately handled.
> The world continues to be able to read and contribute to our shared free
> content and for that I'm grateful. The rest is commentary, as they say.

I never said that WMF engineering team did bad job during the last 15
years. Besides that, I am completely aware that there were and are a
lot of good ideas, some of them invisible for the end user, some of
them never implemented because of lack of capacity of higher
management and stubbornness of Wikipedia editors.

Thanks to Sue, we are far away from struggling with money for servers
and operations. And your position -- we are fine as Wikimedia servers
are up and running -- is serious and widespread issue among the
Wikimedia veterans, which affects the whole movement. I remember the
time when I was personally highly anxious because it wasn't that clear
that WMF would have had money for the servers next year, too. I am
relieved by the fact that that's a non-issue for at least five years,
too.

But that reasoning -- we were struggling for food, we have the food
now and that's the top achievement of our lives -- is something which
have put us as a movement into the prolonged state of melancholy. Not
that we are not attractive to new generations, we are not attractive
even to ourselves.

You have to be hungry, remember vividly hungry times, be very
imaginative or high on drugs to be excited when you open a
refrigerator full of food. As I don't think any of us remember vividly
the time before approximately 2010, as well as being very imaginative
is not that common trait, we have to be high on drugs to be excited by
the fact that WMF has enough money to pay bills for a lot of servers
and people maintaining them.

We need to go further because we can. And that's not just an empty
phrase. We already feel the effects of not going further. People tend
to be demotivated and we depend on the motivation of volunteers.

The time of financial stabilization passed. Wikimedia movement is now
financially stable. We should use that stability to move forward. And
making visible and important technological advancements is something
we need for a long time.

-- 
Milos

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

2016-01-09 Thread MZMcBride
On January 8, 2016, the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees issued "a
short statement on recent comments by James Heilman". For completeness'
sake, I'm pasting the text of that statement into this thread.

---
Recently, James Heilman wrote, regarding his removal from the Wikimedia
Foundation Board: "It had in part to do with me wanting there to be public
discussion on our long term strategy."
[https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Jimbo_Wales=next
=698553023 diff].

I wrote the following statement, which has been agreed to by the entire
board at the time, names below:

"The removal of James as a board member was not due to any disagreement
about public discussion of our long term strategy.  The board unanimously
supports public discussion of our long term strategy, has offered no
objections to any board member discussing long term strategy with the
community at any time, and strongly supports that the Wikimedia Foundation
should develop long term strategy in consultation with the community."

* Dariusz Jemielniak
* Frieda Brioschi
* Denny Vrandecic
* Patricio Lorente
* Alice Wiegand
* Guy Kawasaki
* Jan-Bart de Vreede
* Stu West
* Jimmy Wales

I would like to add to this, speaking for myself only, that the loss of
trust that I felt in James was in no small part due to this kind of
statement on his part, in which the thinking of other board members is
being misrepresented to the community and to the staff.  James apologized
to the board for certain actions which he has chosen not to share with the
community, which is his right.  He asked for a second chance, and the
board declined to give it.  My own preference, as expressed to him
repeatedly, is that he live up to the values of honesty and transparency
that are core to our community, and certainly that he not continue to
misrepresent what happened.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:31, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
---

Source: .

Obviously a single mailing list thread can't and won't capture all of the
information related to this removal, but it seemed remiss to omit an
official statement from the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees on the
subject, especially when we have already included a number of other
statements from individual trustees and the Board in this thread.

MZMcBride



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

2016-01-09 Thread Comet styles
Jimmy has always been biased so I personally won't trust his words but
the way this is playing out, its like James somehow revealed the pass
codes to the WMF Nuclear launch codes or something...did he?

A board made up to govern a community driven project filled with
people no one voted in decides to give a community selected board
member the boot for reason which they supposedly 'cannot' reveal and
they wonder why the community is pissed off at them?

The FAQ on James removal gives nothing away and the community will
only accept an answer which they deem truthful, we have yet to get
one You only dismiss board/staff members when they waste away
millions on something which has no future (which they didn't) or if
they steal..sorry but a BoT member talking to staff about an ongoing
issue is not good enough a reason for removal..We will be celebrating
15 years of wikipedia soon, 9ish of those years were great, the last 6
years felt like an ongoing battle between the community and the
bloated staff/board with forced changes to the wmf wikis and
unexplained hiring, firings and wastage of money which we do not
have...

Atleast those that have been in the project for a while now would
fondly remember the good times on the wikis, back when bureaucracy did
not play any part in changing the direction the project was
heading.so now i ask the one question we all have been
ponderingWhen are the Google-ads coming?

On 1/10/16, MZMcBride  wrote:
> On January 8, 2016, the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees issued "a
> short statement on recent comments by James Heilman". For completeness'
> sake, I'm pasting the text of that statement into this thread.
>
> ---
> Recently, James Heilman wrote, regarding his removal from the Wikimedia
> Foundation Board: "It had in part to do with me wanting there to be public
> discussion on our long term strategy."
> [https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Jimbo_Wales=next
> =698553023 diff].
>
> I wrote the following statement, which has been agreed to by the entire
> board at the time, names below:
>
> "The removal of James as a board member was not due to any disagreement
> about public discussion of our long term strategy.  The board unanimously
> supports public discussion of our long term strategy, has offered no
> objections to any board member discussing long term strategy with the
> community at any time, and strongly supports that the Wikimedia Foundation
> should develop long term strategy in consultation with the community."
>
> * Dariusz Jemielniak
> * Frieda Brioschi
> * Denny Vrandecic
> * Patricio Lorente
> * Alice Wiegand
> * Guy Kawasaki
> * Jan-Bart de Vreede
> * Stu West
> * Jimmy Wales
>
> I would like to add to this, speaking for myself only, that the loss of
> trust that I felt in James was in no small part due to this kind of
> statement on his part, in which the thinking of other board members is
> being misrepresented to the community and to the staff.  James apologized
> to the board for certain actions which he has chosen not to share with the
> community, which is his right.  He asked for a second chance, and the
> board declined to give it.  My own preference, as expressed to him
> repeatedly, is that he live up to the values of honesty and transparency
> that are core to our community, and certainly that he not continue to
> misrepresent what happened.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:31, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
> ---
>
> Source: .
>
> Obviously a single mailing list thread can't and won't capture all of the
> information related to this removal, but it seemed remiss to omit an
> official statement from the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees on the
> subject, especially when we have already included a number of other
> statements from individual trustees and the Board in this thread.
>
> MZMcBride
>
>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-09 Thread geni
On 9 January 2016 at 02:07, Milos Rancic  wrote:

>
>
> On top of that, unlike Sue, Lila is a geek. And geeks have troubles in
> understanding the social impact of their actions, especially inside of
> the extraordinary complex environment of Wikimedia movement.
>

You aren't seriously trying that argument are you? in any case it doesn't
really help since people skills are a job requirement for WMF ED.



