Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-27 Thread Jimmy Wales
On 2/25/16 2:14 AM, Craig Franklin wrote:
> One could argue that any action that would injure the movement would also
> injure the Foundation by definition.  Denny is quite correct that trustees
> have a legal obligation to put the Foundation before anything else, however
> there's usually a fair bit of latitude in how that obligation is
> interpreted.

This is effectively my view.  Trustees have an unavoidable fiduciary
duty to the Foundation - it's the law, and it brings with it certain
responsibilities.  First among those responsibilities is to recognize
and support the ecosystem of editors, GLAM folks, chapters, staff,
fellow traveler organizations, readers, etc. which makes that possible.





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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Jimmy Wales
On 2/25/16 1:08 PM, Milos Rancic wrote:
> And the first part, as it wasn't well formatted initially: There is
> specific Board culture, transferred from generation to generation of
> Board members.  The culture of siege, where the community is the
> archenemy.

As the longest standing member of the board of directors, I can say that
this is categorically not true.  The board does not view the community
as a whole as the archenemy, not even a small enemy, not even as a problem.

The community is our greatest strength and the sole source of the
greatness that is Wikipedia and all the Wikimedia projects.  This is
something that everyone I have ever known on the board believes, and
something that I have passionately advocated for over the years.

That doesn't mean that every single person in the community agrees about
everything at all times, and when people disagree - particularly about
matters of empirical fact - they can't all be right at the same time.

> As Denny is repeating the same thing I heard from some of
> the previous Board members, while Jimmy is the only one with more than
> year and half of being in the Board, I suppose it's about Jimmy.

Well, that's pretty hilarious. I laughed when I read this.  No,
virtually nothing is about me.  The most consistent criticism I have
received from board members over the years is that I don't put forward
my own views forcefully, and tend to be a very moderate board member.
Indeed, I actively try to seek the middle ground and find harmonious
compromise solutions.

The idea of me as a Machiavellian manipulator secretly controlling the
board to ram through my own ideas is... well, it made me laugh out loud.

> The second option is possibility that that culture is so strong, that
> it already assimilated almost everybody else up to the level of being
> able to transfer the mythology to Denny.
> 
> The third option is possibility that Jan-Bart and Stu have such
> powers, that they were able to indoctrinate Denny for six months of
> being together in the Board.

The fourth option is that you are just simply wrong about the facts.
The board is not opposed to the community.

Even the statement that Denny made which seemed to confirm for you this
silly idea is one that he's already retracted and clarified.  I'd like
to speak to that specific point.

Board members sign a pledge acknowledging our legal responsibilities.
Those responsibilities mean that board members should NOT act as
political operators, trying to get advantage for their voting base
against others.  This means that chapter representatives aren't on the
board to push the interests of chapters over other parts of the
movement.  This means that editor-elected representatives aren't on the
board to push the interests of editors over other parts of the movement.
 This means that appointed members aren't on the board to push whatever
agendas they may have in other parts of their lives.

No, instead we are all bound by both morality and the law to understand
the whole of the movement and the Foundation's role in it.  My personal
view is that there is no valid concept of "the Foundation's interests
versus the movement/community interests" because the Foundation is
nothing without the movement/community (considered very broadly indeed),
and the lead organization within the movement/community.

I commented this recently on the concept of "investment in technology
VERSUS investment in the community" - I think that's a false
alternative.  Investment in technology to benefit the community versus
investment in other things to benefit the community is a valid and
difficult policy decision, a decision that has to be measured
thoughtfully against our longterm goals as a movement.

Pitting the community versus the Foundation - if anyone at the
Foundation is doing that, they are doing the wrong thing.  Pitting teh
Foundation versus the community - if anyone in the community is doing
that, they are mistaken.  (Note: identifying and talking about cases
where the Foundation has failed the community is not pitting the
Foundation against the community - it's earnestly working to help the
Foundation do a better job - it should proceed vigorously.)

--Jimbo



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:17 AM, Chris Keating 
wrote:

> >
> > I have to register disagreement with the idea that the WMF board is
> > duty-bound to serve the Foundation over the Wikimedia movement.
> >
>
> I still feel this is more a semantic issue than a practical one.


I agree. I think Denny clarified his position nicely[1] -- and I'm glad he
did, as I was also confused and a little distressed by what I initially
*thought* he was saying.
-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

[1]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-February/082456.html
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Chris Keating
>
> I have to register disagreement with the idea that the WMF board is
> duty-bound to serve the Foundation over the Wikimedia movement.
>

I still feel this is more a semantic issue than a practical one.

In UK law trustees are required to put the interests of their charity first
when making decisions. That means they are required to put the interests of
the *objectives* of their charity first (even if it means winding up the
actual charity to do so).

I don't know whether Florida law and US charity practice has the same
effect as UK law does in this situation. But if it does then it makes it
easier to follow Pharos's advice below (which I basically agree with)



>
> The whole purpose of the Foundation is to serve the Wikimedia free
> knowledge movement, as stated in the bylaws.  This does not mean that WMF
> board members must constantly poll Wikimedia movement members on what to
> do, or only consider what is popular at the time.
>
> I believe the WMF board is indeed duty-bound to support the goals the
> Wikimedia movement, in the way that they feel these goals would best be
> served over the long-term.  Of course, their opinions on the best methods
> to achieve these goals may well differ from the majority of rank-and-file
> movement members at times, but it is also part of their duty to pursue what
> they feel is best for achieving basic movement goals.
>
> Brion is also right that at some point in time, when the goals of the
> Wikimedia Foundation and movement are "accomplished", if the free knowledge
> paradigm is so successfully distributed throughout academia and society
> that it no longer makes sense to continue as a corporate entity, it would
> make sense to wind it up.  (I don't foresee this happening for decades.)
>
> Perhaps this is merely a translation issue of what "Movement" means in
> different languages, but I thought it was an important point that needed to
> be stated.
>
> Also, I think the possible models on how to achieve these goals are indeed
> more diverse than just those on offer in San Francisco and Berlin.
>
> Thanks,
> Pharos
>
> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 12:16 PM, Denny Vrandecic <
> dvrande...@wikimedia.org>
> wrote:
>
> > Thanks to all the answers to my response. I am still reading them, and I
> > probably will not be able to answer to all in a timely manner (I have to
> > work, after all), but I wanted to make a few things clearer, quickly:
> >
> > Milos, I indeed do not care about reelection. And if I have to choose
> > between truth and political wisdom, I hope to continue to choose the
> first.
> >
> > More importantly, Milos, I did a massive error in my formulation, as I
> know
> > realize, which lead to a misunderstanding. I have to apologize for that.
> > When I said that the Board has to make a decision in the interest of the
> > Foundation when there is a conflict between the Communities and the
> > Foundation, I was phrasing myself very badly, I now realize. I actually
> did
> > not mean a direct conflict between a single Community and the Foundation,
> > i.e. with these two as being directly opposed to each other and fighting
> > over something, but rather the more complicated case of a decision where
> > there is a conflict of interests between the Foundation and the
> > Movement-at-large, the Board is obliged to decide in the best interest of
> > the Foundation.
> >
> > I do not buy in the mythology of an "evil community" at all. I do not
> even
> > buy into the mythology of a great divide between the communities and the
> > foundation. There are plenty of people who are active and constructive in
> > both, and who bridge both. The cases where the Foundation and the
> Movement
> > are directly opposed to each other should be extremely rare, and,
> > thankfully are. I don't think there was anything even close to that
> brought
> > to the Board in my tenure so far.
> >
> > More often though is the case that there is a third-party situation, e.g.
> > an imminent and considerable legal threat to the Foundation. In that
> case,
> > the interests of the Movement at large has to be secondary for the Board.
> >
> > I regard the Movement-at-large as much more resilient than any and each
> of
> > its parts. And I am thankful for that, because I think our mission is
> much
> > too important to leave it with a small NGO in the Bay Area. It has to be
> a
> > mission carried by every single one of us, it has to be a mission that is
> > inclusive of every one who wants to join in realizing it.
> >
> > I have overstated my point in my last mail, obviously, and also
> > intentionally to make a point (and thanks for everyone to calling me out
> on
> > that). But as many have confirmed, there is truth in this overstatement.
> I
> > don't think that such situations will occur often. But when they occur,
> and
> > that is what I said, they will be painful and frustrating and potentially
> > shrouded in confidentiality / secrecy. Therefore it remains my strong
> > belief, that 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Pharos
Hi Denny and all,

I have to register disagreement with the idea that the WMF board is
duty-bound to serve the Foundation over the Wikimedia movement.

The whole purpose of the Foundation is to serve the Wikimedia free
knowledge movement, as stated in the bylaws.  This does not mean that WMF
board members must constantly poll Wikimedia movement members on what to
do, or only consider what is popular at the time.

I believe the WMF board is indeed duty-bound to support the goals the
Wikimedia movement, in the way that they feel these goals would best be
served over the long-term.  Of course, their opinions on the best methods
to achieve these goals may well differ from the majority of rank-and-file
movement members at times, but it is also part of their duty to pursue what
they feel is best for achieving basic movement goals.

Brion is also right that at some point in time, when the goals of the
Wikimedia Foundation and movement are "accomplished", if the free knowledge
paradigm is so successfully distributed throughout academia and society
that it no longer makes sense to continue as a corporate entity, it would
make sense to wind it up.  (I don't foresee this happening for decades.)

Perhaps this is merely a translation issue of what "Movement" means in
different languages, but I thought it was an important point that needed to
be stated.

Also, I think the possible models on how to achieve these goals are indeed
more diverse than just those on offer in San Francisco and Berlin.

Thanks,
Pharos

On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 12:16 PM, Denny Vrandecic 
wrote:

> Thanks to all the answers to my response. I am still reading them, and I
> probably will not be able to answer to all in a timely manner (I have to
> work, after all), but I wanted to make a few things clearer, quickly:
>
> Milos, I indeed do not care about reelection. And if I have to choose
> between truth and political wisdom, I hope to continue to choose the first.
>
> More importantly, Milos, I did a massive error in my formulation, as I know
> realize, which lead to a misunderstanding. I have to apologize for that.
> When I said that the Board has to make a decision in the interest of the
> Foundation when there is a conflict between the Communities and the
> Foundation, I was phrasing myself very badly, I now realize. I actually did
> not mean a direct conflict between a single Community and the Foundation,
> i.e. with these two as being directly opposed to each other and fighting
> over something, but rather the more complicated case of a decision where
> there is a conflict of interests between the Foundation and the
> Movement-at-large, the Board is obliged to decide in the best interest of
> the Foundation.
>
> I do not buy in the mythology of an "evil community" at all. I do not even
> buy into the mythology of a great divide between the communities and the
> foundation. There are plenty of people who are active and constructive in
> both, and who bridge both. The cases where the Foundation and the Movement
> are directly opposed to each other should be extremely rare, and,
> thankfully are. I don't think there was anything even close to that brought
> to the Board in my tenure so far.
>
> More often though is the case that there is a third-party situation, e.g.
> an imminent and considerable legal threat to the Foundation. In that case,
> the interests of the Movement at large has to be secondary for the Board.
>
> I regard the Movement-at-large as much more resilient than any and each of
> its parts. And I am thankful for that, because I think our mission is much
> too important to leave it with a small NGO in the Bay Area. It has to be a
> mission carried by every single one of us, it has to be a mission that is
> inclusive of every one who wants to join in realizing it.
>
> I have overstated my point in my last mail, obviously, and also
> intentionally to make a point (and thanks for everyone to calling me out on
> that). But as many have confirmed, there is truth in this overstatement. I
> don't think that such situations will occur often. But when they occur, and
> that is what I said, they will be painful and frustrating and potentially
> shrouded in confidentiality / secrecy. Therefore it remains my strong
> belief, that reaffirming the current Board as the movement leadership body
> is a bad idea, because the overstated incompatibility that I have described
> remains.
>
> I could imagine with a much smaller Board of Trustees, which itself is a
> constituent of a body representing the whole Movement.
> I could imagine a wholly new body to represent the whole movement.
> I could imagine many, many small new bodies who somehow make local
> decisions on the one side and bubble up to an ineffective, but extremely
> resilient and representative voice.
> I could imagine many other models.
> But I have a hard time to imagine the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia
> Foundation sincerely filling out the role of the 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Brion Vibber
Sorry that somehow went to wrong list.

On Feb 25, 2016 9:29 AM, "Brion Vibber"  wrote:
>
> Thanks again for your responses, Denny. I think it really helps to get a
clearer perspective on things "on the inside", and that informs the kind of
things we need to think and talk about as a company and as a movement.
>
> I know it's a super awkward position to be putting all of you in,
especially at this juncture. I hope we'll all get through this sanely and
we can talk about ways to better align our various structures to our needs
with less immediate stress.
>
> -- brion
>
> On Feb 25, 2016 9:16 AM, "Denny Vrandecic" 
wrote:
>>
>> Thanks to all the answers to my response. I am still reading them, and I
>> probably will not be able to answer to all in a timely manner (I have to
>> work, after all), but I wanted to make a few things clearer, quickly:
>>
>> Milos, I indeed do not care about reelection. And if I have to choose
>> between truth and political wisdom, I hope to continue to choose the
first.
>>
>> More importantly, Milos, I did a massive error in my formulation, as I
know
>> realize, which lead to a misunderstanding. I have to apologize for that.
>> When I said that the Board has to make a decision in the interest of the
>> Foundation when there is a conflict between the Communities and the
>> Foundation, I was phrasing myself very badly, I now realize. I actually
did
>> not mean a direct conflict between a single Community and the Foundation,
>> i.e. with these two as being directly opposed to each other and fighting
>> over something, but rather the more complicated case of a decision where
>> there is a conflict of interests between the Foundation and the
>> Movement-at-large, the Board is obliged to decide in the best interest of
>> the Foundation.
>>
>> I do not buy in the mythology of an "evil community" at all. I do not
even
>> buy into the mythology of a great divide between the communities and the
>> foundation. There are plenty of people who are active and constructive in
>> both, and who bridge both. The cases where the Foundation and the
Movement
>> are directly opposed to each other should be extremely rare, and,
>> thankfully are. I don't think there was anything even close to that
brought
>> to the Board in my tenure so far.
>>
>> More often though is the case that there is a third-party situation, e.g.
>> an imminent and considerable legal threat to the Foundation. In that
case,
>> the interests of the Movement at large has to be secondary for the Board.
>>
>> I regard the Movement-at-large as much more resilient than any and each
of
>> its parts. And I am thankful for that, because I think our mission is
much
>> too important to leave it with a small NGO in the Bay Area. It has to be
a
>> mission carried by every single one of us, it has to be a mission that is
>> inclusive of every one who wants to join in realizing it.
>>
>> I have overstated my point in my last mail, obviously, and also
>> intentionally to make a point (and thanks for everyone to calling me out
on
>> that). But as many have confirmed, there is truth in this overstatement.
I
>> don't think that such situations will occur often. But when they occur,
and
>> that is what I said, they will be painful and frustrating and potentially
>> shrouded in confidentiality / secrecy. Therefore it remains my strong
>> belief, that reaffirming the current Board as the movement leadership
body
>> is a bad idea, because the overstated incompatibility that I have
described
>> remains.
>>
>> I could imagine with a much smaller Board of Trustees, which itself is a
>> constituent of a body representing the whole Movement.
>> I could imagine a wholly new body to represent the whole movement.
>> I could imagine many, many small new bodies who somehow make local
>> decisions on the one side and bubble up to an ineffective, but extremely
>> resilient and representative voice.
>> I could imagine many other models.
>> But I have a hard time to imagine the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia
>> Foundation sincerely filling out the role of the movement leadership, due
>> to the inherent constraints and incompatibilities between these roles. As
>> rare as they appear, they do appear.
>>
>> Dariusz, you say that a disengagement from the Foundation by the
community
>> would increase a specific Foundation versus the rest of the movement
>> situation. I don't think that the formal composition of the Board matters
>> as much as its role, duties, and obligations.
>>
>> The German Wikimedia chapter, the one chapter I have a bit experience
with,
>> is a membership organization. The Board is elected by the members in its
>> entirety. I don't see any claim of that Board to lead the German
Wikimedia
>> communities. I don't see that the German chapter is significantly closer
to
>> the German Wikimedia communities, or that their relation to the
communities
>> is considerably less strained, than the Foundation is 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Denny Vrandecic
Thanks to all the answers to my response. I am still reading them, and I
probably will not be able to answer to all in a timely manner (I have to
work, after all), but I wanted to make a few things clearer, quickly:

Milos, I indeed do not care about reelection. And if I have to choose
between truth and political wisdom, I hope to continue to choose the first.

More importantly, Milos, I did a massive error in my formulation, as I know
realize, which lead to a misunderstanding. I have to apologize for that.
When I said that the Board has to make a decision in the interest of the
Foundation when there is a conflict between the Communities and the
Foundation, I was phrasing myself very badly, I now realize. I actually did
not mean a direct conflict between a single Community and the Foundation,
i.e. with these two as being directly opposed to each other and fighting
over something, but rather the more complicated case of a decision where
there is a conflict of interests between the Foundation and the
Movement-at-large, the Board is obliged to decide in the best interest of
the Foundation.

I do not buy in the mythology of an "evil community" at all. I do not even
buy into the mythology of a great divide between the communities and the
foundation. There are plenty of people who are active and constructive in
both, and who bridge both. The cases where the Foundation and the Movement
are directly opposed to each other should be extremely rare, and,
thankfully are. I don't think there was anything even close to that brought
to the Board in my tenure so far.

More often though is the case that there is a third-party situation, e.g.
an imminent and considerable legal threat to the Foundation. In that case,
the interests of the Movement at large has to be secondary for the Board.

I regard the Movement-at-large as much more resilient than any and each of
its parts. And I am thankful for that, because I think our mission is much
too important to leave it with a small NGO in the Bay Area. It has to be a
mission carried by every single one of us, it has to be a mission that is
inclusive of every one who wants to join in realizing it.

I have overstated my point in my last mail, obviously, and also
intentionally to make a point (and thanks for everyone to calling me out on
that). But as many have confirmed, there is truth in this overstatement. I
don't think that such situations will occur often. But when they occur, and
that is what I said, they will be painful and frustrating and potentially
shrouded in confidentiality / secrecy. Therefore it remains my strong
belief, that reaffirming the current Board as the movement leadership body
is a bad idea, because the overstated incompatibility that I have described
remains.

I could imagine with a much smaller Board of Trustees, which itself is a
constituent of a body representing the whole Movement.
I could imagine a wholly new body to represent the whole movement.
I could imagine many, many small new bodies who somehow make local
decisions on the one side and bubble up to an ineffective, but extremely
resilient and representative voice.
I could imagine many other models.
But I have a hard time to imagine the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia
Foundation sincerely filling out the role of the movement leadership, due
to the inherent constraints and incompatibilities between these roles. As
rare as they appear, they do appear.