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

2016-01-08 Thread Thomas Goldammer
2016-01-09 0:40 GMT+01:00 James Heilman :

>
> Our board made the decision to give Lila a
> second chance in the face of staff mistrust.
>

Now that's interesting. Where can I read more about this?

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

2016-01-08 Thread Vituzzu



Il 09/01/2016 01:08, Thomas Goldammer ha scritto:

2016-01-09 0:40 GMT+01:00 James Heilman :


Our board made the decision to give Lila a
second chance in the face of staff mistrust.


Now that's interesting. Where can I read more about this?

Th.


I wonder how did this kind of leak weigh in removal.

Anyway it's terribly interesting.

Apart from drama, allegations, mistrust, etc. I think no one can 
disagree the whole process is terribly broken.
Before defying any "strategy", any "vision", any [put a cool word here] 
we should re-start from the basics of what the Board is supposed to be 
but, above all, *how* it is supposed to work.


What I read made me  think James' removal was harsh but still fair. But 
if so many people are disappointed then there's something wrong with the 
process.


Shit happens, leaks happen, mistake happens. It seems current 
Foundation-side architecture lies upon the assertion no Board member, no 
higher staff will ever break bad. Also, it seems to forget our universe 
is run by volunteering. Till now we were so lucky (or at least most of 
troubles were internally sanitized).


I belong to the "pure online" class of volunteers and I don't feel so 
comfortable with a Board which seems to be turning into a Silicon Valley 
management board, denying our nature. Surely WMF financial dimensions 
need a professional management but this kind of skill (and stability) 
should come from a motivated staff instead of from a de facto co-opted 
Board.



Vito

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

2016-01-08 Thread Nathan
I hope some day someone will be bold enough to tell the rest of us what
this is all really about. I'm sure I'm not alone (though perhaps in the
minority!) in not having inside staff contacts to provide the straight
dope.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-08 Thread Milos Rancic
On Sat, Jan 9, 2016 at 12:43 AM, Nathan  wrote:
> I hope some day someone will be bold enough to tell the rest of us what
> this is all really about. I'm sure I'm not alone (though perhaps in the
> minority!) in not having inside staff contacts to provide the straight
> dope.

I think it's quite clear what's going on. Signpost [1] and Liam's post
[2] have good descriptions (with some of the positions) of what
happened. Plus, James was on the side of the discontent part of staff
(which seems to be the majority) and didn't articulate his position
well.

And as I suppose this is the ongoing general-type thread, I'd say few
words in relation to that.

Our technology is based on the concept from 1990s, implemented in 2001
and slightly changed up to the moment. The only major technology which
catches 2005 (Visual Editor) is in alpha or beta stage, depending on
how harsh QA process would be implemented.

Something should be done with that. While I would be much more happy
with a social and gaming platform, I think anything towards technology
innovation is good, as during the last 15 years our technology
innovation was around zero. The most important Sue's impact on
Wikimedia is financial stability. I expect that the most important
Lila's impact on Wikimedia will be moving it from technologically
passive organization to an active one.

Restructuring one organization is hard process. I mean, if I found
myself feeling offended because of moving coffee machine away from the
door of my office and putting it on more appropriate place, I
completely understand that any larger change could produce significant
discontent.

On top of that, unlike Sue, Lila is a geek. And geeks have troubles in
understanding the social impact of their actions, especially inside of
the extraordinary complex environment of Wikimedia movement.

The only solution for such situations is constructive communication.
And constructive communication. And more constructive communication.

[1] 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-01-06/News_and_notes
[2] http://wittylama.com/2016/01/08/strategy-and-controversy/

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

2016-01-08 Thread Denny Vrandecic
James,

all these things that you answered about - being out of process,
disruption, ignoring advice - all of these were some of the things you
explicitly apologized for just two weeks ago. Those were not my words,
those are yours.

Seeing you defend these, again, does this mean your apology was not sincere?

It was this apology of yours that gave me several sleepless nights -
literally, unfortunately.
It was this apology that let me regain most of the respect, and some of the
trust I had lost.
It was this apology that gave me hope that you might have finally
understood.

And now you are here again, being defensive about these very issues? About
nothing else in what I wrote, but merely about these things?

Please, tell me that you were sincere.

Denny



On Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 9:48 PM, James Heilman  wrote:

> With respect to Denny's statement that I acted out of process, yes I spoke
> with staff at staff's request. However, so did the majority of the rest of
> the trustees. And the chair and vice chair were aware of these
> conversations. Additionally the situation in question justified these
> conversations IMO. With respect to "ignoring advice" I did use my own
> judgement. With respect to the "disruption" I do not feel I can take
> responsibility for the engagement survey results. I did bring staff
> concerns forwards to the board but I was simply reporting these concerns.
>
> --
> James Heilman
> MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
>
> The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
> www.opentextbookofmedicine.com
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-07 Thread Robert Fernandez
I understand the situation that Denny, Dariusz, Patricio, et al are in and
I appreciate their attempts to address this issue.  As a new member of the
Arbitration Committee on the English Wikipedia, I've discovered that there
is a great deal of anger about some of our decisions, and it is frustrating
when we cannot release the information that shows that those decisions are
clearly justified.  So sometimes we have to say "trust us".  Perhaps this
is the situation here.  Perhaps there is something James did, or perhaps
the clash of personalities was too much.  So they may have to do the same
here and say "trust us"

However, for the community to have that trust, there has to be
accountability and transparency in other areas.  Members of the Arbitration
Committee are known to the community and voted in by them, while most
members of the Board are not accountable to the community in any way.  The
Committee does as much as it can transparently and is as forthcoming as it
can be with public deliberations.  The Board and the Foundation are not
sufficiently transparent about things like the Knowledge Engine, and don't
have a great track record with things like Superprotect.  There are also
concerns that Silicon Valley and the technology sector are over-represented
on the board, while much of what the community and the Foundation
supposedly represent  - the entire world as opposed to the Global North,
the open source community, cultural and knowledge institutions that work
with GLAM, academia - are barely or not represented at all.  So when you
say "trust us", and you haven't addressed those issues, it's difficult to
just accept what vague assurances are provided about this matter.