Dariusz, you say that a disengagement from the Foundation by the community
would increase a specific Foundation versus the rest of the movement
situation. I don't think that the formal composition of the Board matters
as much as its role, duties, and obligations.

The German Wikimedia chapter, the one chapter I have a bit experience with,
is a membership organization. The Board is elected by the members in its
entirety. I don't see any claim of that Board to lead the German Wikimedia
communities. I don't see that the German chapter is significantly closer to
the German Wikimedia communities, or that their relation to the communities
is considerably less strained, than the Foundation is to the overall
communities (besides the obvious locality of their relation).

Dan, Brion, James, in particular thanks to you for arguing why my
overstatement was, well, an overstatement. But I still remain convinced
that the view of the Board as having the role of leading the movement is
merely an accident of the fact that we have no other obvious leadership,
and that the Board is being sucked into that vacuum. It is not designed to
be so, and, I argue, due to the legal and formal obligations, it shouldn't.

MZMcBride, I currently lack the time to answer to your specific and
excellent points in particular. Sorry. I hope to come back to it.





On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 8:24 AM, Dariusz Jemielniak <
djemieln...@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:43 AM, Milos Rancic  wrote:
>
> > Thus, not the senate, but assembly is the right form of 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Brion Vibber
(I should clarify I don't think the pledge is necessarily wrong; it reads
to me like a straightforward affirmation of the conflict of interest policy
and I think it can't really be blamed for a notion of siding against the
community. But if it's confusing, maybe let's consider clarifying.)

-- brion
On Feb 25, 2016 7:54 AM, "Brion Vibber"  wrote:

> On Feb 25, 2016 6:55 AM, "Andrea Zanni"  wrote:
> >
> > On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 2:48 PM, Brion Vibber 
> wrote:
> >
> > > What I will disagree on is with the notion that the board has to take
> the
> > > org's side against the movement by definition. It is my understanding
> that
> > > the board has the role of oversight of the org -- that is, it's the
> board's
> > > job to ensure that the Foundation is effectively accomplishing the
> goals it
> > > was created to perform.
> > >
> >
> > As much as I agree with Brion,
> > probably Denny's message is telling us a lot.
> > I haven't read carefully the WMF Board Pledge of personal commitment, but
> > this is not the first time this issue is discussed: see for example
> > Cristian mail, two months ago, tackling the very specific thing. [1]
>
> One thing we should do is ensure that the legal obligations of a trustee
> of a Florida not for profit corporation are not conflated with an
> arbitrarily-written 'pledge of personal commitment' (or, to be sure, our
> own preferences).
>
> If the pledge is poorly worded or just wrong, it should be corrected.
>
> (IANAL, so I'll leave further talk of legal obligations to those more
> familiar with the topic.)
>
> -- brion
>
> >
> > Maybe the Board "feels" a lot of pressure about this, and this is a
> problem
> > on itself.
> > We all know that "toxicity" of an environment doesn't need laws or
> written
> > rules, but people being people, social pressure, etc.
> > If Board members feels without power, bound to the WMF and not the
> > Movement, that's a real problem we need to look into.
> >
> > Aubrey
> >
> > [1]
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2015-December/080600.html
> > ___
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
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>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Dariusz Jemielniak
On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:43 AM, Milos Rancic  wrote:

> Thus, not the senate, but assembly is the right form of our
> organization: assembly which would select *paid* Board members.
> Besides the load, I want Board members to be accountable to
> Wikimedians, not to the for-profit or non-profit entities which give
> them money.
>

I am not, and have not been employed by any Wikimedia organization.


>
> Yes, it's scary to be accountable to people you lead. I completely
> understand that.
>

I have no idea where you get this idea from in my letter. I am not scared
to be accountable to people I lead, and I hope I have stated my readiness
in this department clearly.


>
> The costs of having 100 people assembly won't be significant at all.
> First of all, the most of the people in such large body would be
> anyways mostly consisted of those going to Wikimedia Conference and
> Wikimania. If you really care about money, scale the initial body to
> 40-50 and ask all chapters that sending three or more people to those
> conferences to contribute expenses for one to such body. If you put
> that way, the costs could rise up to ~5%, if they raise at all.
>

If you envisage a large, 100 people assembly during Wikimania or Wikimedia
Conference, then indeed it is possible to arrange without significant
additional cost. However, I believe this is basically an entirely different
idea than the one Denny described (or at least the one I understood we're
discussing). An assembly would be a body who would voice their opinion only
once a year in practice, most likely. I'm not sure what exactly would it
do, but surely it would be difficult for it to agree/vote on situations
happening within a span of weeks, rather than months.


>
> So, please, reconsider your ideas on the line: from speaking about bad
> bureaucracy, while in fact increasing inefficient one -- to thinking
> about efficient, democratically accountable bureaucracy, with
> everybody content by its construction.
>

I am not convinced if a body of 100 people meeting once a year is an
efficient way to reduce bureaucracy. Of course views may differ.


>
> Said everything above, I have to express that I am pissed off by the
> fact that the Board members are constructive as long as they are under
> high level of pressure. Whenever you feel a bit more empowered, I hear
> just the excuses I've been listening for a decade.
>

I am saddened you have this perception.
https://xkcd.com/552/


>
> Please, let us know how do you want to talk with us in the way that we
> see that the communication is constructive.


That is a good topic for a separate thread! Currently, the list we use is
limited to 1500 English speakers.

An idea that I have been trying to champion for a while was also
community-liaisons: community elected people whose responsibility is
day-to-day communication with the WMF and back. This would not be a
decisive role, and it is independent from whether we have a senate or
assembly or not, but could at least increase the reach of communication and
decision making in some areas.

Also, discourse is a platform that perhaps will take off at some point.

dj
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Milos Rancic
On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 4:01 PM, Dariusz Jemielniak
 wrote:
> First, my ideas to reform the Board are not incompatible with a
> "senate-like" idea.
>
> Second, I think that I see at least several reasons why a Senate for
> WIkimedia movement may not be the best way to go:
> 1) we already advance bureaucracy. Setting up yet another committee in a
> hope, that it will solve problems rarely works. It is better to improve the
> existing institutions.
> 2) Separating the movement's Senate from the WMF's Board will further
> advance the divide and disengagement.
> 3) We already have bodies, whose responsibility is oversight over the
> movement's resources (the FDC). After four years of lobbying for this idea,
> I'm really happy to see now that the WMF will be treated more like other
> organizations in the movement and will undergo a review. We DO NOT need
> more ideas to separate the WMF from the movement, we need just the
> opposite. In my view, the Board should gradually include oversight of the
> movement, rather than just the WMF.
> 4) The costs of having a 15-20 people Senate that meets in person twice a
> year match the costs of a small chapter. I don't think it makes sense,
> resource-wise.
> 5) Ultimately, Denny's proposal leads to polarizing the field into the WMF
> vs. everyone else. I would very much rather see a situation in which the
> WMF is primus inter pares.

Once again I got instinct to find appropriate literature, which
describes properly contemporary bureaucratic nonsense and doublespeak.
But I will resist this time.

FDC was the product of long-term struggle between chapters on one side
and Board, ED and staff on the other one. That will be always the case
until we get the unified global body, which democratically represents
all of the stakeholders.

Thus, not the senate, but assembly is the right form of our
organization: assembly which would select *paid* Board members.
Besides the load, I want Board members to be accountable to
Wikimedians, not to the for-profit or non-profit entities which give
them money.

Yes, it's scary to be accountable to people you lead. I completely
understand that.

The costs of having 100 people assembly won't be significant at all.
First of all, the most of the people in such large body would be
anyways mostly consisted of those going to Wikimedia Conference and
Wikimania. If you really care about money, scale the initial body to
40-50 and ask all chapters that sending three or more people to those
conferences to contribute expenses for one to such body. If you put
that way, the costs could rise up to ~5%, if they raise at all.

So, please, reconsider your ideas on the line: from speaking about bad
bureaucracy, while in fact increasing inefficient one -- to thinking
about efficient, democratically accountable bureaucracy, with
everybody content by its construction.

It appears in my vision that "more oversight" will practically mean
creation of "Community Oversight Committee", which would be used as
one more excuse, while their members would be politely intimidated not
to talk anything "too hard" to the others, under the excuses of
loyalty to anybody else than the movement itself.

Said everything above, I have to express that I am pissed off by the
fact that the Board members are constructive as long as they are under
high level of pressure. Whenever you feel a bit more empowered, I hear
just the excuses I've been listening for a decade.

Please, let us know how do you want to talk with us in the way that we
see that the communication is constructive.




-- 
Milos

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Dan Andreescu
Denny, with all due respect, I think you have things backwards.

https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Pledge_of_personal_commitment

"committed to Wikimedia Foundation’s goal to establish and maintain the
highest level of public confidence in its accountability"

Your interpretation seems to be "committed to Wikimedia Foundation".  But
you need to read that whole sentence.  The *goal* of the Foundation, to
maintain the highest level of public confidence, is the important part.
This goal can be threatened by members of the Foundation, and defended by
members of the movement at large.  Which is what's happening right now, and
which is why your interpretation is met with such disagreement.

"In every instance in which I represent the Wikimedia Foundation, I will
conduct my activities in a manner to best promote the interests of
Wikimedia Foundation."

Again, the *interests* of the Foundation, not the Foundation itself.
Which, again, are threatened by this crisis.

I hope this has just been a temporary lapse in understanding that you are
suffering from due to difficult times and elevated emotions.  But it's
clear that we need the board to protect the movement, which of course is
the *interest* and *goal* of the Foundation.

I am a relatively insignificant staff member, sure.  But still, I want to
say to the community at large that most of my friends and people I've
talked to are fully committed to the movement, and not to some abstract
useless loyalty to a Foundation that does not operate in the movement's
best interest.  But that does not mean that the crisis we face now is a
simple cut and dry problem.  The movement includes many voices that are not
heard on this list, and we have to think hard about how to account for all
those voices, and do the best thing for free and open knowledge.

On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 9:54 AM, Andrea Zanni 
wrote:

> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 2:48 PM, Brion Vibber 
> wrote:
>
> > What I will disagree on is with the notion that the board has to take the
> > org's side against the movement by definition. It is my understanding
> that
> > the board has the role of oversight of the org -- that is, it's the
> board's
> > job to ensure that the Foundation is effectively accomplishing the goals
> it
> > was created to perform.
> >
>
> As much as I agree with Brion,
> probably Denny's message is telling us a lot.
> I haven't read carefully the WMF Board Pledge of personal commitment, but
> this is not the first time this issue is discussed: see for example
> Cristian mail, two months ago, tackling the very specific thing. [1]
>
> Maybe the Board "feels" a lot of pressure about this, and this is a problem
> on itself.
> We all know that "toxicity" of an environment doesn't need laws or written
> rules, but people being people, social pressure, etc.
> If Board members feels without power, bound to the WMF and not the
> Movement, that's a real problem we need to look into.
>
> Aubrey
>
> [1]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2015-December/080600.html
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Andrea Zanni
On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 2:48 PM, Brion Vibber  wrote:

> What I will disagree on is with the notion that the board has to take the
> org's side against the movement by definition. It is my understanding that
> the board has the role of oversight of the org -- that is, it's the board's
> job to ensure that the Foundation is effectively accomplishing the goals it
> was created to perform.
>

As much as I agree with Brion,
probably Denny's message is telling us a lot.
I haven't read carefully the WMF Board Pledge of personal commitment, but
this is not the first time this issue is discussed: see for example
Cristian mail, two months ago, tackling the very specific thing. [1]

Maybe the Board "feels" a lot of pressure about this, and this is a problem
on itself.
We all know that "toxicity" of an environment doesn't need laws or written
rules, but people being people, social pressure, etc.
If Board members feels without power, bound to the WMF and not the
Movement, that's a real problem we need to look into.

Aubrey

[1]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2015-December/080600.html
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Milos Rancic
On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 1:53 PM, Florence Devouard  wrote:
>> responsible for spreading that. What I can't understand is the fact
>> that I don't see that too much (s)elected Board members have integrity
>> above Jimmy's rumors threshold.
>
> You are not very clear here Milos. Can you rephrase ? Thanks

OK, likely the influence of my Serbian syntax and semantics...

I wanted to say that there are not a lot (that's a kind of euphemism
for "few"; the only clearly visible of them being Dariusz) Board
members since your and Angela's departure (a decade?) that have
personal integrity which could resist Jimmy's rumors.

-- 
Milos

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Florence Devouard

Le 25/02/16 13:13, Milos Rancic a écrit :

On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 2:23 AM, Denny Vrandecic
 wrote:

- the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation - not
to the movement. If there is a decision to be made where there is a
conflict between the Movement or one of the Communities with the
Foundation, the Board members have to decide in favor of the Foundation.
They are not only trained to so, they have actually pledged to do so.


First, I suppose it's clear to you that you won't be reelected because
of this paragraph. While your legal obligations belong to WMF, your
political obligations belong to those who elected you. And the
paragraph above is far from being politically wise.

Second, this is the exact part of the Board's internal mythology about
the enemies inside of the movement. They've been repeated since
Florance and Angela leaved the Board.


Amusingly... when we were first elected, Angela was the representant of 
non-contributing members (the term to say they did not pay a fee to be 
members) whilst I was representant of contributing members (the ones who 
paid a fee. Hm)


I suppose Jimmy is the most

responsible for spreading that. What I can't understand is the fact
that I don't see that too much (s)elected Board members have integrity
above Jimmy's rumors threshold.


You are not very clear here Milos. Can you rephrase ? Thanks

Flo



Third, may you give to me *one* example of movement being in
confrontation with WMF's legal foundations, thus requiring Board to
react to protect WMF against the evil community?





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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread
On 25 February 2016 at 12:13, Milos Rancic  wrote:
...
> Second, this is the exact part of the Board's internal mythology about
> the enemies inside of the movement. They've been repeated since
> Florance and Angela leaved the Board. I suppose Jimmy is the most
> responsible for spreading that. What I can't understand is the fact
> that I don't see that too much (s)elected Board members have integrity
> above Jimmy's rumors threshold.
>
> Third, may you give to me *one* example of movement being in
> confrontation with WMF's legal foundations, thus requiring Board to
> react to protect WMF against the evil community?

I'm probably a good example of when 'the Board' thought they needed
to protect the WMF against a prominent community member. At the time
when I was inaugural Chair of the Chapters Association, I was
informally advised by two board members that Jimmy briefed the WMF
board against me, though I was never copied. Now after a couple of
years of gossip since these events, I have no doubt that I was
investigated by WMF legal. The WMF has publicly refused to copy me
with their reports or internal emails about me, or to confirm whether
they do or do not still have reports on record.

Denny's email is correct in many respects, with our experience over
the last ten years, it is hard to imagine the WMF changing in a way
that would allow a Wikimedia community focused organization to have
sufficient resources or political power to be able to hold the
Foundation to account. In the current set up, the WMF at the top level
would only see a strategic threat and WMF legal would advise against
allowing the risk. Individuals within the WMF do believe otherwise,
some have always been vocal about it, however while Jimmy sits on the
board as a voting trustee and has sufficient power or charisma to
suppress dissent within the board, changing to more healthy attitudes
is impossible.

In the next round of elections, perhaps we should be looking for a WMF
trustee with sufficient character to push through real change over a
few months, rather than the current board who think that vaguely
talking about change happening in 2017, or 2018, or just waiting until
the old guard is ready to retire, is radical enough. I would be
delighted to see Christophe be the next Chair, as a young man with
plenty of hard earned political scars and impressive achievements,
though he may have nicer ways of spending his time.

Fae

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Milos Rancic
On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 2:23 AM, Denny Vrandecic
 wrote:
> - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation - not
> to the movement. If there is a decision to be made where there is a
> conflict between the Movement or one of the Communities with the
> Foundation, the Board members have to decide in favor of the Foundation.
> They are not only trained to so, they have actually pledged to do so.

First, I suppose it's clear to you that you won't be reelected because
of this paragraph. While your legal obligations belong to WMF, your
political obligations belong to those who elected you. And the
paragraph above is far from being politically wise.

Second, this is the exact part of the Board's internal mythology about
the enemies inside of the movement. They've been repeated since
Florance and Angela leaved the Board. I suppose Jimmy is the most
responsible for spreading that. What I can't understand is the fact
that I don't see that too much (s)elected Board members have integrity
above Jimmy's rumors threshold.

Third, may you give to me *one* example of movement being in
confrontation with WMF's legal foundations, thus requiring Board to
react to protect WMF against the evil community?

-- 
Milos

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Chris Keating
Can I suggest that it would be really good to document some of this
discussion about the WMF board composition and so on on Meta - that way it
will be more apparent in future when people are thinking about this issue.

A good place might be to re-open this page:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_of_Trustees/Thinking_about_the_WMF_Board_composition

Chris

On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:42 AM, Thyge  wrote:

> I already proposed a "house of representatives" earlier to represent the
> stakeholders and take care of the diversity issue, appointing the BoT etc.
>
> Regards,
> Thyge
>
>
> 2016-02-25 10:14 GMT+01:00 Jens Best :
>
> > just very short input here on the list:
> >
> > A community council or membership structure representing the diversity
> and
> > plurality of the movement in a democratic way would be great idea, in
> fact
> > it is a much needed idea to be realized.
> >
> > BUT:
> >
> > This structure would need to be a true counter-balance to WMF/BoT.
> > Therefore true power (decision-making, money etc.) would need to be
> > transfered in appropiate ways into the responsibility of this new
> > structure. If all the final decisionmaking would stay with the BoT and
> the
> > management of WMF any such more representative council would only be a
> > toothless thing.
> >
> > Best,
> > Jens
> >
> > 2016-02-25 5:21 GMT+01:00 James Alexander :
> >
> > > On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 5:23 PM, Denny Vrandecic <
> > dvrande...@wikimedia.org
> > > >
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > I disagree very much with Dariusz on this topic (as he knows).
> > >
> > >
> > > I must say I also disagree with you ;).
> > >
> > > That is not to say that a community council or membership structure of
> > some
> > > sort might not be good (I think there are some logistical challenges
> that
> > > are so difficult that it may not be possible... I'd rather us try to
> deal
> > > with things like global dispute resolution first before we try to think
> > > about some governance council... but the idea is certainly intriguing)
> > but
> > > I think the idea that  that body is 100% independent or that the board
> > > itself should not/is not speaking for the movement too is missing some
> of
> > > the point and being far too simplistic for the good of the org and the
> > > movement. I know you don't really mean it this way but it can easily
> come
> > > across as a bit of "don't look at me if this was bad for the movement I
> > had
> > > to ignore that".
> > >
> > >
> > > > I think that
> > > > a body that is able to speak for the movement as a whole would be
> > > extremely
> > > > beneficial in order to relieve the current Board of Trustees of the
> > > > Wikimedia Foundation from that role. It simply cannot - and indeed,
> > > legally
> > > > must not - fulfill this role.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > > To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that
> > will
> > > > be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
> > > >
> > > > - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the
> Foundation -
> > > not
> > > > to the movement. If there is a decision to be made where there is a
> > > > conflict between the Movement or one of the Communities with the
> > > > Foundation, the Board members have to decide in favor of the
> > Foundation.
> > > > They are not only trained to so, they have actually pledged to do so.
> > > >
> > > > - the Board members have fiduciary responsibilities. No, we cannot
> just
> > > > talk about what we are doing. As said, the loyalty of a Board member
> is
> > > > towards the organization, not the movement.
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Whether the board wants it or not it DOES end up serving a leadership
> > role
> > > in the Movement and arguably the top leadership role. Yes it has a
> > > fiduciary responsibility to the org but part of that is it also has a
> > "duty
> > > of obedience". That duty of obedience includes, ensuring the board
> > members
> > > "have a responsibility to be faithful to the organization’s stated
> > mission
> > > and not to act or use its resources in incompatible ways or purposes"
> in
> > > addition to ensuring the org follows applicable laws. [1] So if we
> don't
> > > think that the Foundation has to do what's best for the movement as
> well
> > > then perhaps we should be reevaluating the wording of that mission.
> > >
> > > I would say  a non-profit has an obligation to wind itself down if its
> > > mission (and remaining money) is better served elsewhere (as an extreme
> > > example, but one I've certainly seen) or to transfer the copyrights out
> > of
> > > country if that was the right move etc. A duty to the organization does
> > not
> > > meant that you do not have a duty to the movement and so I think it is
> > > wrong to try and side step that under the umbrella of fiduciary
> > > responsibility which is much more then just money and personnel.
> > >
> > > [Could say a 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Thyge
I already proposed a "house of representatives" earlier to represent the
stakeholders and take care of the diversity issue, appointing the BoT etc.

Regards,
Thyge


2016-02-25 10:14 GMT+01:00 Jens Best :

> just very short input here on the list:
>
> A community council or membership structure representing the diversity and
> plurality of the movement in a democratic way would be great idea, in fact
> it is a much needed idea to be realized.
>
> BUT:
>
> This structure would need to be a true counter-balance to WMF/BoT.
> Therefore true power (decision-making, money etc.) would need to be
> transfered in appropiate ways into the responsibility of this new
> structure. If all the final decisionmaking would stay with the BoT and the
> management of WMF any such more representative council would only be a
> toothless thing.
>
> Best,
> Jens
>
> 2016-02-25 5:21 GMT+01:00 James Alexander :
>
> > On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 5:23 PM, Denny Vrandecic <
> dvrande...@wikimedia.org
> > >
> > wrote:
> >
> > > I disagree very much with Dariusz on this topic (as he knows).
> >
> >
> > I must say I also disagree with you ;).
> >
> > That is not to say that a community council or membership structure of
> some
> > sort might not be good (I think there are some logistical challenges that
> > are so difficult that it may not be possible... I'd rather us try to deal
> > with things like global dispute resolution first before we try to think
> > about some governance council... but the idea is certainly intriguing)
> but
> > I think the idea that  that body is 100% independent or that the board
> > itself should not/is not speaking for the movement too is missing some of
> > the point and being far too simplistic for the good of the org and the
> > movement. I know you don't really mean it this way but it can easily come
> > across as a bit of "don't look at me if this was bad for the movement I
> had
> > to ignore that".
> >
> >
> > > I think that
> > > a body that is able to speak for the movement as a whole would be
> > extremely
> > > beneficial in order to relieve the current Board of Trustees of the
> > > Wikimedia Foundation from that role. It simply cannot - and indeed,
> > legally
> > > must not - fulfill this role.
> >
> >
> >
> > > To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that
> will
> > > be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
> > >
> > > - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation -
> > not
> > > to the movement. If there is a decision to be made where there is a
> > > conflict between the Movement or one of the Communities with the
> > > Foundation, the Board members have to decide in favor of the
> Foundation.
> > > They are not only trained to so, they have actually pledged to do so.
> > >
> > > - the Board members have fiduciary responsibilities. No, we cannot just
> > > talk about what we are doing. As said, the loyalty of a Board member is
> > > towards the organization, not the movement.
> > >
> >
> >
> > Whether the board wants it or not it DOES end up serving a leadership
> role
> > in the Movement and arguably the top leadership role. Yes it has a
> > fiduciary responsibility to the org but part of that is it also has a
> "duty
> > of obedience". That duty of obedience includes, ensuring the board
> members
> > "have a responsibility to be faithful to the organization’s stated
> mission
> > and not to act or use its resources in incompatible ways or purposes" in
> > addition to ensuring the org follows applicable laws. [1] So if we don't
> > think that the Foundation has to do what's best for the movement as well
> > then perhaps we should be reevaluating the wording of that mission.
> >
> > I would say  a non-profit has an obligation to wind itself down if its
> > mission (and remaining money) is better served elsewhere (as an extreme
> > example, but one I've certainly seen) or to transfer the copyrights out
> of
> > country if that was the right move etc. A duty to the organization does
> not
> > meant that you do not have a duty to the movement and so I think it is
> > wrong to try and side step that under the umbrella of fiduciary
> > responsibility which is much more then just money and personnel.
> >
> > [Could say a lot more but probably not useful here and now :) I feel
> like I
> > either need to do that over drinks or have a bit more distance between
> the
> > current crisis & time to write it all down in a more coherent fashion ]
> >
> > [1]
> >
> >
> http://www.trusteemag.com/display/TRU-news-article.dhtml?dcrPath=/templatedata/HF_Common/NewsArticle/data/TRU/WebExclusives/2013/WebExclusive0613legalduties
> > (among many other sites)
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> > Unsubscribe: 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Jens Best
just very short input here on the list:

A community council or membership structure representing the diversity and
plurality of the movement in a democratic way would be great idea, in fact
it is a much needed idea to be realized.

BUT:

This structure would need to be a true counter-balance to WMF/BoT.
Therefore true power (decision-making, money etc.) would need to be
transfered in appropiate ways into the responsibility of this new
structure. If all the final decisionmaking would stay with the BoT and the
management of WMF any such more representative council would only be a
toothless thing.

Best,
Jens

2016-02-25 5:21 GMT+01:00 James Alexander :

> On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 5:23 PM, Denny Vrandecic  >
> wrote:
>
> > I disagree very much with Dariusz on this topic (as he knows).
>
>
> I must say I also disagree with you ;).
>
> That is not to say that a community council or membership structure of some
> sort might not be good (I think there are some logistical challenges that
> are so difficult that it may not be possible... I'd rather us try to deal
> with things like global dispute resolution first before we try to think
> about some governance council... but the idea is certainly intriguing)  but
> I think the idea that  that body is 100% independent or that the board
> itself should not/is not speaking for the movement too is missing some of
> the point and being far too simplistic for the good of the org and the
> movement. I know you don't really mean it this way but it can easily come
> across as a bit of "don't look at me if this was bad for the movement I had
> to ignore that".
>
>
> > I think that
> > a body that is able to speak for the movement as a whole would be
> extremely
> > beneficial in order to relieve the current Board of Trustees of the
> > Wikimedia Foundation from that role. It simply cannot - and indeed,
> legally
> > must not - fulfill this role.
>
>
>
> > To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that will
> > be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
> >
> > - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation -
> not
> > to the movement. If there is a decision to be made where there is a
> > conflict between the Movement or one of the Communities with the
> > Foundation, the Board members have to decide in favor of the Foundation.
> > They are not only trained to so, they have actually pledged to do so.
> >
> > - the Board members have fiduciary responsibilities. No, we cannot just
> > talk about what we are doing. As said, the loyalty of a Board member is
> > towards the organization, not the movement.
> >
>
>
> Whether the board wants it or not it DOES end up serving a leadership role
> in the Movement and arguably the top leadership role. Yes it has a
> fiduciary responsibility to the org but part of that is it also has a "duty
> of obedience". That duty of obedience includes, ensuring the board members
> "have a responsibility to be faithful to the organization’s stated mission
> and not to act or use its resources in incompatible ways or purposes" in
> addition to ensuring the org follows applicable laws. [1] So if we don't
> think that the Foundation has to do what's best for the movement as well
> then perhaps we should be reevaluating the wording of that mission.
>
> I would say  a non-profit has an obligation to wind itself down if its
> mission (and remaining money) is better served elsewhere (as an extreme
> example, but one I've certainly seen) or to transfer the copyrights out of
> country if that was the right move etc. A duty to the organization does not
> meant that you do not have a duty to the movement and so I think it is
> wrong to try and side step that under the umbrella of fiduciary
> responsibility which is much more then just money and personnel.
>
> [Could say a lot more but probably not useful here and now :) I feel like I
> either need to do that over drinks or have a bit more distance between the
> current crisis & time to write it all down in a more coherent fashion ]
>
> [1]
>
> http://www.trusteemag.com/display/TRU-news-article.dhtml?dcrPath=/templatedata/HF_Common/NewsArticle/data/TRU/WebExclusives/2013/WebExclusive0613legalduties
> (among many other sites)
> ___
> 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,
> 
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-25 Thread Gerard Meijssen
Hoi,
Sorry the important point is that we should invest where the most benefit
is. The Wikipedia community is toxic when you talk functionality. It is
much better to spend effort where it makes a difference, where it is
welcome and where it does add value.
Thanks,
 GerardM

On 25 February 2016 at 08:29, Anthony Cole  wrote:

> I think we agree on the important points. There's a huge potential in
> Wikidata, and it looks like it's in good hands. Commons could be so much
> better than it is.
>
> Anthony Cole
>
>
> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 3:08 PM, Gerard Meijssen <
> gerard.meijs...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Hoi,
> > Nice that you prove my point. My point was that when proper attention
> would
> > be given to Commons, it would stand proud. Important achievements have
> been
> > made, because of Commons and its community we have GLAM (just as an
> > example).
> >
> > When it was possible to find images in Commons, it would no longer be
> > dysfunctional. It is a travesty that while we discuss search in the light
> > of the recent huha, we have important functionality from Wikidata that
> > increases the results substantially for any and all languages and the
> > notion that finding material in Commons (aka search) is so bad that I do
> > not even consider Commons for illustrations for my blog..
> >
> > Even on this Wikimedia-l demonstrate how limited their understanding is
> of
> > what it is what we do and where we can easily even cheaply improve,
> >
> > If you want 100,000 more editors for Wikipedia (any language) there is
> such
> > a glaring opportunity that people do not even see it before them. It
> would
> > not cost much and it will improve their well being in a meaningful way.
> > Thanks,
> >GerardM
> >
> > On 25 February 2016 at 07:37, Anthony Cole  wrote:
> >
> > > Yes, I guess Commons is kind of useful - as an adjunct to Wikipedia.
> > > Leaving aside its usefulness to Wikipedia, though, would anyone else
> > notice
> > > if it disappeared tomorrow? If they did, Flickr and Google would fill
> any
> > > gap overnight.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Anthony Cole
> > >
> > >
> > > On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 2:25 PM, Gerard Meijssen <
> > > gerard.meijs...@gmail.com>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Hoi,
> > > > You are wrong. The English Wikipedia is only brutally big. Wikidata
> is
> > > > slowly but surely becoming one of the most important resources for
> data
> > > on
> > > > the Internet. Commons is the biggest dysfunctional repository of
> freely
> > > > licensed material. Wikisource is where for many languages much of the
> > > books
> > > > end up (for want of new books and for the cost of publishing).
> > > >
> > > > Really. If projects like Wikidata and Commons received proper
> attention
> > > to
> > > > give them the credit they are due, they would improve exponentially
> > while
> > > > more attention to Wikipedia only improves things marginally.
> > > >
> > > > People who are one track ponies about Wikipedia are in fact clueless.
> > > They
> > > > forget about what we stand for; sharing the sum of all knowledge.
> That
> > > sum
> > > > of all knowledge is better represented in both Commons and Wikidata.
> > > > Thanks,
> > > >   GerardM
> > > >
> > > > On 25 February 2016 at 07:17, Anthony Cole 
> > wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > True, Gerard. I'm pretty sure the encyclopaedia is the only
> > successful
> > > > > Wikimedia project though, isn't it? I suppose Wikidata will be a
> > > success
> > > > > one day but, for the moment, it's the encyclopaedia that the world
> > > loves,
> > > > > it's the encyclopaedia that raises the income, it's the
> encyclopaedia
> > > > that
> > > > > is spreading the knowledge. On those measures - public awareness
> and
> > > > > affection, income-generation, and knowledge-dissemination, all the
> > > other
> > > > > entities are less than a drop in the ocean compared to Wikipedia.
> > > > >
> > > > > The people in these cottage industries that have grown up around
> this
> > > > host
> > > > > - chapters, WMF, sister-projects - too often lose sight of the fact
> > > that
> > > > > all of them have yet to prove they have had any significant
> > measurable
> > > > > impact on the distribution of knowledge.
> > > > >
> > > > > So, forgive me if I sometimes forget to include them in my
> thinking.
> > > > >
> > > > > Anthony Cole
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 1:31 PM, Gerard Meijssen <
> > > > > gerard.meijs...@gmail.com>
> > > > > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > > Hoi,
> > > > > > We are not an encyclopaedia. It is only one of our products. It
> is
> > > only
> > > > > one
> > > > > > way whereby we provide content. By insisting on being focused on
> > that
> > > > > part
> > > > > > of what we do, we do an injustice to everything else.
> > > > > > Thanks,
> > > > > > GerardM
> > > > > >
> > > > > > On 25 February 2016 at 04:01, Anthony Cole 
> > > > 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Anthony Cole
I think we agree on the important points. There's a huge potential in
Wikidata, and it looks like it's in good hands. Commons could be so much
better than it is.

Anthony Cole


On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 3:08 PM, Gerard Meijssen 
wrote:

> Hoi,
> Nice that you prove my point. My point was that when proper attention would
> be given to Commons, it would stand proud. Important achievements have been
> made, because of Commons and its community we have GLAM (just as an
> example).
>
> When it was possible to find images in Commons, it would no longer be
> dysfunctional. It is a travesty that while we discuss search in the light
> of the recent huha, we have important functionality from Wikidata that
> increases the results substantially for any and all languages and the
> notion that finding material in Commons (aka search) is so bad that I do
> not even consider Commons for illustrations for my blog..
>
> Even on this Wikimedia-l demonstrate how limited their understanding is of
> what it is what we do and where we can easily even cheaply improve,
>
> If you want 100,000 more editors for Wikipedia (any language) there is such
> a glaring opportunity that people do not even see it before them. It would
> not cost much and it will improve their well being in a meaningful way.
> Thanks,
>GerardM
>
> On 25 February 2016 at 07:37, Anthony Cole  wrote:
>
> > Yes, I guess Commons is kind of useful - as an adjunct to Wikipedia.
> > Leaving aside its usefulness to Wikipedia, though, would anyone else
> notice
> > if it disappeared tomorrow? If they did, Flickr and Google would fill any
> > gap overnight.
> >
> >
> >
> > Anthony Cole
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 2:25 PM, Gerard Meijssen <
> > gerard.meijs...@gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Hoi,
> > > You are wrong. The English Wikipedia is only brutally big. Wikidata is
> > > slowly but surely becoming one of the most important resources for data
> > on
> > > the Internet. Commons is the biggest dysfunctional repository of freely
> > > licensed material. Wikisource is where for many languages much of the
> > books
> > > end up (for want of new books and for the cost of publishing).
> > >
> > > Really. If projects like Wikidata and Commons received proper attention
> > to
> > > give them the credit they are due, they would improve exponentially
> while
> > > more attention to Wikipedia only improves things marginally.
> > >
> > > People who are one track ponies about Wikipedia are in fact clueless.
> > They
> > > forget about what we stand for; sharing the sum of all knowledge. That
> > sum
> > > of all knowledge is better represented in both Commons and Wikidata.
> > > Thanks,
> > >   GerardM
> > >
> > > On 25 February 2016 at 07:17, Anthony Cole 
> wrote:
> > >
> > > > True, Gerard. I'm pretty sure the encyclopaedia is the only
> successful
> > > > Wikimedia project though, isn't it? I suppose Wikidata will be a
> > success
> > > > one day but, for the moment, it's the encyclopaedia that the world
> > loves,
> > > > it's the encyclopaedia that raises the income, it's the encyclopaedia
> > > that
> > > > is spreading the knowledge. On those measures - public awareness and
> > > > affection, income-generation, and knowledge-dissemination, all the
> > other
> > > > entities are less than a drop in the ocean compared to Wikipedia.
> > > >
> > > > The people in these cottage industries that have grown up around this
> > > host
> > > > - chapters, WMF, sister-projects - too often lose sight of the fact
> > that
> > > > all of them have yet to prove they have had any significant
> measurable
> > > > impact on the distribution of knowledge.
> > > >
> > > > So, forgive me if I sometimes forget to include them in my thinking.
> > > >
> > > > Anthony Cole
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 1:31 PM, Gerard Meijssen <
> > > > gerard.meijs...@gmail.com>
> > > > wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > Hoi,
> > > > > We are not an encyclopaedia. It is only one of our products. It is
> > only
> > > > one
> > > > > way whereby we provide content. By insisting on being focused on
> that
> > > > part
> > > > > of what we do, we do an injustice to everything else.
> > > > > Thanks,
> > > > > GerardM
> > > > >
> > > > > On 25 February 2016 at 04:01, Anthony Cole 
> > > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > > WMF is a technology company. We are an encyclopaedia, an
> > educational
> > > > > > institution. We need them like I need a mechanic to keep my car
> on
> > > the
> > > > > > road. That they have control of the encyclopaedia's budget is an
> > > > > absurdity.
> > > > > > The donors want to donate to (and think they are donating to) the
> > > > > builders
> > > > > > of an encyclopaedia, not the tech guy that maintains our laptops.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Your model - essentially taking over the WMF by turning it into a
> > > > > > membership organisation, and then into something 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Gerard Meijssen
Hoi,
Nice that you prove my point. My point was that when proper attention would
be given to Commons, it would stand proud. Important achievements have been
made, because of Commons and its community we have GLAM (just as an
example).

When it was possible to find images in Commons, it would no longer be
dysfunctional. It is a travesty that while we discuss search in the light
of the recent huha, we have important functionality from Wikidata that
increases the results substantially for any and all languages and the
notion that finding material in Commons (aka search) is so bad that I do
not even consider Commons for illustrations for my blog..