Gamaliel
(speaking for myself only and not the Arbitration Committee)
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-07 Thread Anthony Cole
Denny, regarding "I am regularly
being told off with the false claim that my seat was bought by my employer
- Google", I've never seen that absurd claim and certainly haven't made it
myself. In a comment at The Signpost and here I've asserted that you have a
fatal conflict of interest, being on the payroll of Google.

Do you recuse from any board discussions and decisions that might, broadly
construed, affect Google commercially?

Anthony Cole


On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 7:03 AM, Robert Fernandez 
wrote:

> I understand the situation that Denny, Dariusz, Patricio, et al are in and
> I appreciate their attempts to address this issue.  As a new member of the
> Arbitration Committee on the English Wikipedia, I've discovered that there
> is a great deal of anger about some of our decisions, and it is frustrating
> when we cannot release the information that shows that those decisions are
> clearly justified.  So sometimes we have to say "trust us".  Perhaps this
> is the situation here.  Perhaps there is something James did, or perhaps
> the clash of personalities was too much.  So they may have to do the same
> here and say "trust us"
>
> However, for the community to have that trust, there has to be
> accountability and transparency in other areas.  Members of the Arbitration
> Committee are known to the community and voted in by them, while most
> members of the Board are not accountable to the community in any way.  The
> Committee does as much as it can transparently and is as forthcoming as it
> can be with public deliberations.  The Board and the Foundation are not
> sufficiently transparent about things like the Knowledge Engine, and don't
> have a great track record with things like Superprotect.  There are also
> concerns that Silicon Valley and the technology sector are over-represented
> on the board, while much of what the community and the Foundation
> supposedly represent  - the entire world as opposed to the Global North,
> the open source community, cultural and knowledge institutions that work
> with GLAM, academia - are barely or not represented at all.  So when you
> say "trust us", and you haven't addressed those issues, it's difficult to
> just accept what vague assurances are provided about this matter.
>
> Gamaliel
> (speaking for myself only and not the Arbitration Committee)
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-07 Thread Denny Vrandecic
I got asked by a number of people to share my personal opinion, which is
set out below, regarding the dismissal of James from the Board. This took
me far longer to write than I hoped for, and it was very hard to write.

I am not sure if this will change anyone’s mind - in fact, I am afraid that
any story of “James sticking it to the evil Board” or of “James as the
knight in the shining armour, fighting against the tyranny represented by
the Board, the Board’s secrecy and malfeasance” will be hard or impossible
to dispel. Also, although I am an elected Board member, I am regularly
being told off with the false claim that my seat was bought by my employer
- Google - anyway. So how much of what I could say, could really have an
effect on anyone?

But let’s get to the gist of the story: why the heck was James removed?

James actually already said very clearly why he was removed: “My fellow
trustees need no reason beyond lack of trust in me . . . .”  Indeed, the
vast majority of the Board lost their trust in James' ability to fulfill
the duties and obligations of a Board member without overstepping his
charter and being an effective and cooperating member of the Board.

I’ll tell you how I experienced it from my point of view: a few weeks ago,
I had to turn to the Board in a confidential and important matter for me.
And while writing my email, I felt that I probably should not write it as
openly and frankly as I would desire; I was unconvinced that it would be
held in confidence. I rewrote the mail because I had concerns about James'
being on the Board, as I had lost my trust in him. This is, I think many
will agree, not a healthy situation.

At the next executive session I raised this issue to the whole Board -
James included. It became clear that I was not the only Trustee who felt
that way. We had a discussion in which we openly discussed this matter.
James was asked, repeatedly, to consider a resignation, but he suggested
that it would not matter whether he resigns or whether he is voted off. I
disagreed with him on this point.

So what were our options at this point? How should we have handled this
unfortunate situation? Should we simply sideline James in all conversations
where the lack of trust or following process is an issue? But if we do so,
sure, all of it would be quieter, and the community and the outside world
would likely never notice anything - but I would have an even bigger issue
with that: if we sidelined a community-elected Board member for basically
their whole term, would the community-elected members truly be sufficiently
represented on the Board according to the spirit of the bylaws? This didn’t
seem like an adequate solution to me.

I am, to be completely frank, rather surprised and also relieved by the
fact that the Board not only acted, but acted decisively - despite knowing
very well that there would be quite some community fallout. The Board was
not afraid to make a hard and likely unpopular decision, because it truly
believes to act in the best effectivity of the Board, and thus also the
best effectivity for the Foundation and the Movement at large. This gives
me hope in this Board.

I saw that James wrote an email where he lists three things he was
supposedly accused of. At least for me, his list does not reflect the
reasons why I voted for his removal. Indeed, in the last few days on the
Board, James apologized to the Board for his previous behaviour. It was
that stated behavior underlying that apology that served as one reason why
I voted as I did. I do not know why James changed his view on these reasons
in the days before and after the vote.