Even on this Wikimedia-l demonstrate how limited their understanding is of
what it is what we do and where we can easily even cheaply improve,

If you want 100,000 more editors for Wikipedia (any language) there is such
a glaring opportunity that people do not even see it before them. It would
not cost much and it will improve their well being in a meaningful way.
Thanks,
   GerardM

On 25 February 2016 at 07:37, Anthony Cole  wrote:

> Yes, I guess Commons is kind of useful - as an adjunct to Wikipedia.
> Leaving aside its usefulness to Wikipedia, though, would anyone else notice
> if it disappeared tomorrow? If they did, Flickr and Google would fill any
> gap overnight.
>
>
>
> Anthony Cole
>
>
> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 2:25 PM, Gerard Meijssen <
> gerard.meijs...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Hoi,
> > You are wrong. The English Wikipedia is only brutally big. Wikidata is
> > slowly but surely becoming one of the most important resources for data
> on
> > the Internet. Commons is the biggest dysfunctional repository of freely
> > licensed material. Wikisource is where for many languages much of the
> books
> > end up (for want of new books and for the cost of publishing).
> >
> > Really. If projects like Wikidata and Commons received proper attention
> to
> > give them the credit they are due, they would improve exponentially while
> > more attention to Wikipedia only improves things marginally.
> >
> > People who are one track ponies about Wikipedia are in fact clueless.
> They
> > forget about what we stand for; sharing the sum of all knowledge. That
> sum
> > of all knowledge is better represented in both Commons and Wikidata.
> > Thanks,
> >   GerardM
> >
> > On 25 February 2016 at 07:17, Anthony Cole  wrote:
> >
> > > True, Gerard. I'm pretty sure the encyclopaedia is the only successful
> > > Wikimedia project though, isn't it? I suppose Wikidata will be a
> success
> > > one day but, for the moment, it's the encyclopaedia that the world
> loves,
> > > it's the encyclopaedia that raises the income, it's the encyclopaedia
> > that
> > > is spreading the knowledge. On those measures - public awareness and
> > > affection, income-generation, and knowledge-dissemination, all the
> other
> > > entities are less than a drop in the ocean compared to Wikipedia.
> > >
> > > The people in these cottage industries that have grown up around this
> > host
> > > - chapters, WMF, sister-projects - too often lose sight of the fact
> that
> > > all of them have yet to prove they have had any significant measurable
> > > impact on the distribution of knowledge.
> > >
> > > So, forgive me if I sometimes forget to include them in my thinking.
> > >
> > > Anthony Cole
> > >
> > >
> > > On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 1:31 PM, Gerard Meijssen <
> > > gerard.meijs...@gmail.com>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Hoi,
> > > > We are not an encyclopaedia. It is only one of our products. It is
> only
> > > one
> > > > way whereby we provide content. By insisting on being focused on that
> > > part
> > > > of what we do, we do an injustice to everything else.
> > > > Thanks,
> > > > GerardM
> > > >
> > > > On 25 February 2016 at 04:01, Anthony Cole 
> > wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > WMF is a technology company. We are an encyclopaedia, an
> educational
> > > > > institution. We need them like I need a mechanic to keep my car on
> > the
> > > > > road. That they have control of the encyclopaedia's budget is an
> > > > absurdity.
> > > > > The donors want to donate to (and think they are donating to) the
> > > > builders
> > > > > of an encyclopaedia, not the tech guy that maintains our laptops.
> > > > >
> > > > > Your model - essentially taking over the WMF by turning it into a
> > > > > membership organisation, and then into something that represents
> the
> > > aims
> > > > > of encyclopaedia-makers - would have the same result as starting a
> > > > > membership organisation de novo, except for two things.
> > > > >
> > > > > 1. I really like the idea of outsourcing our tech needs, so we can
> > swap
> > > > to
> > > > > new servers and a new tech team when we get fed up with the service
> > > being
> > > > > provided by the WMF.
> > > > >
> > > > > 2. Millions of dollars already sitting in the WMF's bank accounts.
> > > > > 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Anthony Cole
Yes, I guess Commons is kind of useful - as an adjunct to Wikipedia.
Leaving aside its usefulness to Wikipedia, though, would anyone else notice
if it disappeared tomorrow? If they did, Flickr and Google would fill any
gap overnight.



Anthony Cole


On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 2:25 PM, Gerard Meijssen 
wrote:

> Hoi,
> You are wrong. The English Wikipedia is only brutally big. Wikidata is
> slowly but surely becoming one of the most important resources for data on
> the Internet. Commons is the biggest dysfunctional repository of freely
> licensed material. Wikisource is where for many languages much of the books
> end up (for want of new books and for the cost of publishing).
>
> Really. If projects like Wikidata and Commons received proper attention to
> give them the credit they are due, they would improve exponentially while
> more attention to Wikipedia only improves things marginally.
>
> People who are one track ponies about Wikipedia are in fact clueless. They
> forget about what we stand for; sharing the sum of all knowledge. That sum
> of all knowledge is better represented in both Commons and Wikidata.
> Thanks,
>   GerardM
>
> On 25 February 2016 at 07:17, Anthony Cole  wrote:
>
> > True, Gerard. I'm pretty sure the encyclopaedia is the only successful
> > Wikimedia project though, isn't it? I suppose Wikidata will be a success
> > one day but, for the moment, it's the encyclopaedia that the world loves,
> > it's the encyclopaedia that raises the income, it's the encyclopaedia
> that
> > is spreading the knowledge. On those measures - public awareness and
> > affection, income-generation, and knowledge-dissemination, all the other
> > entities are less than a drop in the ocean compared to Wikipedia.
> >
> > The people in these cottage industries that have grown up around this
> host
> > - chapters, WMF, sister-projects - too often lose sight of the fact that
> > all of them have yet to prove they have had any significant measurable
> > impact on the distribution of knowledge.
> >
> > So, forgive me if I sometimes forget to include them in my thinking.
> >
> > Anthony Cole
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 1:31 PM, Gerard Meijssen <
> > gerard.meijs...@gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Hoi,
> > > We are not an encyclopaedia. It is only one of our products. It is only
> > one
> > > way whereby we provide content. By insisting on being focused on that
> > part
> > > of what we do, we do an injustice to everything else.
> > > Thanks,
> > > GerardM
> > >
> > > On 25 February 2016 at 04:01, Anthony Cole 
> wrote:
> > >
> > > > WMF is a technology company. We are an encyclopaedia, an educational
> > > > institution. We need them like I need a mechanic to keep my car on
> the
> > > > road. That they have control of the encyclopaedia's budget is an
> > > absurdity.
> > > > The donors want to donate to (and think they are donating to) the
> > > builders
> > > > of an encyclopaedia, not the tech guy that maintains our laptops.
> > > >
> > > > Your model - essentially taking over the WMF by turning it into a
> > > > membership organisation, and then into something that represents the
> > aims
> > > > of encyclopaedia-makers - would have the same result as starting a
> > > > membership organisation de novo, except for two things.
> > > >
> > > > 1. I really like the idea of outsourcing our tech needs, so we can
> swap
> > > to
> > > > new servers and a new tech team when we get fed up with the service
> > being
> > > > provided by the WMF.
> > > >
> > > > 2. Millions of dollars already sitting in the WMF's bank accounts.
> > > > Following the model proposed by Denny would leave a fairly ordinary
> > tech
> > > > contractor with bulging coffers. It would be nice to be able to take
> > most
> > > > of that with us, should we choose to change tech contractors.
> Hopefully
> > > we
> > > > could publicly shame them into handing it over.
> > > >
> > > > George, the WMF, particularly under the Sue/Erik regime - but as best
> > as
> > > I
> > > > can tell from its very beginning - has had a propensity to privilege
> > its
> > > > view of what's best over the community's view. Superprotect. Visual
> > > editor.
> > > > When the community has pushed back at WMF behaviour that suits the
> WMF,
> > > > that the WMF thinks helps them in their mission, the WMF has
> > historically
> > > > just gone ahead and ignored what the community sees as being in the
> > > > encyclopaedia's best interest. This bunch of tech geeks and silicon
> > > valley
> > > > entrepreneurs holds the whip hand in this relationship. It really
> > should
> > > be
> > > > the other way round. Denny's model; Sarah's model. I don't really
> care.
> > > But
> > > > this tail-wagging-dog thing is just not right.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Anthony Cole
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:17 AM, Anthony Cole 
> > > > wrote:
> > > >
> > 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Gerard Meijssen
Hoi,
You are wrong. The English Wikipedia is only brutally big. Wikidata is
slowly but surely becoming one of the most important resources for data on
the Internet. Commons is the biggest dysfunctional repository of freely
licensed material. Wikisource is where for many languages much of the books
end up (for want of new books and for the cost of publishing).

Really. If projects like Wikidata and Commons received proper attention to
give them the credit they are due, they would improve exponentially while
more attention to Wikipedia only improves things marginally.

People who are one track ponies about Wikipedia are in fact clueless. They
forget about what we stand for; sharing the sum of all knowledge. That sum
of all knowledge is better represented in both Commons and Wikidata.
Thanks,
  GerardM

On 25 February 2016 at 07:17, Anthony Cole  wrote:

> True, Gerard. I'm pretty sure the encyclopaedia is the only successful
> Wikimedia project though, isn't it? I suppose Wikidata will be a success
> one day but, for the moment, it's the encyclopaedia that the world loves,
> it's the encyclopaedia that raises the income, it's the encyclopaedia that
> is spreading the knowledge. On those measures - public awareness and
> affection, income-generation, and knowledge-dissemination, all the other
> entities are less than a drop in the ocean compared to Wikipedia.
>
> The people in these cottage industries that have grown up around this host
> - chapters, WMF, sister-projects - too often lose sight of the fact that
> all of them have yet to prove they have had any significant measurable
> impact on the distribution of knowledge.
>
> So, forgive me if I sometimes forget to include them in my thinking.
>
> Anthony Cole
>
>
> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 1:31 PM, Gerard Meijssen <
> gerard.meijs...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Hoi,
> > We are not an encyclopaedia. It is only one of our products. It is only
> one
> > way whereby we provide content. By insisting on being focused on that
> part
> > of what we do, we do an injustice to everything else.
> > Thanks,
> > GerardM
> >
> > On 25 February 2016 at 04:01, Anthony Cole  wrote:
> >
> > > WMF is a technology company. We are an encyclopaedia, an educational
> > > institution. We need them like I need a mechanic to keep my car on the
> > > road. That they have control of the encyclopaedia's budget is an
> > absurdity.
> > > The donors want to donate to (and think they are donating to) the
> > builders
> > > of an encyclopaedia, not the tech guy that maintains our laptops.
> > >
> > > Your model - essentially taking over the WMF by turning it into a
> > > membership organisation, and then into something that represents the
> aims
> > > of encyclopaedia-makers - would have the same result as starting a
> > > membership organisation de novo, except for two things.
> > >
> > > 1. I really like the idea of outsourcing our tech needs, so we can swap
> > to
> > > new servers and a new tech team when we get fed up with the service
> being
> > > provided by the WMF.
> > >
> > > 2. Millions of dollars already sitting in the WMF's bank accounts.
> > > Following the model proposed by Denny would leave a fairly ordinary
> tech
> > > contractor with bulging coffers. It would be nice to be able to take
> most
> > > of that with us, should we choose to change tech contractors. Hopefully
> > we
> > > could publicly shame them into handing it over.
> > >
> > > George, the WMF, particularly under the Sue/Erik regime - but as best
> as
> > I
> > > can tell from its very beginning - has had a propensity to privilege
> its
> > > view of what's best over the community's view. Superprotect. Visual
> > editor.
> > > When the community has pushed back at WMF behaviour that suits the WMF,
> > > that the WMF thinks helps them in their mission, the WMF has
> historically
> > > just gone ahead and ignored what the community sees as being in the
> > > encyclopaedia's best interest. This bunch of tech geeks and silicon
> > valley
> > > entrepreneurs holds the whip hand in this relationship. It really
> should
> > be
> > > the other way round. Denny's model; Sarah's model. I don't really care.
> > But
> > > this tail-wagging-dog thing is just not right.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Anthony Cole
> > >
> > >
> > > On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:17 AM, Anthony Cole 
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Sarah, I'd prefer to see the "keeping the servers running" role
> > > completely
> > > > separate from the community. As an organised community, if we become
> > > > dissatisfied with the service being provided by the WMF, we could
> just
> > > sack
> > > > them (or not renew their contract) and take on a new infrastructure
> > > > contractor to "keep the servers running." Organised, we - the people
> > who
> > > > actually created this thing and actively maintain it - could set the
> > > course
> > > > for its development.
> > > >
> > > > Anthony Cole
> > 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Anthony Cole
True, Gerard. I'm pretty sure the encyclopaedia is the only successful
Wikimedia project though, isn't it? I suppose Wikidata will be a success
one day but, for the moment, it's the encyclopaedia that the world loves,
it's the encyclopaedia that raises the income, it's the encyclopaedia that
is spreading the knowledge. On those measures - public awareness and
affection, income-generation, and knowledge-dissemination, all the other
entities are less than a drop in the ocean compared to Wikipedia.

The people in these cottage industries that have grown up around this host
- chapters, WMF, sister-projects - too often lose sight of the fact that
all of them have yet to prove they have had any significant measurable
impact on the distribution of knowledge.

So, forgive me if I sometimes forget to include them in my thinking.

Anthony Cole


On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 1:31 PM, Gerard Meijssen 
wrote:

> Hoi,
> We are not an encyclopaedia. It is only one of our products. It is only one
> way whereby we provide content. By insisting on being focused on that part
> of what we do, we do an injustice to everything else.
> Thanks,
> GerardM
>
> On 25 February 2016 at 04:01, Anthony Cole  wrote:
>
> > WMF is a technology company. We are an encyclopaedia, an educational
> > institution. We need them like I need a mechanic to keep my car on the
> > road. That they have control of the encyclopaedia's budget is an
> absurdity.
> > The donors want to donate to (and think they are donating to) the
> builders
> > of an encyclopaedia, not the tech guy that maintains our laptops.
> >
> > Your model - essentially taking over the WMF by turning it into a
> > membership organisation, and then into something that represents the aims
> > of encyclopaedia-makers - would have the same result as starting a
> > membership organisation de novo, except for two things.
> >
> > 1. I really like the idea of outsourcing our tech needs, so we can swap
> to
> > new servers and a new tech team when we get fed up with the service being
> > provided by the WMF.
> >
> > 2. Millions of dollars already sitting in the WMF's bank accounts.
> > Following the model proposed by Denny would leave a fairly ordinary tech
> > contractor with bulging coffers. It would be nice to be able to take most
> > of that with us, should we choose to change tech contractors. Hopefully
> we
> > could publicly shame them into handing it over.
> >
> > George, the WMF, particularly under the Sue/Erik regime - but as best as
> I
> > can tell from its very beginning - has had a propensity to privilege its
> > view of what's best over the community's view. Superprotect. Visual
> editor.
> > When the community has pushed back at WMF behaviour that suits the WMF,
> > that the WMF thinks helps them in their mission, the WMF has historically
> > just gone ahead and ignored what the community sees as being in the
> > encyclopaedia's best interest. This bunch of tech geeks and silicon
> valley
> > entrepreneurs holds the whip hand in this relationship. It really should
> be
> > the other way round. Denny's model; Sarah's model. I don't really care.
> But
> > this tail-wagging-dog thing is just not right.
> >
> >
> >
> > Anthony Cole
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:17 AM, Anthony Cole 
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Sarah, I'd prefer to see the "keeping the servers running" role
> > completely
> > > separate from the community. As an organised community, if we become
> > > dissatisfied with the service being provided by the WMF, we could just
> > sack
> > > them (or not renew their contract) and take on a new infrastructure
> > > contractor to "keep the servers running." Organised, we - the people
> who
> > > actually created this thing and actively maintain it - could set the
> > course
> > > for its development.
> > >
> > > Anthony Cole
> > >
> > >
> > > On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:09 AM, Anthony Cole 
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > >> Sarah, if the volunteer community was organised and had its own,
> > >> functional representative body that had the community's trust and
> > respect,
> > >> that would, to some degree, correct the present asymmetry between us
> and
> > >> the WMF.
> > >>
> > >> Our only rights in relation to them are to fork or leave. While we are
> > >> atomised, the latter is our only option. Organised, forking becomes a
> > >> serious possibility. Of course, I hope it never comes to that. But
> > without
> > >> that possibility, we are in the position of just having to take
> whatever
> > >> from the WMF - good and bad.
> > >>
> > >> Anthony Cole
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 9:47 AM, SarahSV 
> > wrote:
> > >>
> > >>> On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 6:23 PM, Denny Vrandecic <
> > >>> dvrande...@wikimedia.org>
> > >>> wrote:
> > >>>
> > >>> > To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things
> that
> > >>> will
> > >>> > be true now 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Gerard Meijssen
Hoi,
We are not an encyclopaedia. It is only one of our products. It is only one
way whereby we provide content. By insisting on being focused on that part
of what we do, we do an injustice to everything else.
Thanks,
GerardM

On 25 February 2016 at 04:01, Anthony Cole  wrote:

> WMF is a technology company. We are an encyclopaedia, an educational
> institution. We need them like I need a mechanic to keep my car on the
> road. That they have control of the encyclopaedia's budget is an absurdity.
> The donors want to donate to (and think they are donating to) the builders
> of an encyclopaedia, not the tech guy that maintains our laptops.
>
> Your model - essentially taking over the WMF by turning it into a
> membership organisation, and then into something that represents the aims
> of encyclopaedia-makers - would have the same result as starting a
> membership organisation de novo, except for two things.
>
> 1. I really like the idea of outsourcing our tech needs, so we can swap to
> new servers and a new tech team when we get fed up with the service being
> provided by the WMF.
>
> 2. Millions of dollars already sitting in the WMF's bank accounts.
> Following the model proposed by Denny would leave a fairly ordinary tech
> contractor with bulging coffers. It would be nice to be able to take most
> of that with us, should we choose to change tech contractors. Hopefully we
> could publicly shame them into handing it over.
>
> George, the WMF, particularly under the Sue/Erik regime - but as best as I
> can tell from its very beginning - has had a propensity to privilege its
> view of what's best over the community's view. Superprotect. Visual editor.
> When the community has pushed back at WMF behaviour that suits the WMF,
> that the WMF thinks helps them in their mission, the WMF has historically
> just gone ahead and ignored what the community sees as being in the
> encyclopaedia's best interest. This bunch of tech geeks and silicon valley
> entrepreneurs holds the whip hand in this relationship. It really should be
> the other way round. Denny's model; Sarah's model. I don't really care. But
> this tail-wagging-dog thing is just not right.
>
>
>
> Anthony Cole
>
>
> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:17 AM, Anthony Cole 
> wrote:
>
> > Sarah, I'd prefer to see the "keeping the servers running" role
> completely
> > separate from the community. As an organised community, if we become
> > dissatisfied with the service being provided by the WMF, we could just
> sack
> > them (or not renew their contract) and take on a new infrastructure
> > contractor to "keep the servers running." Organised, we - the people who
> > actually created this thing and actively maintain it - could set the
> course
> > for its development.
> >
> > Anthony Cole
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:09 AM, Anthony Cole 
> > wrote:
> >
> >> Sarah, if the volunteer community was organised and had its own,
> >> functional representative body that had the community's trust and
> respect,
> >> that would, to some degree, correct the present asymmetry between us and
> >> the WMF.
> >>
> >> Our only rights in relation to them are to fork or leave. While we are
> >> atomised, the latter is our only option. Organised, forking becomes a
> >> serious possibility. Of course, I hope it never comes to that. But
> without
> >> that possibility, we are in the position of just having to take whatever
> >> from the WMF - good and bad.
> >>
> >> Anthony Cole
> >>
> >>
> >> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 9:47 AM, SarahSV 
> wrote:
> >>
> >>> On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 6:23 PM, Denny Vrandecic <
> >>> dvrande...@wikimedia.org>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> > To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that
> >>> will
> >>> > be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
> >>> >
> >>> > - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation
> >>> - not
> >>> > to the movement.
> >>> >
> >>> > ​Hi Denny,
> >>>
> >>> Blue Avocado, the non-profit magazine, offers a somewhat different
> view.
> >>> They have published a board-member "contract" to give non-profit
> >>> directors
> >>> an idea of what's expected of them. It includes:
> >>>
> >>> ​
> >>>
> >>> ​"... ​
> >>> I will interpret our constituencies' needs and values to the
> >>> organization,
> >>> speak out for their interests, and on their behalf, hold the
> organization
> >>> accountable.
> >>> ​" [1]
> >>>
> >>> Sarah
> >>>
> >>> [1] http://www.blueavocado.org/content/board-member-contract
> >>> ​
> >>> ___
> >>> 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,
> >>> 
> >>>
> >>
> >>
> >
> 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Sam Klein
Craig Franklin  writes:

> any action that would injure the movement would also
> injure the Foundation by definition.  Denny is quite correct that trustees
> have a legal obligation to put the Foundation before anything else, however
> there's usually a fair bit of latitude in how that obligation
> is interpreted.
>

Yes.