Based on some of the comments I have read, I wanted to explicitly address
these rather, say, interesting conspiracy theories, from my perspective:

-- James was not removed from the Board because he was demanding more
transparency.
-- James was not removed from the Board because of a difference in opinion
about the strategy of the Foundation.
-- James was not removed from the Board because of difference in opinion or
disagreement about the governance of the Foundation.
-- James was not removed from the Board because he was insisting to see
some documents that the Board was withholding from him
-- James was not removed from the Board because any third party wanted him
removed (like a big pharma company who was unhappy with James on the Board
and was promising a big donation if he is gone - I am just listing this
because it was indeed mentioned.)
-- James was not removed from the Board because he demanded more community
input or was fighting for NPOV.
-- James’ removal had nothing to do with the role and composition of
community-elected vs appointed Board members.
-- James was not removed from the Board because he dared to ask too many
uncomfortable questions.
-- James was not removed because he didn’t want to sign an NDA.

As I saw it, James acted out of process, ignored advice and caused
disruption. He sure was not the only Trustee who 

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

2016-01-07 Thread Andreas Kolbe
On Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 7:08 PM, Pete Forsyth  wrote:


> The English Wikipedia Signpost just published data from a recent staff
> survey that shows extraordinarily low confidence in senior WMF
> leadership;[1] and the WMF and Knight Foundations just published
> information about a restricted grant, which apparently signals a shift in
> strategy taking place behind closed doors.[2]
>
> As a Trustee, Doc James would surely have been aware of both issues, weeks
> or months ago. Various recent discussions suggest that he believed that
> both issues should be brought to the attention of the Wikimedia community.
> And yet, HE DID NOT PUBLISH THEM.
>


Doc James James has just said[1] on Talk:Jimbo Wales,

---o0o---

Documents concerning long term strategy were not kept from me in the end.
Others were. And yes I was asked to keep the long term strategy documents
secret after suggesting they be made more widely known and discussed. I
have kept the documents secret.

---o0o---

This underscores Pete's point. James is still keeping those documents
secret -- even now that he has left the board.

So, dear Trustees, can *you* please walk the transparency walk, rather than
pulling up the drawbridge, and show the community the long-term strategy
documents that James was asked to keep – and still is keeping – secret, in
line with your wishes?

Or do we have to wait until the singularity arrives and machines tell us
because human beings don't have the *guts*?

Please present to the community a full and open account of

- the long-term strategy, including the Knowledge Engine,
- what underlies it,
- the related grant applications and grant agreements, and
- the discussions with industry partners that preceded this project?

Or are there any non-disclosure agreements with third parties that limit
what you can say in public? Then at least tell us that.

Lastly, do you have any idea what damage – hour by hour – you are doing to
this movement with your secrecy?

Please do not *dare* to speak of the Wikimedia Foundation's "transparency"
until you have demonstrated it.

[1]
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Jimbo_Wales=698752375=698751835
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-07 Thread Tim Starling
On 07/01/16 06:44, Denny Vrandecic wrote:
> -- James was not removed from the Board because he was demanding more
> transparency.

I'm inclined to believe James at this point, since he is the only one
giving a credible explanation of causes. If he was not dismissed for
this, then why was he dismissed?

That he lost the confidence of the board is obvious, a truism.

> As I saw it, James acted out of process, ignored advice and caused
> disruption.

Which process? What advice? What disruption?

Are you afraid he will sue you for libel? Tell the truth: I believe
that is a defence in US law, as is fair comment on a matter of public
interest. I will donate to your legal costs if he does sue you.

People willing to talk to the public get to influence public opinion.
That is an appropriate reward for transparency.

> But I wonder what kind of changes would
> be required to avoid a situation like this - if the rest of the Board loses
> the trust in one of its members, how should we handle this?

By putting personal sensitivities aside and acting in the common good.
I support the power of the board to act quickly and decisively to
protect the mission, but not without public review. To act in such a
way without public review is contrary to the Guiding Principles.

-- Tim Starling



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

2016-01-07 Thread SarahSV
On Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 7:44 AM, Denny Vrandecic 
wrote:

> I’ll tell you how I experienced it from my point of view: a few weeks ago,
> I had to turn to the Board in a confidential and important matter for me.
> And while writing my email, I felt that I probably should not write it as
> openly and frankly as I would desire; I was unconvinced that it would be
> held in confidence. I rewrote the mail because I had concerns about James'
> being on the Board, as I had lost my trust in him. This is, I think many
> will agree, not a healthy situation.
>
> At the next executive session I raised this issue to the whole Board -
> James included.
>

Denny, you seem to be acknowledging that you initiated Doc James's removal.
I think your email will strengthen calls for a review.
​

I'm troubled that the decision was rushed through, over the holidays with
James in Japan, because two board members who supported his removal were
leaving.

The removal has caused a loss of trust in the board. Does this idea of a
"knowledge engine" have anything to do with it; was James denied access to
documents; and so on. People are completely perplexed at this point. How do
we fix this?

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

2016-01-07 Thread James Heilman
With respect to Denny's statement that I acted out of process, yes I spoke
with staff at staff's request. However, so did the majority of the rest of
the trustees. And the chair and vice chair were aware of these
conversations. Additionally the situation in question justified these
conversations IMO. With respect to "ignoring advice" I did use my own
judgement. With respect to the "disruption" I do not feel I can take
responsibility for the engagement survey results. I did bring staff
concerns forwards to the board but I was simply reporting these concerns.

-- 
James Heilman
MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian

The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
www.opentextbookofmedicine.com
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-07 Thread Theo10011
Denny, there was very little substantive content in your email. As with the
explanation from other trustees, this too, has the same markings of
subterfuge and evasionary tactics. It has been established beyond doubt
that there were "trust" issues. Repeating it or any variation thereof by
another board member will not be helping the situation.

You and others constantly mention trust issues as a pre-condition, and
describe situations arising from it. The glaring omission each time there
is about how and why? - What did he do to lose this trust in such a short
period? Did he leak sensitive information to another party or the media?
Did Google, Facebook and all the Pharma companies demand his removal as
tribute? Did he post the location of a super secret hideout or the location
of the holy grail itself? Because the longer this is going on, the more
creative the conspiracies are getting.

This brings us to the issue of trust. Trust is mutual, the community
trusted you and James in an election to represent them on the board, the
board lost trust in James, currently, the community is losing trust in the
board itself. So how should this situation be handled? Offer the board the
same options or talk through the issue? Deafening silence from the board
and senior staff who know and hope this blows over, will not repair the
damage here, things like this keep piling up under the rug and have to
addressed.

On Thu, Jan 7, 2016, Denny Vrandecic  wrote:
>
>
> I’ll tell you how I experienced it from my point of view: a few weeks ago,
> I had to turn to the Board in a confidential and important matter for me.
> And while writing my email, I felt that I probably should not write it as
> openly and frankly as I would desire; I was unconvinced that it would be
> held in confidence. I rewrote the mail because I had concerns about James'
> being on the Board, as I had lost my trust in him. This is, I think many
> will agree, not a healthy situation.
>

Actually no, there aren't enough facts to agree on anything. The constant
loss of "trust" does not translate well to all the uninformed parties. The
gist above is, you had to write a private email to the board, and you
rewrote it because you didn't trust James.


>
> At the next executive session I raised this issue to the whole Board -
> James included. It became clear that I was not the only Trustee who felt
> that way. We had a discussion in which we openly discussed this matter.
> James was asked, repeatedly, to consider a resignation, but he suggested
> that it would not matter whether he resigns or whether he is voted off. I
> disagreed with him on this point.
>

This sounds like you were the one who brought up the motion of his
dismissal or at least initiated the discussion. I also don't know why you
keep thinking James agreeing to a resignation would have been better or he
should have consented at all? He was trusted and elected to this position.
Without knowing the other facts, his decision so far seems logical.


> I am, to be completely frank, rather surprised and also relieved by the
> fact that the Board not only acted, but acted decisively - despite knowing
> very well that there would be quite some community fallout. The Board was
> not afraid to make a hard and likely unpopular decision, because it truly
> believes to act in the best effectivity of the Board, and thus also the
> best effectivity for the Foundation and the Movement at large. This gives
> me hope in this Board.
>

This opinion might be in the minority. The "community fallout" that was
expected is a big unknown risk. It is bringing up a lot of other issues,
perhaps conflating a few, forming wild conjectures, all the while two new
trustees are joining the board, we have the 15th anniversary around the
corner, the strategic plan is going to be discussed/published soon, not to
mention the fundraiser just wrapped up. It is at the least, a bad start to
the new year.

 if the rest of the Board loses
> the trust in one of its members, how should we handle this?
>

Better than this. It should have taken more effort than this to just remove
an elected trustee. The board and WMF consult with many professionals on a
range of issues. Perhaps some sort of mediation or consultation about this
issue could have happened, even involving third parties. At the least, some
sort of a hint or a public mention about the disagreements would have been
helpful for the community.

The more important question now is, if the rest of the community loses
trust in the board, how should the community handle it?

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

2016-01-06 Thread Craig Franklin
While it's not hard to find a WMF employee who will privately (or
increasingly, not-so-privately) complain of poor morale, I'd be wary of
reading too much into submissions to sites like Glassdoor.  Employees that
are content rarely take the time to report this, so you end up with a
skewed sample consisting largely of the unhappy and demotivated.

Cheers,
Craig

On 5 January 2016 at 05:56, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:

> On Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 7:08 PM, Pine W  wrote:
>
> > If there's a lot of dissatisfaction among the staff, the reasons for that
> > dissatisfaction would be helpful to know.
>
>
>
> Some recurring themes on Glassdoor[1] over the years are –
>
> * Hiring of completely inexperienced staff
> * Incompetent managers
> * Unclear strategy
> * Favouritism
> * Angst-ridden climate
>
> [1]
> https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Reviews/Wikimedia-Foundation-Reviews-E38331.htm
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-06 Thread Tobias
Ultimately this is about cost. Right now, the cheapest way for the board
to get away with this is to publish some vague statements without really
revealing anything, and hoping that the discussion will die down after a
couple of weeks.

As a community, we can drive up the cost of this strategy. Boycott the
next election (if you want to call it that), introduce an
editing-free-week, put up sitenotices to inform our readers and attract
media attention, until the board lives up to the transparency principles
that we've come to expect from each other in this movement.

At some point the cost will be too high for the board to continue their
strategy of hiding behind vague language.

Tobias

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

2016-01-06 Thread Andy Mabbett
On 5 January 2016 at 23:44, Patricio Lorente  wrote:

> We have also been meeting with the 2015 Election Committee regarding the
> next steps for filling the open community-selected seat.

As I pointed out recently, the phrase "community-selected" is
misleading in this context, The community do not "select" a person to
occupy that seat, they merely make a recommendation, which is then
subject to board approval.

Please be more precise in your use of language, especially in official
communications.

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

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

2016-01-06 Thread Pine W
Just a note that I am continuing to discuss the subjects of turnover and
WMF employee morale with Boryana, and I have also asked Lila about this.

Pine

On Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 8:22 AM, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:

> On Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Craig Franklin  >
> wrote:
>
> > While it's not hard to find a WMF employee who will privately (or
> > increasingly, not-so-privately) complain of poor morale, I'd be wary of
> > reading too much into submissions to sites like Glassdoor.  Employees
> that
> > are content rarely take the time to report this, so you end up with a
> > skewed sample consisting largely of the unhappy and demotivated.
> >
>
>
> Looking a bit further into Glassdoor disproves that theory.
>
> For comparison, here are two non-profits of roughly similar size for
> comparison:
>
> * NPR has an approval rating of 4.0 out of 5, based on 96 reviews, with 79%
> saying they would recommend working there to a friend.[1]
>
> * The American Enterprise Institute has an approval rating of 4.1 out of 5,
> based on 53 reviews, with 89% saying they would recommend working there to
> a friend.[2]
>
> You can find approval ratings in excess of 90% on Glassdoor for some large
> corporates, based on literally thousands of reviews.
>
> [1]
> https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Overview/Working-at-NPR-EI_IE3965.11,14.htm
> [2]
> https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Overview/Working-at-AEI-EI_IE151782.11,14.htm
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-06 Thread Thyge
Transparently, I suppose?