DGG writes:
> Rather, the movement is to create a model of free human interaction and
> work, and the initial way of exemplifying this is in the various versions
> of the encyclopedia.

+100.  Edit this a bit and it will be a perfect quote.

> a model of free cooperative expression of the
> manifestations of human intellectual work and creativity... is
> fundamentally and radically in conflict with such formal organization...
< To the extent we need it, it is only to serve some limited purposes
> necessary in the economic and legal  world as it is.
<
> Unfortunately... human history shows that structures intended to have
> such limited supporting purposes do not easily remain in this limited role

I appreciate this long view.  It is true, similar to the arc that leads to
policy creep even where it is counterprouctive; and each requires steady
awareness to balance.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread James Alexander
On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 5:23 PM, Denny Vrandecic 
wrote:

> I disagree very much with Dariusz on this topic (as he knows).


I must say I also disagree with you ;).

That is not to say that a community council or membership structure of some
sort might not be good (I think there are some logistical challenges that
are so difficult that it may not be possible... I'd rather us try to deal
with things like global dispute resolution first before we try to think
about some governance council... but the idea is certainly intriguing)  but
I think the idea that  that body is 100% independent or that the board
itself should not/is not speaking for the movement too is missing some of
the point and being far too simplistic for the good of the org and the
movement. I know you don't really mean it this way but it can easily come
across as a bit of "don't look at me if this was bad for the movement I had
to ignore that".


> I think that
> a body that is able to speak for the movement as a whole would be extremely
> beneficial in order to relieve the current Board of Trustees of the
> Wikimedia Foundation from that role. It simply cannot - and indeed, legally
> must not - fulfill this role.



> To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that will
> be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
>
> - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation - not
> to the movement. If there is a decision to be made where there is a
> conflict between the Movement or one of the Communities with the
> Foundation, the Board members have to decide in favor of the Foundation.
> They are not only trained to so, they have actually pledged to do so.
>
> - the Board members have fiduciary responsibilities. No, we cannot just
> talk about what we are doing. As said, the loyalty of a Board member is
> towards the organization, not the movement.
>


Whether the board wants it or not it DOES end up serving a leadership role
in the Movement and arguably the top leadership role. Yes it has a
fiduciary responsibility to the org but part of that is it also has a "duty
of obedience". That duty of obedience includes, ensuring the board members
"have a responsibility to be faithful to the organization’s stated mission
and not to act or use its resources in incompatible ways or purposes" in
addition to ensuring the org follows applicable laws. [1] So if we don't
think that the Foundation has to do what's best for the movement as well
then perhaps we should be reevaluating the wording of that mission.

I would say  a non-profit has an obligation to wind itself down if its
mission (and remaining money) is better served elsewhere (as an extreme
example, but one I've certainly seen) or to transfer the copyrights out of
country if that was the right move etc. A duty to the organization does not
meant that you do not have a duty to the movement and so I think it is
wrong to try and side step that under the umbrella of fiduciary
responsibility which is much more then just money and personnel.

[Could say a lot more but probably not useful here and now :) I feel like I
either need to do that over drinks or have a bit more distance between the
current crisis & time to write it all down in a more coherent fashion ]

[1]
http://www.trusteemag.com/display/TRU-news-article.dhtml?dcrPath=/templatedata/HF_Common/NewsArticle/data/TRU/WebExclusives/2013/WebExclusive0613legalduties
(among many other sites)
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Anthony Cole
Risker, regarding "why are all of these proposals so focused on people
who click
the edit button": because people who click the edit button on Wikipedia are
the people who make this thing our readers love, the people responsible for
the rivers of gold flowing into the WMF's bank account.

It's going to be hard enough (but doable) designing an editor membership
structure that is safe from gaming by interest groups. If you can design a
way to include readers in the membership, that is proofed against gaming,
great, put it forward. I can't think of one.

The people who make this thing should be overseeing it, not the people who
keep the servers running.

Anthony Cole


On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 11:46 AM, George Herbert 
wrote:

> More focused but where I was trying to go.  Thank you.
>
> Perhaps two C level positions, Chief Editor Officer to liase and advocate
> there, and Chief Reader Officer to research and liase and advocate there,
> too.
>
> Q: How can we identify a Reader representative we could put on the Board?
>
>
> George William Herbert
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> > On Feb 24, 2016, at 7:34 PM, Risker  wrote:
> >
> > Out of curiosity, why are all of these proposals so focused on people who
> > click the edit button.  The overwhelming percentage of our users (half a
> > billion a month, if I recall correctly) never click that button.  The
> vast
> > majority of our donors never click that button. The massive majority of
> > active and very active editors don't participate in Board selection
> > activities. I won't say that the editing community is unimportant - in
> fact
> > I believe it is extremely important - but every proposal that is coming
> > forward seems exclusively focused on "empowering" a small percentage of
> the
> > editing group over all other stakeholders.  I'd like to see some
> > suggestions that are more balanced.
> >
> >
> > Risker
> >
> > On 24 February 2016 at 22:27, George Herbert 
> > wrote:
> >
> >>
> >>
> >>> On Feb 24, 2016, at 7:01 PM, Anthony Cole  wrote:
> >>>
> >>> George, the WMF, particularly under the Sue/Erik regime - but as best
> as
> >> I
> >>> can tell from its very beginning - has had a propensity to privilege
> its
> >>> view of what's best over the community's view. Superprotect. Visual
> >> editor.
> >>> When the community has pushed back at WMF behaviour that suits the WMF,
> >>> that the WMF thinks helps them in their mission, the WMF has
> historically
> >>> just gone ahead and ignored what the community sees as being in the
> >>> encyclopaedia's best interest. This bunch of tech geeks and silicon
> >> valley
> >>> entrepreneurs holds the whip hand in this relationship. It really
> should
> >> be
> >>> the other way round. Denny's model; Sarah's model. I don't really care.
> >> But
> >>> this tail-wagging-dog thing is just not right.
> >>
> >> There are several ways to look at this.  One includes the view that the
> >> Foundation and Board exist to protect and encourage the Movement, not
> just
> >> the loudest editor communities.  And that there are wider issues for the
> >> Movement, including things for users, things keeping users from editing,
> >> and things pushing people out of active editing that the Board and
> >> Foundation rightly should be paying a lot of attention to.
> >>
> >> There are both valid issues the editor community has objected to, and
> >> things the editor community (enwiki at least) is grossly dysfunctional
> >> about that the Board and Foundation must still focus on.  Both
> separation
> >> for perspective and feedback and relationship care are needed.
> >>
> >>
> >> George William Herbert
> >> Sent from my iPhone
> >> ___
> >> 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,
> >> 
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> 
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread George Herbert
More focused but where I was trying to go.  Thank you.

Perhaps two C level positions, Chief Editor Officer to liase and advocate 
there, and Chief Reader Officer to research and liase and advocate there, too.

Q: How can we identify a Reader representative we could put on the Board?


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 24, 2016, at 7:34 PM, Risker  wrote:
> 
> Out of curiosity, why are all of these proposals so focused on people who
> click the edit button.  The overwhelming percentage of our users (half a
> billion a month, if I recall correctly) never click that button.  The vast
> majority of our donors never click that button. The massive majority of
> active and very active editors don't participate in Board selection
> activities. I won't say that the editing community is unimportant - in fact
> I believe it is extremely important - but every proposal that is coming
> forward seems exclusively focused on "empowering" a small percentage of the
> editing group over all other stakeholders.  I'd like to see some
> suggestions that are more balanced.
> 
> 
> Risker
> 
> On 24 February 2016 at 22:27, George Herbert 
> wrote:
> 
>> 
>> 
>>> On Feb 24, 2016, at 7:01 PM, Anthony Cole  wrote:
>>> 
>>> George, the WMF, particularly under the Sue/Erik regime - but as best as
>> I
>>> can tell from its very beginning - has had a propensity to privilege its
>>> view of what's best over the community's view. Superprotect. Visual
>> editor.
>>> When the community has pushed back at WMF behaviour that suits the WMF,
>>> that the WMF thinks helps them in their mission, the WMF has historically
>>> just gone ahead and ignored what the community sees as being in the
>>> encyclopaedia's best interest. This bunch of tech geeks and silicon
>> valley
>>> entrepreneurs holds the whip hand in this relationship. It really should
>> be
>>> the other way round. Denny's model; Sarah's model. I don't really care.
>> But
>>> this tail-wagging-dog thing is just not right.
>> 
>> There are several ways to look at this.  One includes the view that the
>> Foundation and Board exist to protect and encourage the Movement, not just
>> the loudest editor communities.  And that there are wider issues for the
>> Movement, including things for users, things keeping users from editing,
>> and things pushing people out of active editing that the Board and
>> Foundation rightly should be paying a lot of attention to.
>> 
>> There are both valid issues the editor community has objected to, and
>> things the editor community (enwiki at least) is grossly dysfunctional
>> about that the Board and Foundation must still focus on.  Both separation
>> for perspective and feedback and relationship care are needed.
>> 
>> 
>> George William Herbert
>> Sent from my iPhone
>> ___
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>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
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>> 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread MZMcBride
Denny Vrandecic wrote:
>- the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation -
>not to the movement. If there is a decision to be made where there is a
>conflict between the Movement or one of the Communities with the
>Foundation, the Board members have to decide in favor of the Foundation.
>They are not only trained to so, they have actually pledged to do so.

The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees is responsible for the
appointment of the Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director; the
Executive Director carries out the mission of the Wikimedia Foundation
(which is included in the bylaws) on a day-to-day basis. My understanding
is that any decision by the Wikimedia Foundation staff is reviewable by
the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. In cases of disagreement
between the Wikimedia editing community and the Wikimedia Foundation
staff, the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees is the ultimate
authority. The physical servers are owned and operated by the Wikimedia
Foundation, Inc., which is managed by this Board of Trustees.

The theory of checks and balances worked a lot better when I thought that
some of the Board of Trustees seats were elected, and not simply nominated.

Regarding the current situation within the Wikimedia Foundation, you and
your nine colleagues are most certainly responsible for ensuring that the
Wikimedia Foundation (the corporate entity) can function smoothly. If
large numbers of Wikimedia Foundation staff are unhappy with your group's
Executive Director appointment, that's very clearly your group's and the
Executive Director's problem to immediately resolve.

Given the Wikimedia Foundation's current role in keeping the Wikimedia
Web properties online, if the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees is
failing to keep the Wikimedia Foundation running smoothly, it also becomes
others' problem to immediately resolve.

While I think some of this conversation is interesting and worth having,
the house is currently aflame and the Wikimedia movement (including
Wikimedia Foundation staff and the Wikimedia editing community) awaits
word from the Board of Trustees about whether we'll be putting that fire
out or letting it burn.

It also seems worth noting that the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees
can and does enact resolutions that apply to the Wikimedia editing
community. Most other Wikimedia movement entities, such as Wikimedia
Deutschland or WikiWomen's User Group, do not have this power. The one
exception I could think of was that the Wikimedia movement has enacted
some global policies at Meta-Wiki, but these have less force and effect
than a Board of Trustees resolution.

>- the Board members have fiduciary responsibilities. No, we cannot just
>talk about what we are doing. As said, the loyalty of a Board member is
>towards the organization, not the movement.

I think it would be helpful if the Wikimedia Foundation legal team could
lay out exactly what can and cannot be made public for legal reasons. I
have a feeling that a lot more is being kept private than needs to be.

>I currently do not see any body that in the Wikimedia movement that would
>have the moral authority to discuss e.g. whether Wikiversity should be
>set up as a project independent of the Wikimedia movement, whether
>Wikisource would deserve much more resources, whether Stewards have
>sufficient authority, whether the German Wikimedia chapter has to submit
>itself to the FDC proposal, whether a restart of the Croatian Wikipedia
>is warranted, etc.

The Wikimedia community, and in particular members of the Wikiversity
community, decide whether Wikiversity splits off as a separate project
independent of the Wikimedia movement. Or any other group of people can
take Wikiversity's content (or software!) and reuse it as they see fit.

Whether Wikisource deserves more resources is decided by people
volunteering on the project. It's also a matter for the Wikimedia
Foundation, in the same way that Wikipedia is. Why would you treat
siblings so dissimilarly?

Stewards have sufficient authority over the wikis. I don't think anyone
has an issue with the stewards, but if so, raise the issue on Meta-Wiki.

The current funding structure is such that the German Wikimedia chapter
has to submit to whatever rules the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. creates in
order to receive money from it. Them's the rules, given how money is
donated. Changing how donations are accepted and then redistributed is a
huge matter. Are you suggesting we re-open that discussion?

The Croatian Wikipedia would be (re)started if LangCom approves it. We
have processes for both starting and closing Wikipedias.

MZMcBride



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Risker
Out of curiosity, why are all of these proposals so focused on people who
click the edit button.  The overwhelming percentage of our users (half a
billion a month, if I recall correctly) never click that button.  The vast
majority of our donors never click that button. The massive majority of
active and very active editors don't participate in Board selection
activities. I won't say that the editing community is unimportant - in fact
I believe it is extremely important - but every proposal that is coming
forward seems exclusively focused on "empowering" a small percentage of the
editing group over all other stakeholders.  I'd like to see some
suggestions that are more balanced.


Risker

On 24 February 2016 at 22:27, George Herbert 
wrote:

>
>
> > On Feb 24, 2016, at 7:01 PM, Anthony Cole  wrote:
> >
> > George, the WMF, particularly under the Sue/Erik regime - but as best as
> I
> > can tell from its very beginning - has had a propensity to privilege its
> > view of what's best over the community's view. Superprotect. Visual
> editor.
> > When the community has pushed back at WMF behaviour that suits the WMF,
> > that the WMF thinks helps them in their mission, the WMF has historically
> > just gone ahead and ignored what the community sees as being in the
> > encyclopaedia's best interest. This bunch of tech geeks and silicon
> valley
> > entrepreneurs holds the whip hand in this relationship. It really should
> be
> > the other way round. Denny's model; Sarah's model. I don't really care.
> But
> > this tail-wagging-dog thing is just not right.
>
> There are several ways to look at this.  One includes the view that the
> Foundation and Board exist to protect and encourage the Movement, not just
> the loudest editor communities.  And that there are wider issues for the
> Movement, including things for users, things keeping users from editing,
> and things pushing people out of active editing that the Board and
> Foundation rightly should be paying a lot of attention to.
>
> There are both valid issues the editor community has objected to, and
> things the editor community (enwiki at least) is grossly dysfunctional
> about that the Board and Foundation must still focus on.  Both separation
> for perspective and feedback and relationship care are needed.
>
>
> George William Herbert
> Sent from my iPhone
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread George Herbert


> On Feb 24, 2016, at 7:01 PM, Anthony Cole  wrote:
> 
> George, the WMF, particularly under the Sue/Erik regime - but as best as I
> can tell from its very beginning - has had a propensity to privilege its
> view of what's best over the community's view. Superprotect. Visual editor.
> When the community has pushed back at WMF behaviour that suits the WMF,
> that the WMF thinks helps them in their mission, the WMF has historically
> just gone ahead and ignored what the community sees as being in the
> encyclopaedia's best interest. This bunch of tech geeks and silicon valley
> entrepreneurs holds the whip hand in this relationship. It really should be
> the other way round. Denny's model; Sarah's model. I don't really care. But
> this tail-wagging-dog thing is just not right.

There are several ways to look at this.  One includes the view that the 
Foundation and Board exist to protect and encourage the Movement, not just the 
loudest editor communities.  And that there are wider issues for the Movement, 
including things for users, things keeping users from editing, and things 
pushing people out of active editing that the Board and Foundation rightly 
should be paying a lot of attention to.

There are both valid issues the editor community has objected to, and things 
the editor community (enwiki at least) is grossly dysfunctional about that the 
Board and Foundation must still focus on.  Both separation for perspective and 
feedback and relationship care are needed.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Anthony Cole
Hi Keegan.

If the volunteers who make the encyclopaedia shifted their work, en masse,
to servers hosted elsewhere, I would hope the WMF would do the right thing
with the money they have accumulated - let's face it shall we - either
directly via Wikipedia banners or indirectly via the goodwill the
encyclopaedia-makers have generated. If the WMF decides to hold on to all
that moolah, shame on them.

But I assume it won't come to that: neither the parting of the ways nor, if
that does come to pass, the WMF keeping the money.

Anthony Cole


On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 11:14 AM, Keegan Peterzell 
wrote:

> On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 9:01 PM, Anthony Cole  wrote:
>
> > Hopefully we
> > ​ ​
> > could publicly shame them into handing it over.
> >
>
> ​I believe that public shaming as a tool went out of vogue in most civil
> societies quite a bit ago.
>
> I think it should be out of vogue on this list as well.​
>
>
> --
> ~Keegan
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Keegan
>
> This is my personal email address. Everything sent from this email address
> is in a personal capacity.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Keegan Peterzell
On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 9:01 PM, Anthony Cole  wrote:

> Hopefully we
> ​ ​
> could publicly shame them into handing it over.
>

​I believe that public shaming as a tool went out of vogue in most civil
societies quite a bit ago.