Thyge

2016-01-06 19:31 GMT+01:00 Pine W :

> Just a note that I am continuing to discuss the subjects of turnover and
> WMF employee morale with Boryana, and I have also asked Lila about this.
>
> Pine
>
> On Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 8:22 AM, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:
>
> > On Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Craig Franklin <
> cfrank...@halonetwork.net
> > >
> > wrote:
> >
> > > While it's not hard to find a WMF employee who will privately (or
> > > increasingly, not-so-privately) complain of poor morale, I'd be wary of
> > > reading too much into submissions to sites like Glassdoor.  Employees
> > that
> > > are content rarely take the time to report this, so you end up with a
> > > skewed sample consisting largely of the unhappy and demotivated.
> > >
> >
> >
> > Looking a bit further into Glassdoor disproves that theory.
> >
> > For comparison, here are two non-profits of roughly similar size for
> > comparison:
> >
> > * NPR has an approval rating of 4.0 out of 5, based on 96 reviews, with
> 79%
> > saying they would recommend working there to a friend.[1]
> >
> > * The American Enterprise Institute has an approval rating of 4.1 out of
> 5,
> > based on 53 reviews, with 89% saying they would recommend working there
> to
> > a friend.[2]
> >
> > You can find approval ratings in excess of 90% on Glassdoor for some
> large
> > corporates, based on literally thousands of reviews.
> >
> > [1]
> > https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Overview/Working-at-NPR-EI_IE3965.11,14.htm
> > [2]
> >
> https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Overview/Working-at-AEI-EI_IE151782.11,14.htm
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> > 
> >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-06 Thread Pine W
Heh (: I have no problem with those emails being published.

Just for clarification: I do believe that there is value in some
confidential and 1-on-1 communications. Where I think there is room for
change is with regards to a governing body of an open-source organization
(in this case, the WMF board) limiting access to so many of its official
deliberations. I would strongly prefer that official deliberations of a
governing body be open to the public. I feel that public deliberations
provide important benefits: more credibility, reduction of the risks of
groupthink, encouragement of civility in meetings, and increased
accountability to the public.

I'm happy to provide further details on Washington State laws on open
meetings and public records. Generally I feel that they provide good
guidance. There are exceptions, for example in the cases of attorney-client
privileged information, personnel matters, or deliberations about pending
property acquisitions. I feel that the reasons for the exceptions are
generally well designed, and it's important that closed-door official
meetings are the exception rather than the norm.

Pine

On Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 11:07 AM, Thyge  wrote:

> Transparently, I suppose?
>
> Thyge
>
> 2016-01-06 19:31 GMT+01:00 Pine W :
>
> > Just a note that I am continuing to discuss the subjects of turnover and
> > WMF employee morale with Boryana, and I have also asked Lila about this.
> >
> > Pine
> >
> > On Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 8:22 AM, Andreas Kolbe 
> wrote:
> >
> > > On Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Craig Franklin <
> > cfrank...@halonetwork.net
> > > >
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > While it's not hard to find a WMF employee who will privately (or
> > > > increasingly, not-so-privately) complain of poor morale, I'd be wary
> of
> > > > reading too much into submissions to sites like Glassdoor.  Employees
> > > that
> > > > are content rarely take the time to report this, so you end up with a
> > > > skewed sample consisting largely of the unhappy and demotivated.
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Looking a bit further into Glassdoor disproves that theory.
> > >
> > > For comparison, here are two non-profits of roughly similar size for
> > > comparison:
> > >
> > > * NPR has an approval rating of 4.0 out of 5, based on 96 reviews, with
> > 79%
> > > saying they would recommend working there to a friend.[1]
> > >
> > > * The American Enterprise Institute has an approval rating of 4.1 out
> of
> > 5,
> > > based on 53 reviews, with 89% saying they would recommend working there
> > to
> > > a friend.[2]
> > >
> > > You can find approval ratings in excess of 90% on Glassdoor for some
> > large
> > > corporates, based on literally thousands of reviews.
> > >
> > > [1]
> > >
> https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Overview/Working-at-NPR-EI_IE3965.11,14.htm
> > > [2]
> > >
> >
> https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Overview/Working-at-AEI-EI_IE151782.11,14.htm
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> > > 
> > >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-06 Thread Andreas Kolbe
On Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Craig Franklin 
wrote:

> While it's not hard to find a WMF employee who will privately (or
> increasingly, not-so-privately) complain of poor morale, I'd be wary of
> reading too much into submissions to sites like Glassdoor.  Employees that
> are content rarely take the time to report this, so you end up with a
> skewed sample consisting largely of the unhappy and demotivated.
>


Looking a bit further into Glassdoor disproves that theory.

For comparison, here are two non-profits of roughly similar size for
comparison:

* NPR has an approval rating of 4.0 out of 5, based on 96 reviews, with 79%
saying they would recommend working there to a friend.[1]

* The American Enterprise Institute has an approval rating of 4.1 out of 5,
based on 53 reviews, with 89% saying they would recommend working there to
a friend.[2]

You can find approval ratings in excess of 90% on Glassdoor for some large
corporates, based on literally thousands of reviews.

[1] https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Overview/Working-at-NPR-EI_IE3965.11,14.htm
[2]
https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Overview/Working-at-AEI-EI_IE151782.11,14.htm
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-06 Thread James Heilman
I have begun a reply to the board Q & A here
https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_noticeboard/James_Heilman_removal_FAQ=15213281#What_happened.3F

Best
-- 
James Heilman
MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian

The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
www.opentextbookofmedicine.com
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-05 Thread Pine W
Patricio,

Thank you for your email.

Some comments:

1. The document on Meta says, "Yes. James had - as all of us - access to
all documents and information which he needed for his work and
decision-making on the Board." That is a little different than the question
that was being asked here. The question is, were any financial documents
withheld from James? The statement on Meta is a little vague about who made
the decisions about the documents that James needs for his work and
decision-making. If someone else made decisions about which documents were
appropriate for James to have, instead of letting James have complete
access to financial records, that would be a matter of concern.