I think it should be out of vogue on this list as well.​


-- 
~Keegan

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Keegan

This is my personal email address. Everything sent from this email address
is in a personal capacity.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread David Goodman
the movement is always going to be broader and more diverse both in
backgrounds and interests than any possible board; the foundationis ls
going to have more diverse concerns than the roles of almost any of us in
the movement.

I do not se the fundamental goal of the movement is to create an
encyclopedia . Nor is it even to create  free intellectual resources.
Rather, the movement is to create a model of free human interaction and
work,  and the initial  way of exemplifying this is in the various versions
of the encyclopedia . (It's also to create the free Wikimedia software, but
the cooperative creation of free software existed long before our
movement-- the encyclopedia was innovative, at least in execution and
possibly even in concept--Wikimedia was not.

If we really believe in a model of free cooperative expression of the
manifestations of human intellectual work and creativity, then this is
fundamentally and radically in conflict with such formal organization as
boards of directors or hierarchical organization patterns and
employer-employee relationships. To the extent we need it, it is only to
serve some limited purposes necessary in the economic and legal  world as
it is. Unfortunately, I think human history shows that structures intended
to have such limited supporting purposes do not easily remain in this
limited role--those who prefer to participate in them rather than
participate in the volunteer non-organized side of the movement inevitably
will find themselves trying  to dominate, even if their personal ideologies
are opposed to such domination.

There is no defense against this except the real strength of a volunteer
movement--the ability to walk away and take our volunteer resources with
them; the true merit of CC and similar is the ability to actually make this
possible within the legal structure.  That does not mean thatI advocate
actually doing it, but we must maintain and remember the potential.




On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 9:49 PM, George Herbert 
wrote:

>
> In an organization where the purpose and Bylaws explicitly (Article II)
> call for it to be supporting the movement, the Board should be balancing
> that aspect anyways.
>
> Yes, the Board cares for the Foundation, but the Foundation cares for the
> Movement, and if it stops doing that it's off chartered purpose and the
> Board needs to intervene.
>
>
> George William Herbert
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> > On Feb 24, 2016, at 5:47 PM, SarahSV  wrote:
> >
> > On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 6:23 PM, Denny Vrandecic <
> dvrande...@wikimedia.org>
> > wrote:
> >
> >> To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that
> will
> >> be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
> >>
> >> - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation -
> not
> >> to the movement.
> >>
> >> ​Hi Denny,
> >
> > Blue Avocado, the non-profit magazine, offers a somewhat different view.
> > They have published a board-member "contract" to give non-profit
> directors
> > an idea of what's expected of them. It includes:
> >
> > ​
> >
> > ​"... ​
> > I will interpret our constituencies' needs and values to the
> organization,
> > speak out for their interests, and on their behalf, hold the organization
> > accountable.
> > ​" [1]
> >
> > Sarah
> >
> > [1] http://www.blueavocado.org/content/board-member-contract
> > ​
> > ___
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> 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,
> 
>
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>



-- 
David Goodman

DGG at the enWP
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:DGG
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:DGG
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Anthony Cole
Sorry, the above post is initially addressing Sarah.

Anthony Cole


On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 11:01 AM, Anthony Cole  wrote:

> WMF is a technology company. We are an encyclopaedia, an educational
> institution. We need them like I need a mechanic to keep my car on the
> road. That they have control of the encyclopaedia's budget is an absurdity.
> The donors want to donate to (and think they are donating to) the builders
> of an encyclopaedia, not the tech guy that maintains our laptops.
>
> Your model - essentially taking over the WMF by turning it into a
> membership organisation, and then into something that represents the aims
> of encyclopaedia-makers - would have the same result as starting a
> membership organisation de novo, except for two things.
>
> 1. I really like the idea of outsourcing our tech needs, so we can swap to
> new servers and a new tech team when we get fed up with the service being
> provided by the WMF.
>
> 2. Millions of dollars already sitting in the WMF's bank accounts.
> Following the model proposed by Denny would leave a fairly ordinary tech
> contractor with bulging coffers. It would be nice to be able to take most
> of that with us, should we choose to change tech contractors. Hopefully we
> could publicly shame them into handing it over.
>
> George, the WMF, particularly under the Sue/Erik regime - but as best as I
> can tell from its very beginning - has had a propensity to privilege its
> view of what's best over the community's view. Superprotect. Visual editor.
> When the community has pushed back at WMF behaviour that suits the WMF,
> that the WMF thinks helps them in their mission, the WMF has historically
> just gone ahead and ignored what the community sees as being in the
> encyclopaedia's best interest. This bunch of tech geeks and silicon valley
> entrepreneurs holds the whip hand in this relationship. It really should be
> the other way round. Denny's model; Sarah's model. I don't really care. But
> this tail-wagging-dog thing is just not right.
>
>
>
> Anthony Cole
>
>
> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:17 AM, Anthony Cole 
> wrote:
>
>> Sarah, I'd prefer to see the "keeping the servers running" role
>> completely separate from the community. As an organised community, if we
>> become dissatisfied with the service being provided by the WMF, we could
>> just sack them (or not renew their contract) and take on a new
>> infrastructure contractor to "keep the servers running." Organised, we -
>> the people who actually created this thing and actively maintain it - could
>> set the course for its development.
>>
>> Anthony Cole
>>
>>
>> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:09 AM, Anthony Cole 
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Sarah, if the volunteer community was organised and had its own,
>>> functional representative body that had the community's trust and respect,
>>> that would, to some degree, correct the present asymmetry between us and
>>> the WMF.
>>>
>>> Our only rights in relation to them are to fork or leave. While we are
>>> atomised, the latter is our only option. Organised, forking becomes a
>>> serious possibility. Of course, I hope it never comes to that. But without
>>> that possibility, we are in the position of just having to take whatever
>>> from the WMF - good and bad.
>>>
>>> Anthony Cole
>>>
>>>
>>> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 9:47 AM, SarahSV  wrote:
>>>
 On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 6:23 PM, Denny Vrandecic <
 dvrande...@wikimedia.org>
 wrote:

 > To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that
 will
 > be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
 >
 > - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation
 - not
 > to the movement.
 >
 > ​Hi Denny,

 Blue Avocado, the non-profit magazine, offers a somewhat different view.
 They have published a board-member "contract" to give non-profit
 directors
 an idea of what's expected of them. It includes:

 ​

 ​"... ​
 I will interpret our constituencies' needs and values to the
 organization,
 speak out for their interests, and on their behalf, hold the
 organization
 accountable.
 ​" [1]

 Sarah

 [1] http://www.blueavocado.org/content/board-member-contract
 ​
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>>>
>>>
>>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Anthony Cole
WMF is a technology company. We are an encyclopaedia, an educational
institution. We need them like I need a mechanic to keep my car on the
road. That they have control of the encyclopaedia's budget is an absurdity.
The donors want to donate to (and think they are donating to) the builders
of an encyclopaedia, not the tech guy that maintains our laptops.

Your model - essentially taking over the WMF by turning it into a
membership organisation, and then into something that represents the aims
of encyclopaedia-makers - would have the same result as starting a
membership organisation de novo, except for two things.

1. I really like the idea of outsourcing our tech needs, so we can swap to
new servers and a new tech team when we get fed up with the service being
provided by the WMF.

2. Millions of dollars already sitting in the WMF's bank accounts.
Following the model proposed by Denny would leave a fairly ordinary tech
contractor with bulging coffers. It would be nice to be able to take most
of that with us, should we choose to change tech contractors. Hopefully we
could publicly shame them into handing it over.

George, the WMF, particularly under the Sue/Erik regime - but as best as I
can tell from its very beginning - has had a propensity to privilege its
view of what's best over the community's view. Superprotect. Visual editor.
When the community has pushed back at WMF behaviour that suits the WMF,
that the WMF thinks helps them in their mission, the WMF has historically
just gone ahead and ignored what the community sees as being in the
encyclopaedia's best interest. This bunch of tech geeks and silicon valley
entrepreneurs holds the whip hand in this relationship. It really should be
the other way round. Denny's model; Sarah's model. I don't really care. But
this tail-wagging-dog thing is just not right.



Anthony Cole


On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:17 AM, Anthony Cole  wrote:

> Sarah, I'd prefer to see the "keeping the servers running" role completely
> separate from the community. As an organised community, if we become
> dissatisfied with the service being provided by the WMF, we could just sack
> them (or not renew their contract) and take on a new infrastructure
> contractor to "keep the servers running." Organised, we - the people who
> actually created this thing and actively maintain it - could set the course
> for its development.
>
> Anthony Cole
>
>
> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:09 AM, Anthony Cole 
> wrote:
>
>> Sarah, if the volunteer community was organised and had its own,
>> functional representative body that had the community's trust and respect,
>> that would, to some degree, correct the present asymmetry between us and
>> the WMF.
>>
>> Our only rights in relation to them are to fork or leave. While we are
>> atomised, the latter is our only option. Organised, forking becomes a
>> serious possibility. Of course, I hope it never comes to that. But without
>> that possibility, we are in the position of just having to take whatever
>> from the WMF - good and bad.
>>
>> Anthony Cole
>>
>>
>> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 9:47 AM, SarahSV  wrote:
>>
>>> On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 6:23 PM, Denny Vrandecic <
>>> dvrande...@wikimedia.org>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>> > To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that
>>> will
>>> > be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
>>> >
>>> > - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation
>>> - not
>>> > to the movement.
>>> >
>>> > ​Hi Denny,
>>>
>>> Blue Avocado, the non-profit magazine, offers a somewhat different view.
>>> They have published a board-member "contract" to give non-profit
>>> directors
>>> an idea of what's expected of them. It includes:
>>>
>>> ​
>>>
>>> ​"... ​
>>> I will interpret our constituencies' needs and values to the
>>> organization,
>>> speak out for their interests, and on their behalf, hold the organization
>>> accountable.
>>> ​" [1]
>>>
>>> Sarah
>>>
>>> [1] http://www.blueavocado.org/content/board-member-contract
>>> ​
>>> ___
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>>> 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,
>>> 
>>>
>>
>>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread George Herbert

In an organization where the purpose and Bylaws explicitly (Article II) call 
for it to be supporting the movement, the Board should be balancing that aspect 
anyways.

Yes, the Board cares for the Foundation, but the Foundation cares for the 
Movement, and if it stops doing that it's off chartered purpose and the Board 
needs to intervene.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 24, 2016, at 5:47 PM, SarahSV  wrote:
> 
> On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 6:23 PM, Denny Vrandecic 
> wrote:
> 
>> To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that will
>> be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
>> 
>> - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation - not
>> to the movement.
>> 
>> ​Hi Denny,
> 
> Blue Avocado, the non-profit magazine, offers a somewhat different view.
> They have published a board-member "contract" to give non-profit directors
> an idea of what's expected of them. It includes:
> 
> ​
> 
> ​"... ​
> I will interpret our constituencies' needs and values to the organization,
> speak out for their interests, and on their behalf, hold the organization
> accountable.
> ​" [1]
> 
> Sarah
> 
> [1] http://www.blueavocado.org/content/board-member-contract
> ​
> ___
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> 

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Anthony Cole
Sarah, I'd prefer to see the "keeping the servers running" role completely
separate from the community. As an organised community, if we become
dissatisfied with the service being provided by the WMF, we could just sack
them (or not renew their contract) and take on a new infrastructure
contractor to "keep the servers running." Organised, we - the people who
actually created this thing and actively maintain it - could set the course
for its development.

Anthony Cole


On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:09 AM, Anthony Cole  wrote:

> Sarah, if the volunteer community was organised and had its own,
> functional representative body that had the community's trust and respect,
> that would, to some degree, correct the present asymmetry between us and
> the WMF.
>
> Our only rights in relation to them are to fork or leave. While we are
> atomised, the latter is our only option. Organised, forking becomes a
> serious possibility. Of course, I hope it never comes to that. But without
> that possibility, we are in the position of just having to take whatever
> from the WMF - good and bad.
>
> Anthony Cole
>
>
> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 9:47 AM, SarahSV  wrote:
>
>> On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 6:23 PM, Denny Vrandecic <
>> dvrande...@wikimedia.org>
>> wrote:
>>
>> > To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that
>> will
>> > be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
>> >
>> > - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation -
>> not
>> > to the movement.
>> >
>> > ​Hi Denny,
>>
>> Blue Avocado, the non-profit magazine, offers a somewhat different view.
>> They have published a board-member "contract" to give non-profit directors
>> an idea of what's expected of them. It includes:
>>
>> ​
>>
>> ​"... ​
>> I will interpret our constituencies' needs and values to the organization,
>> speak out for their interests, and on their behalf, hold the organization
>> accountable.
>> ​" [1]
>>
>> Sarah
>>
>> [1] http://www.blueavocado.org/content/board-member-contract
>> ​
>> ___
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>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
>> 
>>
>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Craig Franklin
One could argue that any action that would injure the movement would also
injure the Foundation by definition.  Denny is quite correct that trustees
have a legal obligation to put the Foundation before anything else, however
there's usually a fair bit of latitude in how that obligation is
interpreted.

Cheers,
Craig

On 25 February 2016 at 11:47, SarahSV  wrote:

> On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 6:23 PM, Denny Vrandecic  >
> wrote:
>
> > To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that will
> > be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
> >
> > - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation -
> not
> > to the movement.
> >
> > ​Hi Denny,
>
> Blue Avocado, the non-profit magazine, offers a somewhat different view.
> They have published a board-member "contract" to give non-profit directors
> an idea of what's expected of them. It includes:
>
> ​
>
> ​"... ​
> I will interpret our constituencies' needs and values to the organization,
> speak out for their interests, and on their behalf, hold the organization
> accountable.
> ​" [1]
>
> Sarah
>
> [1] http://www.blueavocado.org/content/board-member-contract
> ​
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread SarahSV
On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 7:09 PM, Anthony Cole  wrote:

> Sarah, if the volunteer community was organised and had its own, functional
> representative body that had the community's trust and respect, that would,
> to some degree, correct the present asymmetry between us and the WMF.
>
> Our only rights in relation to them are to fork or leave. While we are
> atomised, the latter is our only option. Organised, forking becomes a
> serious possibility. Of course, I hope it never comes to that. But without
> that possibility, we are in the position of just having to take whatever
> from the WMF - good and bad.
>
> Anthony Cole
>
> ​Anthony, I do agree that the community should organize. ​

​I would prefer to see the Foundation become a membership organization with
different bylaws so that we are actually electing​ the trustees. A separate
body would be good, although the Board could ignore that body too if it
wanted. But yes, any kind of organizing is better than the present
situation.

Sarah
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Anthony Cole
Sarah, if the volunteer community was organised and had its own, functional
representative body that had the community's trust and respect, that would,
to some degree, correct the present asymmetry between us and the WMF.

Our only rights in relation to them are to fork or leave. While we are
atomised, the latter is our only option. Organised, forking becomes a
serious possibility. Of course, I hope it never comes to that. But without
that possibility, we are in the position of just having to take whatever
from the WMF - good and bad.

Anthony Cole


On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 9:47 AM, SarahSV  wrote:

> On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 6:23 PM, Denny Vrandecic  >
> wrote:
>
> > To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that will
> > be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
> >
> > - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation -
> not
> > to the movement.
> >
> > ​Hi Denny,
>
> Blue Avocado, the non-profit magazine, offers a somewhat different view.
> They have published a board-member "contract" to give non-profit directors
> an idea of what's expected of them. It includes:
>
> ​
>
> ​"... ​
> I will interpret our constituencies' needs and values to the organization,
> speak out for their interests, and on their behalf, hold the organization
> accountable.
> ​" [1]
>
> Sarah
>
> [1] http://www.blueavocado.org/content/board-member-contract
> ​
> ___
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> 
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread SarahSV
On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 6:23 PM, Denny Vrandecic 
wrote:

> To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that will
> be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
>
> - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation - not
> to the movement.
>
> ​Hi Denny,

Blue Avocado, the non-profit magazine, offers a somewhat different view.
They have published a board-member "contract" to give non-profit directors
an idea of what's expected of them. It includes:

​

​"... ​
I will interpret our constituencies' needs and values to the organization,
speak out for their interests, and on their behalf, hold the organization
accountable.
​" [1]

Sarah

[1] http://www.blueavocado.org/content/board-member-contract
​
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Anthony Cole
That's an excellent post. Thank you for the clarity. I, too, support the
creation of a body to represent the volunteer community.

Anthony Cole


On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 9:23 AM, Denny Vrandecic 
wrote:

> I disagree very much with Dariusz on this topic (as he knows). I think that
> a body that is able to speak for the movement as a whole would be extremely
> beneficial in order to relieve the current Board of Trustees of the
> Wikimedia Foundation from that role. It simply cannot - and indeed, legally
> must not - fulfill this role.
>
> To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that will
> be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
>
> - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation - not
> to the movement. If there is a decision to be made where there is a
> conflict between the Movement or one of the Communities with the
> Foundation, the Board members have to decide in favor of the Foundation.
> They are not only trained to so, they have actually pledged to do so.
>
> - the Board members have fiduciary responsibilities. No, we cannot just
> talk about what we are doing. As said, the loyalty of a Board member is
> towards the organization, not the movement.
>
> - the Board members that are elected by the communities or through chapters
> represent the voice of the communities or the chapters. That's not the
> case. All Board members are equal, and have the same duties and rights. Our
> loyalty is towards the organization, not towards the constituency that
> voted for us.
>
> These things are not like this because the Wikimedia Foundation has decided
> in a diabolic plan for world domination to write the rules in such a way.
> These things are so because US laws - either federal or state laws, I am
> not a lawyer and so I might be babbling nonsense here anyway, but this is
> my understanding - requires a Board of Trustees to have these legal
> obligations. This is nothing invented by the WMF in its early days, but
> rather the standard framework for US non-profits.
>
> Now, sure, you may say that this doesn't really matter, the Foundation and
> the Movement should always be aligned. And where this is usually the case,
> in those few cases where it is not it will lead to a massive burn.
>
> Once you are on the Board, you do not represent the Communities, the
> Chapters, your favourite Wikimedia project, you are not the representative
> and defender of Wikispecies or the avatar of Wiktionary - no, you are a
> Trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation, and your legal obligations and duties
> are defined by the Bylaws and the applicable state and federal laws.
>
> So, whoever argues that the Board of Trustees is to be the representative
> of the communities has still to explain to me how to avoid this conundrum.
> Simply increasing the number of community elected seats won't change
> anything in a sustaining way.
>
> This is why I very much sympathize with the introduction of a new body that
> indeed represents the communities, and whose loyalty is undivided to the
> Movement as a whole. I currently do not see any body that in the Wikimedia
> movement that would have the moral authority to discuss e.g. whether
> Wikiversity should be set up as a project independent of the Wikimedia
> movement, whether Wikisource would deserve much more resources, whether
> Stewards have sufficient authority, whether the German Wikimedia chapter
> has to submit itself to the FDC proposal, whether a restart of the Croatian
> Wikipedia is warranted, etc. I am quite sure that none of these questions
> are appropriate for the Board of Trustees, but I would love to hear the
> opinion of others on this.
>
>
>
>
>
> On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 4:35 PM, Denny Vrandecic  >
> wrote:
>
> > Thank you for the diverse input. A few points to Razmy's proposal.
> >
> > I have trouble with suggestions that state "we can ensure diversity by
> > creating regional seats". First, why these regions? What does each region
> > seat represent? Potential readers? Actual readers? Human population at
> > large? Why not number of active editors? Without deciding that we do not
> > know whether the regions you suggest make any sense.
> >
> > Second, why regions at all? How do regions ensure that we have a
> diversity
> > in age? Sex? Gender? Wealth? Religion? Cultural background? Educational
> > background? Diversity has not only the aspect of being from a specific
> > region, there is so much more to that.
> >
> > Also, the increase in number of Trustees makes the Board more expensive
> > and more ineffective. I would be rather unhappy with such an increase. It
> > is hard enough to get anything done at the current size. I would
> appreciate
> > any proposal that reduces the number of Trustees, not increases it.
> >
> >
> >
> > On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 1:45 AM, Ramzy Muliawan <
> ramzymuliawa...@gmail.com
> > > wrote:
> >
> >> >
> >> > This proposal did not attempt 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Denny Vrandecic
I disagree very much with Dariusz on this topic (as he knows). I think that
a body that is able to speak for the movement as a whole would be extremely
beneficial in order to relieve the current Board of Trustees of the
Wikimedia Foundation from that role. It simply cannot - and indeed, legally
must not - fulfill this role.