2. While I understand that some Board conversations are best held in
private, for example conversations involving attorney-client privilege, I
continue to believe that there is a misalignment between the democratic and
open-source values of the Wikimedia movement and the limited information
that the community is provided about WMF Board deliberations. There seems
to be an assumption that full and honest discussions are best held behind
closed doors so that people in the room feel comfortable with voicing their
opinions. It seems to me that this is a doctrine which is contrary to the
values of our movement, and I would urge the Board to change its approach.
I would also note that many jurisdictions in the United States have laws
requiring government bodies like city councils and legislatures to have
their meetings in full view of the public unless there is a specific
exemption for a subject that is to be discussed in private. These
governments, in many cases, continue to function effectively despite the
public and sensitive nature of deliberations on topics like budgets, land
use planning, environmental regulations, appointments of judges, service
contracts, and allegations of misconduct against fellow elected officials.
The WMF Board should be a model of openness and good governance. Now is a
good time for the Board to take meaningful steps toward aligning itself
with our collective values.

Thank you,

Pine

On Tue, Jan 5, 2016 at 3:44 PM, Patricio Lorente  wrote:

> Dear all,
>
> We know that some of you have continued to have questions about the Board’s
> recent resolution. We have put together an FAQ addressing some of the most
> common or important questions. You can view the FAQ here:
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_noticeboard/James_Heilman_removal_FAQ
>
> We have also been meeting with the 2015 Election Committee regarding the
> next steps for filling the open community-selected seat. We plan to make an
> announcement on the roadmap for filling that seat by early next week.
>
> Patricio
> --
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-05 Thread Lodewijk
Dear Patricio,

Thank you for this. It clarifies several of the questions, although I'm
confident community members will always have more.

As a sidenote: It would have helped if you would have mentioned that a
document with more information was forthcoming - even if it takes 8 days.

Best,
Lodewijk

On Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 12:44 AM, Patricio Lorente <
patricio.lore...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear all,
>
> We know that some of you have continued to have questions about the Board’s
> recent resolution. We have put together an FAQ addressing some of the most
> common or important questions. You can view the FAQ here:
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_noticeboard/James_Heilman_removal_FAQ
>
> We have also been meeting with the 2015 Election Committee regarding the
> next steps for filling the open community-selected seat. We plan to make an
> announcement on the roadmap for filling that seat by early next week.
>
> Patricio
> --
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-05 Thread Nathan
On Tue, Jan 5, 2016 at 6:44 PM, Patricio Lorente  wrote:

> Dear all,
>
> We know that some of you have continued to have questions about the Board’s
> recent resolution. We have put together an FAQ addressing some of the most
> common or important questions. You can view the FAQ here:
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_noticeboard/James_Heilman_removal_FAQ
>
> We have also been meeting with the 2015 Election Committee regarding the
> next steps for filling the open community-selected seat. We plan to make an
> announcement on the roadmap for filling that seat by early next week.
>
> Patricio


Patricio, I wish you and your colleagues the best of luck in recovering the
trust and confidence of the many people who supported James' bid to join
the board. It will not be easy.

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

2016-01-05 Thread Patricio Lorente
Dear all,

We know that some of you have continued to have questions about the Board’s
recent resolution. We have put together an FAQ addressing some of the most
common or important questions. You can view the FAQ here:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_noticeboard/James_Heilman_removal_FAQ

We have also been meeting with the 2015 Election Committee regarding the
next steps for filling the open community-selected seat. We plan to make an
announcement on the roadmap for filling that seat by early next week.

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

2016-01-04 Thread Marc A. Pelletier



On 2016-01-04 2:22 PM, Marc A. Pelletier wrote:

Off the record,


Obviously not - that was part of a different email I started.  :-)

-- Marc


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

2016-01-04 Thread Marc A. Pelletier

Off the record,

On 2016-01-04 2:08 PM, Pine W wrote:

[...] whether there will be another employee survey. If
there's a lot of dissatisfaction among the staff, the reasons for that
dissatisfaction would be helpful to know.


It would, wouldn't it?  Old numbers may or may not be as interesting, 
but results from a recent survey might be.


-- Marc


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

2016-01-04 Thread Andreas Kolbe
On Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 7:08 PM, Pine W  wrote:

> If there's a lot of dissatisfaction among the staff, the reasons for that
> dissatisfaction would be helpful to know.



Some recurring themes on Glassdoor[1] over the years are –

* Hiring of completely inexperienced staff
* Incompetent managers
* Unclear strategy
* Favouritism
* Angst-ridden climate

[1]
https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Reviews/Wikimedia-Foundation-Reviews-E38331.htm
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-04 Thread Pine W
Hi Stephen,

> If that isn't the case and staff
> are trying to communicate with the Board directly a lot, it is smoke
> pointing to a burning fire somewhere.

I seem to be missing something. Did I say anything contrary to that?

Hi Marc,

> Wouldn't that depend on whether the ED is acting at the behest of the
board or not?

Under most circumstances, I would consider turnover to be a subject of
concern primarily for HR (Boryana) and the ED (Lila). If there's an
undesirable increase in turnover (remember that some churn is normal,
especially in the first several months to a year of new management), I
would expect HR and the ED to be aware of it and to take steps to address
it. I would anticipate the Board being aware of this situation, but
ordinarily I wouldn't consider it to be a governance issue on the same
level as the removal of a board member, the transparency of board
deliberations, or the possible improper withholding of financial documents
from a board member. All of the latter three are items which I think could
reasonably be included in the scope of an external review.

That said, I've emailed Boryana to ask her for some statistics about
turnover and about whether there will be another employee survey. If
there's a lot of dissatisfaction among the staff, the reasons for that
dissatisfaction would be helpful to know. I hesitate to say that this is a
Board-level issue unless there is evidence that shows dissatisfaction *and*
links that dissatisfaction to the Board. Generally I would expect HR and ED
to have turnover on their radar and to address it with little need for
involvement from the Board. On the other hand, if the ED is part of the
problem (I hope not), then I would expect the Board to address that.
Generally I would treat the subject of turnover as a management issue
rather than a Board-level governance issue, although I concede the
possibility that evidence might emerge that does elevate turnover to a
Board-level issue.

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

2016-01-04 Thread Steven Walling
Pine,

Given that the way James and the Board should relate to staff was one issue
that lead to his removal, the situation in the wider WMF as an organization
is highly relevant here.

Under normal, smoothly-functioning circumstances (and most of my 4 year
tenure at WMF) there was little reason for non-executive staff to interact
with the Board in a professional capacity. If that isn't the case and staff
are trying to communicate with the Board directly a lot, it is smoke
pointing to a burning fire somewhere.

On Sun, Jan 3, 2016 at 10:57 PM Pine W  wrote:

> I agree that the turnover issue is a matter that needs some consideration.
> But I think that issue is more relevant to the ED rather than the Board. I
> would appreciate it if we could keep that issue separate from the murky
> circumstances of James' departure and the conflicting testimony that has
> been given in public, the *possible* official misconduct with regards to
> improper withholding of financial information from James, the community's
> desire for significantly more transparency and openness from the Board, and
> the credibility of the Board's leadership.
>
> Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-04 Thread Marc A. Pelletier

On 2016-01-04 1:56 AM, Pine W wrote:

I agree that the turnover issue is a matter that needs some consideration.
But I think that issue is more relevant to the ED rather than the Board.


Wouldn't that depend on whether the ED is acting at the behest of the 
board or not?


-- Marc


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

2016-01-04 Thread Boryana Dineva
Hello everyone (+Pine),

Thank you for reaching out.

The HR team definitely keeps an eye on turnover on a regular basis. One of
the first things I did when I started (approximately 3 months ago) is a
stats health check including turnover trends, org demographics,
compensation practices, recruiting stats, etc.

For turnover specifically, we parse and analyze by demographics, tenure,
department, and reasons provided. We also compare it to market survey data
(collected and provided by an independent third party) informing us what
turnover of similar organizations looks like. Looking at turnover trends
since 2012, beyond normal seasonality, the trend line is flat and our
turnover is lower than market average.

We conduct regular surveys to monitor staff engagement and use the data to
help prioritize HR (and inform organizational) initiatives.

Kindest regards,
Boryana & the WMF HR Team

On Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 11:08 AM, Pine W  wrote:

> Hi Stephen,
>
> > If that isn't the case and staff
> > are trying to communicate with the Board directly a lot, it is smoke
> > pointing to a burning fire somewhere.
>
> I seem to be missing something. Did I say anything contrary to that?
>
> Hi Marc,
>
> > Wouldn't that depend on whether the ED is acting at the behest of the
> board or not?
>
> Under most circumstances, I would consider turnover to be a subject of
> concern primarily for HR (Boryana) and the ED (Lila). If there's an
> undesirable increase in turnover (remember that some churn is normal,
> especially in the first several months to a year of new management), I
> would expect HR and the ED to be aware of it and to take steps to address
> it. I would anticipate the Board being aware of this situation, but
> ordinarily I wouldn't consider it to be a governance issue on the same
> level as the removal of a board member, the transparency of board
> deliberations, or the possible improper withholding of financial documents
> from a board member. All of the latter three are items which I think could
> reasonably be included in the scope of an external review.
>
> That said, I've emailed Boryana to ask her for some statistics about
> turnover and about whether there will be another employee survey. If
> there's a lot of dissatisfaction among the staff, the reasons for that
> dissatisfaction would be helpful to know. I hesitate to say that this is a
> Board-level issue unless there is evidence that shows dissatisfaction *and*
> links that dissatisfaction to the Board. Generally I would expect HR and ED
> to have turnover on their radar and to address it with little need for
> involvement from the Board. On the other hand, if the ED is part of the
> problem (I hope not), then I would expect the Board to address that.
> Generally I would treat the subject of turnover as a management issue
> rather than a Board-level governance issue, although I concede the
> possibility that evidence might emerge that does elevate turnover to a
> Board-level issue.
>
> Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement about changes to the Board

2016-01-03 Thread Greg Grossmeier

> 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.

Normally, the way to measure such morale (along with other things) is via
a survey to measure employee engagement [0].

You can see past engagement surveys on metawiki [1].


[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employee_engagement
[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Employee_engagement_survey


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

2016-01-03 Thread Pete Forsyth
Good point, I did not realize that page existed. I'll add it to the
Transparency Gap page Adam W started. It is curious that there were public
reports of the results of the employee survey in 2012 and 2013, but not
since.

Two other web pages relating to this come to mind:
(1) Wikipedian and fellow consultant William Beutler referred to high WMF
staff turnover as the #9 biggest story about Wikipedia in 2015, saying "The
only reason this exodus of talent isn’t higher on this list is because it’s
one of 2015’s least-reported stories":
http://thewikipedian.net/2015/12/22/the-top-10-wikipedia-stories-of-2015/
(2) Former WMF Director of Features Engineering Terry Chay commented in
detail on this, comparing it to other companies, in September 2015:
https://www.quora.com/What-has-caused-so-many-people-to-leave-jobs-at-the-Wikimedia-Foundation-WMF-in-2015

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Sun, Jan 3, 2016 at 5:53 PM, Greg Grossmeier  wrote:

> 
> > 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.
>
> Normally, the way to measure such morale (along with other things) is via
> a survey to measure employee engagement [0].
>
> You can see past engagement surveys on metawiki [1].
>
>
> [0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employee_engagement
> [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Employee_engagement_survey
>
>
> 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

2016-01-03 Thread Pine W
I agree that the turnover issue is a matter that needs some consideration.
But I think that issue is more relevant to the ED rather than the Board. I
would appreciate it if we could keep that issue separate from the murky
circumstances of James' departure and the conflicting testimony that has
been given in public, the *possible* official misconduct with regards to
improper withholding of financial information from James, the community's
desire for significantly more transparency and openness from the Board, and
the credibility of the Board's leadership.

Pine
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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" <peter.southw...@telkomsa.net> 
> 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" <peter.southw...@telkomsa.net> 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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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" <peter.southw...@telkomsa.net> 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] 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 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henny_Penny> 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 <pute...@mccme.ru> 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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-- 
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 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
>
>
> ___
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> 
>



-- 
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 <polime...@gmail.com> 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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