To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that will
be true now matter how much you reorganize it:

- the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation - not
to the movement. If there is a decision to be made where there is a
conflict between the Movement or one of the Communities with the
Foundation, the Board members have to decide in favor of the Foundation.
They are not only trained to so, they have actually pledged to do so.

- the Board members have fiduciary responsibilities. No, we cannot just
talk about what we are doing. As said, the loyalty of a Board member is
towards the organization, not the movement.

- the Board members that are elected by the communities or through chapters
represent the voice of the communities or the chapters. That's not the
case. All Board members are equal, and have the same duties and rights. Our
loyalty is towards the organization, not towards the constituency that
voted for us.

These things are not like this because the Wikimedia Foundation has decided
in a diabolic plan for world domination to write the rules in such a way.
These things are so because US laws - either federal or state laws, I am
not a lawyer and so I might be babbling nonsense here anyway, but this is
my understanding - requires a Board of Trustees to have these legal
obligations. This is nothing invented by the WMF in its early days, but
rather the standard framework for US non-profits.

Now, sure, you may say that this doesn't really matter, the Foundation and
the Movement should always be aligned. And where this is usually the case,
in those few cases where it is not it will lead to a massive burn.

Once you are on the Board, you do not represent the Communities, the
Chapters, your favourite Wikimedia project, you are not the representative
and defender of Wikispecies or the avatar of Wiktionary - no, you are a
Trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation, and your legal obligations and duties
are defined by the Bylaws and the applicable state and federal laws.

So, whoever argues that the Board of Trustees is to be the representative
of the communities has still to explain to me how to avoid this conundrum.
Simply increasing the number of community elected seats won't change
anything in a sustaining way.

This is why I very much sympathize with the introduction of a new body that
indeed represents the communities, and whose loyalty is undivided to the
Movement as a whole. I currently do not see any body that in the Wikimedia
movement that would have the moral authority to discuss e.g. whether
Wikiversity should be set up as a project independent of the Wikimedia
movement, whether Wikisource would deserve much more resources, whether
Stewards have sufficient authority, whether the German Wikimedia chapter
has to submit itself to the FDC proposal, whether a restart of the Croatian
Wikipedia is warranted, etc. I am quite sure that none of these questions
are appropriate for the Board of Trustees, but I would love to hear the
opinion of others on this.





On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 4:35 PM, Denny Vrandecic 
wrote:

> Thank you for the diverse input. A few points to Razmy's proposal.
>
> I have trouble with suggestions that state "we can ensure diversity by
> creating regional seats". First, why these regions? What does each region
> seat represent? Potential readers? Actual readers? Human population at
> large? Why not number of active editors? Without deciding that we do not
> know whether the regions you suggest make any sense.
>
> Second, why regions at all? How do regions ensure that we have a diversity
> in age? Sex? Gender? Wealth? Religion? Cultural background? Educational
> background? Diversity has not only the aspect of being from a specific
> region, there is so much more to that.
>
> Also, the increase in number of Trustees makes the Board more expensive
> and more ineffective. I would be rather unhappy with such an increase. It
> is hard enough to get anything done at the current size. I would appreciate
> any proposal that reduces the number of Trustees, not increases it.
>
>
>
> On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 1:45 AM, Ramzy Muliawan  > wrote:
>
>> >
>> > This proposal did not attempt to create a developing world-dominated
>> > Board, nor is a developing world-dominated.
>> >
>>
>> "Nor is a developed world-dominated."
>>
>> Sorry, my bad.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Denny Vrandecic
Thank you for the diverse input. A few points to Razmy's proposal.

I have trouble with suggestions that state "we can ensure diversity by
creating regional seats". First, why these regions? What does each region
seat represent? Potential readers? Actual readers? Human population at
large? Why not number of active editors? Without deciding that we do not
know whether the regions you suggest make any sense.

Second, why regions at all? How do regions ensure that we have a diversity
in age? Sex? Gender? Wealth? Religion? Cultural background? Educational
background? Diversity has not only the aspect of being from a specific
region, there is so much more to that.

Also, the increase in number of Trustees makes the Board more expensive and
more ineffective. I would be rather unhappy with such an increase. It is
hard enough to get anything done at the current size. I would appreciate
any proposal that reduces the number of Trustees, not increases it.



On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 1:45 AM, Ramzy Muliawan 
wrote:

> >
> > This proposal did not attempt to create a developing world-dominated
> > Board, nor is a developing world-dominated.
> >
>
> "Nor is a developed world-dominated."
>
> Sorry, my bad.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Ramzy Muliawan
>
> This proposal did not attempt to create a developing world-dominated
> Board, nor is a developing world-dominated.
>

"Nor is a developed world-dominated."

Sorry, my bad.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Ramzy Muliawan
Salam

Thank you for your feedback, Josh.

This proposal did not attempt to create a developing world-dominated Board,
nor is a developing world-dominated. A lack of diversity in current Board
composition is of course a discomforting reality while we have a immensely
growing and unimaginably potential community in the Global South.

But the key issue here is the total lack of proper representation for the
Global South community, or any possibility thereof.

The issue is not about developing vs developed, white or brown, but it is
about having a more proportional Board that would allow it to listen to a
more diverse range of opinion when deciding important issues. A
proportional Board I imagine here doesn't necessarily North-dominated,
neither South-dominated. Developing countries will not take this regional
seat for granted. They would still have same voting powers with their
at-large and affiliates counterparts. The goal we collectively want to
reach here is a balanced and adequately representative Board that can voice
concerns of the global community, so a fairer and more diverse important
consensus could be reached.

Under this plan, anybody can bid and win the at-large Board seat. If you're
afraid that the electorate will eventually elect five at-large Trustees
from Northern Hemisphere, then I can presume that there's something wrong
with the non-Northern candidates. The utmost purpose of this at-large
category is to ensure that the community will still have right to elect
trustees in an unified voice, as well as to prevent any possibility of
"Balkanization" of the Board membership. I believe in the wisdom of the
crowd, and I am sure that the crowd will elect someone with clear records
and trustworthy credentials, not just because he's an European or Asian.

Best,

Ramzy


*Ramzy Muliawan*
Chief Editor, Majalah AKSI MAN 2 Model Pekanbaru

Editor, min.wikipedia  |
id.wikipedia  |
meta.wikimedia 
Pekanbaru, Indonesia

On 24 February 2016 at 13:40, Josh Lim  wrote:

> While my first impression of this proposed plan is fairly positive, I do
> have one major concern.
>
> > Wiadomość napisana przez Ramzy Muliawan  w
> dniu 24.02.2016, o godz. 11:47:
> >
> > - Six regional seats, popularly elected by the regional communities. The
> > proposed "regional communities" would be North America, South and Central
> > America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and
> > Asia Pacific and Oceania.
> > - Five at-large seats, or what we call today as community seats. Like the
> > regional one, it will be popularly elected --- but by the whole
> community.
>
> My concern with the "at-large" seats is that if we’ve looked at the
> history of community Board elections, the electorate is overwhelmingly from
> the developed world.  The candidates are also overwhelmingly from the
> developed world.  We’ve already seen this in the current election, where
> despite the presence of six fine developing world candidates, myself
> included, the electorate settled on three white men (no offense to Dariusz,
> Denny and James).
>
> Under this proposed plan, Europe and North America will get one seat
> each.  Let’s hypothesize that all the elected "at-large" seats went to
> developed world candidates.  And then the affiliate seats have also
> traditionally gone to developed countries as well.  Then we have Jimmy’s
> seat.  Under this plan, we run the risk of having eleven of the fifteen
> seats dominated by developed countries.  So does this mean that the
> remaining four seats should simply be tokens for developing countries, but
> to which we have no leverage because we can easily be outvoted by the other
> members of the Board?
>
> Last year, I had spoken out against quotas for developing countries, since
> it effectively puts our representation at the mercy of the Board.  I am
> still figuring out what would be the best way to approach this issue,
> especially since voting for community Board seats is by language, not by
> country, but I’m looking at a mixture of temporary quotas (and I stress
> "temporary"), developing stronger mechanisms for getting developing country
> Wikipedians involved in movement governance (through affiliates, stronger
> consultation mechanisms when discussing movement-wide issues, etc.), and
> weighted voting in favor of certain geographies if this is technologically
> possible.
>
> Josh
>
> JAMES JOSHUA G. LIM
> Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
> Class of 2013, Ateneo de Manila University
> Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
>
> jamesjoshua...@yahoo.com  | +63 (977)
> 831-7582
> Facebook/Twitter: akiestar | Wikimedia: Sky Harbor
> http://about.me/josh.lim 
> 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-24 Thread Andrea Zanni
I don't really want to generate yet-another-thread,
but it seems to me that many people in this conversation don't really
understand the need of chapter-elected seats, which to me feels like "I
don't understand the need for chapters".

I have mixed feeling about this. Of course, I've been in a chapter board
member for 5 years, so I do think they are useful. Chapters, in my POV,
help Wikipedia be understood and engaged by the outside world:
institutions, GLAMs, schools, universities, normal people. They try to
bring institution in Wikipedia, as useful, free content. They talk a lot
with people, make presentations and try to explain Wikipedia. This is
something that the editing community doesn't do very often.

Also, I think is that with chapters/affiliates there is at least the
beginning of a global conversation: chapters discuss a lot with each other,
and chapter elected seats are the result of a diplomatic conversation.
Their appointed are usually more diverse than "community-selected"... Many,
for example, don't come from English Wikipedia as their mother wiki.

Maybe I'm mistaken but it seems to me that when we talk about community, we
implicitly assume that is the English Wikipedia community. This then means
there is a huge disproportion between native English speakers (US, UK,
Australia, for etc.) and the rest of the world.
As much as I understand that many editors don't feel that chapters are
relevant, at least I feel that chapters and affiliates do try to talk to
each other and build an international community and common discourse.
It is a layer on top, if you will, but it has advantages.

M2c.

Aubrey

On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 7:00 AM, Adrian Raddatz  wrote:

> I like the idea of reserved seats for the global south. I would prefer to
> still have some appointed members for expertise, but that number should be
> diminished to give the community seats a majority.
>
> Somewhat controversial: I'd prefer to scrap the affiliate - selected seats.
> Chapters vary so much in organization and effectiveness that having seats
> for them isn't ideal to me.
>
> And, of course, let's remove Jimbo's seat. He contributes little to the
> board or movement these days except for the occasional response on his talk
> page, accepting awards on our behalf, and making ridiculous public comments
> which are listened to due to his status. I actually have nothing against
> the guy personally, but I see no need for this relic of a seat to continue.
> Salam,
>
> I sincerely appreciated any effort to craft a reform for the Board of
> Trustees membership. Thank you, Dariusz and Todd. Also, apologize for
> (possibly) flawed English, since it isn't my first language :)
>
> As a volunteer from the so-called Global South community, I'm much more
> concerned about the diversity issue in the Board. The issue here is that
> geographical and linguistic groups that are significant in the current
> state of our community should be proportionally represented. We must ensure
> that their voice will be heard on deciding important issues that might also
> affect them, in one way or another. Our current Board consist of no Asian
> or African, a very disturbing reality especially if we consider the immense
> potential and rapidly growing community in these two region.
>
> Allow me to propose the Board composition I felt the most suitable to
> accommodate this issue. This Board will be comprised of fifteen members,
> all with same voting power:
>
> - One Founder's Seat, reserved for Jimbo. While I believe that some might
> found this as a strangely contrast position for any reform needed by the
> Board, I think that we still need him in the Board as the voice of
> moderation and what makes us completely unique to other Internet
> institution.
> - Six regional seats, popularly elected by the regional communities. The
> proposed "regional communities" would be North America, South and Central
> America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and
> Asia Pacific and Oceania.
> - Five at-large seats, or what we call today as community seats. Like the
> regional one, it will be popularly elected --- but by the whole community.
> - Three affiliate seats, elected by the affiliate and thematic
> organizations.
>
> Yes, there might be some flaw in this proposal. The biggest concern will be
> how to define and categorize a project into a specific "regional
> community". Maybe we could categorize the editors based on where do they
> edit (English Wikipedia editors will be voting for European seat) or where
> do they reside (which also possibly will raise question about privacy etc).
>
> Some might also question about why there is no more appointed seats. While
> I do agree with those who are saying that we need professional experts to
> sit in the Board, I believe that their power and influence should be
> nowhere more than the community to avoid another Arnnon-like controversy.
> So I would like to see them as 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-23 Thread Josh Lim
Lane, it’s one thing to have nominees.  It’s another to win the election.  
Global South candidates obviously didn’t win the community-selected seat 
selection, so I’d approach with some skepticism the possibility that we’ll 
suddenly have a Board member from those regions of the world as a result of the 
ASBS process.

That said, it’s early.  Maybe things will change this time around.  But if this 
process didn’t lead to an ASBS member from the regions of the world Amir talked 
about in his e-mail, then what will?

Josh

> Wiadomość napisana przez Lane Rasberry  w dniu 
> 23.02.2016, o godz. 23:05:
> 
> Hello,
> 
> Could I remind you all that there is a board election in progress right now
> for 2 of the 10 seats? Please see details for the 2016 Affiliate-selected
> board seats election at
> 
> 
> Amir, you said that you wanted representation from "India, China, Russia,
> Iran, Brazil, Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Arab countries and
> finally, all of Africa". If you like, you may encourage anyone from those
> countries to seek a nomination. Also, it would be very helpful if you could
> encourage the Wikimedia chapters in those countries to participate in the
> election in any way that they could, especially by planning to vote during
> the upcoming voting period.
> 
> Thyge - we do have a sort of house of representatives and it has a board
> election happening right now.
> 
> Nominations for the board are open till March 8! Election starts March 24!
> Please share the message.
> 
> Thanks - if anyone has questions post on the election page.
> 
> yours,
> 
> 
> 
> On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 9:47 AM, Yaroslav M. Blanter 
> wrote:
> 
>> On 2016-02-23 14:54, Thyge wrote:
>> 
>>> We should not have direct elections to the board. We should have a "house
>>> of representatives" with X members from each part of the world and charged
>>> with electing the board and decide major issues like location of the WMF,
>>> changed of bylaws etc.
>>> 
>>> Regards,
>>> Thyge
>>> 
>>> 
>> I do not think it could solve the diversity issue.
>> 
>> To appoint the number of individuals with a set of skills and needed
>> diversity, one needs candidates which will have needed skills and desired
>> diversity to start with.
>> 
>> Our experience as a movement (and also of people in other organizations in
>> different contexts) that these people do not always queue at the doors of
>> the WMF office to wait for being elected. They need to be scouted,
>> negotiated with, and convinced to be willing to sit at the board. This is
>> what currently various companies are paid to do, and this seems to be a
>> reasonable arrangement to me.
>> 
>> As far as the candidates are there, I do not see much of a difference
>> whether the community, a selected group (like house of representatives), or
>> the Board votes for them. And as soon as there is no difference there is
>> also no need to make the structure more complicated. I thus conclude that
>> this House of representatives is not needed for the Board elections.
>> 
>> (It might be needed for other things, which are outside the scope of this
>> discussion).
>> 
>> 
>> Cheers
>> Yaroslav
>> 
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>> 
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> Lane Rasberry
> user:bluerasberry on Wikipedia
> 206.801.0814
> l...@bluerasberry.com
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JAMES JOSHUA G. LIM
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Class of 2013, Ateneo de Manila University
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

jamesjoshua...@yahoo.com  | +63 (977) 831-7582
Facebook/Twitter: akiestar | Wikimedia: Sky Harbor
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-23 Thread Adrian Raddatz
I like the idea of reserved seats for the global south. I would prefer to
still have some appointed members for expertise, but that number should be
diminished to give the community seats a majority.

Somewhat controversial: I'd prefer to scrap the affiliate - selected seats.
Chapters vary so much in organization and effectiveness that having seats
for them isn't ideal to me.

And, of course, let's remove Jimbo's seat. He contributes little to the
board or movement these days except for the occasional response on his talk
page, accepting awards on our behalf, and making ridiculous public comments
which are listened to due to his status. I actually have nothing against
the guy personally, but I see no need for this relic of a seat to continue.
Salam,

I sincerely appreciated any effort to craft a reform for the Board of
Trustees membership. Thank you, Dariusz and Todd. Also, apologize for
(possibly) flawed English, since it isn't my first language :)

As a volunteer from the so-called Global South community, I'm much more
concerned about the diversity issue in the Board. The issue here is that
geographical and linguistic groups that are significant in the current
state of our community should be proportionally represented. We must ensure
that their voice will be heard on deciding important issues that might also
affect them, in one way or another. Our current Board consist of no Asian
or African, a very disturbing reality especially if we consider the immense
potential and rapidly growing community in these two region.

Allow me to propose the Board composition I felt the most suitable to
accommodate this issue. This Board will be comprised of fifteen members,
all with same voting power:

- One Founder's Seat, reserved for Jimbo. While I believe that some might
found this as a strangely contrast position for any reform needed by the
Board, I think that we still need him in the Board as the voice of
moderation and what makes us completely unique to other Internet
institution.
- Six regional seats, popularly elected by the regional communities. The
proposed "regional communities" would be North America, South and Central
America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and
Asia Pacific and Oceania.
- Five at-large seats, or what we call today as community seats. Like the
regional one, it will be popularly elected --- but by the whole community.
- Three affiliate seats, elected by the affiliate and thematic
organizations.

Yes, there might be some flaw in this proposal. The biggest concern will be
how to define and categorize a project into a specific "regional
community". Maybe we could categorize the editors based on where do they
edit (English Wikipedia editors will be voting for European seat) or where
do they reside (which also possibly will raise question about privacy etc).

Some might also question about why there is no more appointed seats. While
I do agree with those who are saying that we need professional experts to
sit in the Board, I believe that their power and influence should be
nowhere more than the community to avoid another Arnnon-like controversy.
So I would like to see them as members of the Advisory Board (as discussed
in another thread before), possibly with increased function.

I'd be very grateful to know your thoughts.

Best,

Ramzy
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-23 Thread Ramzy Muliawan
Salam,

I sincerely appreciated any effort to craft a reform for the Board of
Trustees membership. Thank you, Dariusz and Todd. Also, apologize for
(possibly) flawed English, since it isn't my first language :)

As a volunteer from the so-called Global South community, I'm much more
concerned about the diversity issue in the Board. The issue here is that
geographical and linguistic groups that are significant in the current
state of our community should be proportionally represented. We must ensure
that their voice will be heard on deciding important issues that might also
affect them, in one way or another. Our current Board consist of no Asian
or African, a very disturbing reality especially if we consider the immense
potential and rapidly growing community in these two region.

Allow me to propose the Board composition I felt the most suitable to
accommodate this issue. This Board will be comprised of fifteen members,
all with same voting power:

- One Founder's Seat, reserved for Jimbo. While I believe that some might
found this as a strangely contrast position for any reform needed by the
Board, I think that we still need him in the Board as the voice of
moderation and what makes us completely unique to other Internet
institution.
- Six regional seats, popularly elected by the regional communities. The
proposed "regional communities" would be North America, South and Central
America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and
Asia Pacific and Oceania.
- Five at-large seats, or what we call today as community seats. Like the
regional one, it will be popularly elected --- but by the whole community.
- Three affiliate seats, elected by the affiliate and thematic
organizations.

Yes, there might be some flaw in this proposal. The biggest concern will be
how to define and categorize a project into a specific "regional
community". Maybe we could categorize the editors based on where do they
edit (English Wikipedia editors will be voting for European seat) or where
do they reside (which also possibly will raise question about privacy etc).

Some might also question about why there is no more appointed seats. While
I do agree with those who are saying that we need professional experts to
sit in the Board, I believe that their power and influence should be
nowhere more than the community to avoid another Arnnon-like controversy.
So I would like to see them as members of the Advisory Board (as discussed
in another thread before), possibly with increased function.

I'd be very grateful to know your thoughts.

Best,

Ramzy
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-23 Thread Liam Wyatt
On 23 February 2016 at 18:22, Todd Allen  wrote:

> So, five community elected seats, five filled by other means. No Founder
> seat. If Jimmy wants to serve, he's of course welcome to run for a
> community-elected seat, or seek appointment to one of the appointed seats.
>

Since you raise this point, it might be worth noting that Jimmy's
"Founder's Seat" was renewed at the November board meeting. The new term
continues until the end of 2018 - when it may be renewed again.
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Resolution_to_renew_the_Founder%27s_seat_(2015)

This resolution might not have gone unnoticed by many because the minutes
for that Board meeting were approved in December (and not published on Meta
until January) during the same meeting that also appointed Arnnon Geshuri
and removed James Heilman. Issues that, shall we say, occupied a lot of our
attention at the time!

[Chronological list of resolutions here:
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolutions ]

-Liam / Wittylama

wittylama.com
Peace, love & metadata
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-23 Thread Todd Allen
Dariusz,

It's very good to know that those changes are being considered at all. I do
tend to agree with Andreas about two chapter seats being a slight
overrepresentation, but I think there should be one.

If I were to make my ideal board (and I realize you may have something else
in mind, but just to throw the idea out :) ):

-Five community-elected seats. Truly community-elected, not
"community-suggested"; the Board cannot refuse to seat them or throw them
off, but can call a referendum to the community in the event a for-cause
removal is thought to be necessary. No not-for-cause involuntary removals,
though of course a Board member may voluntarily resign at any time and for
any or no reason.

-One chapter/org seat, appointed by the chapters as done today.

-Four appointed/"specialty" seats, appointed for specialty expertise or
outside perspective as would befit the current strategy.

And yes, there is a madness to my method, or something like that. Five
community seats (I don't consider the chapter seat a community seat) would
mean that while those five individuals could not act unilaterally, they
could, if unanimously opposed, block any actions by the unelected Board
members. (I presume tie votes are considered to fail, as is common
practice.) Similarly, the non-community members could, if unanimous, block
something brought forth by only the community board members. All business
that goes through would, by necessity, involve at least one person
supporting it from both "sides".

So, five community elected seats, five filled by other means. No Founder
seat. If Jimmy wants to serve, he's of course welcome to run for a
community-elected seat, or seek appointment to one of the appointed seats.

Like I said, not my call, but I'd be interested to know your thoughts on a
scheme like that.

Todd
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-23 Thread Andreas Kolbe
On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 4:12 PM, Dariusz Jemielniak 
wrote:
>
>
> On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 11:02 AM, Andreas Kolbe 
> wrote:
>
>>
>> (1) The most compelling arguments in favour of having appointees as
>> voting board members (as opposed to having them as advisory board members),
>>
>
> I'm not sure what you're asking. I think that both external experts and
> the community-elected and chapter-appointed Board members should be voting
> members, if they are to be on the board. If you're asking whether it is
> useful to have external appointees on the Board at all, I think the answer
> is quite obvious - we need the level of engagement and expertise, that will
> not be available if we ask them to be on the advisory board, and I don't
> think it is likely it would be if they were to no non-decisive board
> members. Proportions between solely board-appointed and community-nominated
> people is a different story.
>


Thanks Dariusz. It's more or less what I was thinking too; a seat on an
advisory board is perhaps not attractive enough to really care.



> I am glad to hear you are working on a proposal to increase the number of
>> community/chapter seats on the board (though I personally tend to think
>> that at 2 vs. 3, the chapters are already slightly over-represented,
>> compared to the general community).
>>
>
>>
> Sadly, humans count in full numbers only, so it could be either 1 or 2 in
> the current system, and 1 is not that many neither :)
>


Well, you might add a community-selected board member. That would make 2
seats for the chapters, and 4 for the community in general. That seems a
healthier proportion.

Moreover, if you increase the community-selected board members to 4, this
would ensure that the majority of members (6 out of 11) can trace their
presence on the board to the results of a democratic process.

Hey, you could just re-add James, leaving María in place. :) I think the
community might welcome that, as a signal of reconciliation.

Andreas
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-23 Thread Dariusz Jemielniak
On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 11:02 AM, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:

>
> (1) The most compelling arguments in favour of having appointees as voting
> board members (as opposed to having them as advisory board members),
>

I'm not sure what you're asking. I think that both external experts and the
community-elected and chapter-appointed Board members should be voting
members, if they are to be on the board. If you're asking whether it is
useful to have external appointees on the Board at all, I think the answer
is quite obvious - we need the level of engagement and expertise, that will
not be available if we ask them to be on the advisory board, and I don't
think it is likely it would be if they were to no non-decisive board
members. Proportions between solely board-appointed and community-nominated
people is a different story.


>
> (2) If you are comfortable doing so, the most important risks or downsides
> attached to the present arrangement?
>


well, there are several, just from the top of my head: community/chapter
elected members do not always have any prior experience of working on an
NGO board or in any similar body; the current system disfavors diversity,
externally-appointed experts have trouble understanding open collaboration
organizations in general, and Wikipedia ecosystem in particular... I could
go on, but at the time I can't really sit down to it methodically.



>
> I am glad to hear you are working on a proposal to increase the number of
> community/chapter seats on the board (though I personally tend to think
> that at 2 vs. 3, the chapters are already slightly over-represented,
> compared to the general community).
>
>
Sadly, humans count in full numbers only, so it could be either 1 or 2 in
the current system, and 1 is not that many neither :)
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-23 Thread Dariusz Jemielniak
I think it is an important conversation to have. I am a bit skeptical about
creating a parliament-like body, and I am a bit worried that it would
advance the disengagement of the board from the community.

I am working on a proposal for some reform (in short: I want to increase
the number of community/chapter seats, increase the level of professional
expertise, increase diversity, and all that without changing the overall
number of seats ;), but I need time to present it in a coherent way. I hope
to do so in March, but of course this dialogue will hopefully bring results
meanwhile, too.

dj

On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 10:17 AM, Thyge  wrote:

> Lane Rasberry,
>
> I'm aware of the ongoing election - but in all respect, that has nothing to
> do with a house of representavtives as I envision it, i.e. being "above"
> the board.
>
> The present structure allows the existing board to decline access to the
> persons being elected.
>
> Regards,
> Thyge
>
>
> 2016-02-23 16:05 GMT+01:00 Lane Rasberry :
>
> > Hello,
> >
> > Could I remind you all that there is a board election in progress right
> now
> > for 2 of the 10 seats? Please see details for the 2016 Affiliate-selected
> > board seats election at
> > 
> >
> > Amir, you said that you wanted representation from "India, China, Russia,
> > Iran, Brazil, Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Arab countries and
> > finally, all of Africa". If you like, you may encourage anyone from those
> > countries to seek a nomination. Also, it would be very helpful if you
> could
> > encourage the Wikimedia chapters in those countries to participate in the
> > election in any way that they could, especially by planning to vote
> during
> > the upcoming voting period.
> >
> > Thyge - we do have a sort of house of representatives and it has a board
> > election happening right now.
> >
> > Nominations for the board are open till March 8! Election starts March
> 24!
> > Please share the message.
> >
> > Thanks - if anyone has questions post on the election page.
> >
> > yours,
> >
> >
> >
> > On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 9:47 AM, Yaroslav M. Blanter 
> > wrote:
> >
> > > On 2016-02-23 14:54, Thyge wrote:
> > >
> > >> We should not have direct elections to the board. We should have a
> > "house
> > >> of representatives" with X members from each part of the world and
> > charged
> > >> with electing the board and decide major issues like location of the
> > WMF,
> > >> changed of bylaws etc.
> > >>
> > >> Regards,
> > >> Thyge
> > >>
> > >>
> > > I do not think it could solve the diversity issue.
> > >
> > > To appoint the number of individuals with a set of skills and needed
> > > diversity, one needs candidates which will have needed skills and
> desired
> > > diversity to start with.
> > >
> > > Our experience as a movement (and also of people in other organizations
> > in
> > > different contexts) that these people do not always queue at the doors
> of
> > > the WMF office to wait for being elected. They need to be scouted,
> > > negotiated with, and convinced to be willing to sit at the board. This
> is
> > > what currently various companies are paid to do, and this seems to be a
> > > reasonable arrangement to me.
> > >
> > > As far as the candidates are there, I do not see much of a difference
> > > whether the community, a selected group (like house of
> representatives),
> > or
> > > the Board votes for them. And as soon as there is no difference there
> is
> > > also no need to make the structure more complicated. I thus conclude
> that
> > > this House of representatives is not needed for the Board elections.
> > >
> > > (It might be needed for other things, which are outside the scope of
> this
> > > discussion).
> > >
> > >
> > > Cheers
> > > Yaroslav
> > >
> > > ___
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
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> > > 
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Lane Rasberry
> > user:bluerasberry on Wikipedia
> > 206.801.0814
> > l...@bluerasberry.com
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-23 Thread Thyge
Lane Rasberry,

I'm aware of the ongoing election - but in all respect, that has nothing to
do with a house of representavtives as I envision it, i.e. being "above"
the board.

The present structure allows the existing board to decline access to the
persons being elected.

Regards,
Thyge


2016-02-23 16:05 GMT+01:00 Lane Rasberry :

> Hello,
>
> Could I remind you all that there is a board election in progress right now
> for 2 of the 10 seats? Please see details for the 2016 Affiliate-selected
> board seats election at
> 
>
> Amir, you said that you wanted representation from "India, China, Russia,
> Iran, Brazil, Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Arab countries and
> finally, all of Africa". If you like, you may encourage anyone from those
> countries to seek a nomination. Also, it would be very helpful if you could
> encourage the Wikimedia chapters in those countries to participate in the
> election in any way that they could, especially by planning to vote during
> the upcoming voting period.
>
> Thyge - we do have a sort of house of representatives and it has a board
> election happening right now.
>
> Nominations for the board are open till March 8! Election starts March 24!
> Please share the message.
>
> Thanks - if anyone has questions post on the election page.
>
> yours,
>
>
>
> On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 9:47 AM, Yaroslav M. Blanter 
> wrote:
>
> > On 2016-02-23 14:54, Thyge wrote:
> >
> >> We should not have direct elections to the board. We should have a
> "house
> >> of representatives" with X members from each part of the world and
> charged
> >> with electing the board and decide major issues like location of the
> WMF,
> >> changed of bylaws etc.
> >>
> >> Regards,
> >> Thyge
> >>
> >>
> > I do not think it could solve the diversity issue.
> >
> > To appoint the number of individuals with a set of skills and needed
> > diversity, one needs candidates which will have needed skills and desired
> > diversity to start with.
> >
> > Our experience as a movement (and also of people in other organizations
> in
> > different contexts) that these people do not always queue at the doors of
> > the WMF office to wait for being elected. They need to be scouted,
> > negotiated with, and convinced to be willing to sit at the board. This is
> > what currently various companies are paid to do, and this seems to be a
> > reasonable arrangement to me.
> >
> > As far as the candidates are there, I do not see much of a difference
> > whether the community, a selected group (like house of representatives),
> or
> > the Board votes for them. And as soon as there is no difference there is
> > also no need to make the structure more complicated. I thus conclude that
> > this House of representatives is not needed for the Board elections.
> >
> > (It might be needed for other things, which are outside the scope of this
> > discussion).
> >
> >
> > Cheers
> > Yaroslav
> >
> > ___
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> > 
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Lane Rasberry
> user:bluerasberry on Wikipedia
> 206.801.0814
> l...@bluerasberry.com
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-23 Thread Thyge
I agree - few complicated problems can be solved once and for all - but it
is possible to move in a better direction. "Better" in this context means
to improve the existing lack of diversity and WWV (world wide view) of
things.

I´m fine with outsourcing the search for candidates for the board to ensure
that it holds the knowledge and talent required.  But the decision should
rest with the house of representatives - which then could be also take care
of those other things needed.

Regards,
Thyge

2016-02-23 15:47 GMT+01:00 Yaroslav M. Blanter :

> On 2016-02-23 14:54, Thyge wrote:
>
>> We should not have direct elections to the board. We should have a "house
>> of representatives" with X members from each part of the world and charged
>> with electing the board and decide major issues like location of the WMF,
>> changed of bylaws etc.
>>
>> Regards,
>> Thyge
>>
>>
> I do not think it could solve the diversity issue.
>
> To appoint the number of individuals with a set of skills and needed
> diversity, one needs candidates which will have needed skills and desired
> diversity to start with.
>
> Our experience as a movement (and also of people in other organizations in
> different contexts) that these people do not always queue at the doors of
> the WMF office to wait for being elected. They need to be scouted,
> negotiated with, and convinced to be willing to sit at the board. This is
> what currently various companies are paid to do, and this seems to be a
> reasonable arrangement to me.
>
> As far as the candidates are there, I do not see much of a difference
> whether the community, a selected group (like house of representatives), or
> the Board votes for them. And as soon as there is no difference there is
> also no need to make the structure more complicated. I thus conclude that
> this House of representatives is not needed for the Board elections.
>
> (It might be needed for other things, which are outside the scope of this
> discussion).
>
>
> Cheers
> Yaroslav
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-23 Thread Lane Rasberry
Hello,

Could I remind you all that there is a board election in progress right now
for 2 of the 10 seats? Please see details for the 2016 Affiliate-selected
board seats election at


Amir, you said that you wanted representation from "India, China, Russia,
Iran, Brazil, Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Arab countries and
finally, all of Africa". If you like, you may encourage anyone from those
countries to seek a nomination. Also, it would be very helpful if you could
encourage the Wikimedia chapters in those countries to participate in the
election in any way that they could, especially by planning to vote during
the upcoming voting period.

Thyge - we do have a sort of house of representatives and it has a board
election happening right now.

Nominations for the board are open till March 8! Election starts March 24!
Please share the message.

Thanks - if anyone has questions post on the election page.

yours,



On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 9:47 AM, Yaroslav M. Blanter 
wrote:

> On 2016-02-23 14:54, Thyge wrote:
>
>> We should not have direct elections to the board. We should have a "house
>> of representatives" with X members from each part of the world and charged
>> with electing the board and decide major issues like location of the WMF,
>> changed of bylaws etc.
>>
>> Regards,
>> Thyge
>>
>>
> I do not think it could solve the diversity issue.
>
> To appoint the number of individuals with a set of skills and needed
> diversity, one needs candidates which will have needed skills and desired
> diversity to start with.
>
> Our experience as a movement (and also of people in other organizations in
> different contexts) that these people do not always queue at the doors of
> the WMF office to wait for being elected. They need to be scouted,
> negotiated with, and convinced to be willing to sit at the board. This is
> what currently various companies are paid to do, and this seems to be a
> reasonable arrangement to me.
>
> As far as the candidates are there, I do not see much of a difference
> whether the community, a selected group (like house of representatives), or
> the Board votes for them. And as soon as there is no difference there is
> also no need to make the structure more complicated. I thus conclude that
> this House of representatives is not needed for the Board elections.
>
> (It might be needed for other things, which are outside the scope of this
> discussion).
>
>
> Cheers
> Yaroslav
>
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-- 
Lane Rasberry
user:bluerasberry on Wikipedia
206.801.0814
l...@bluerasberry.com
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-23 Thread Thyge
We should not have direct elections to the board. We should have a "house
of representatives" with X members from each part of the world and charged
with electing the board and decide major issues like location of the WMF,
changed of bylaws etc.

Regards,
Thyge

2016-02-23 14:38 GMT+01:00 Yaroslav M. Blanter :

> On 2016-02-23 14:30, Amir E. Aharoni wrote:
>
>> Well, since someone brought that up, I'd risk asking:
>> Does it make any sense to make the board in some of its future
>> incarnations
>> more representative?
>> More representative of the editors?
>> More representative of the world's lands and languages?
>> More representative of the world's different economic regions?
>> More representative of some relevant professional fields that are relevant
>> for being in the Board of a massively-international-and-multilingual
>> transparent web-oriented education-oriented non-profit?
>>
>>
> Hi Amir,
>
> in my personal opinion, the current composition of the Board (elected vs
> nominated by affiliates vs appointed seats) is in principle fine. It can be
> fine-tuned by moving may be one seat here and there, but this is a big deal
> and it is not clear for me how it is needed.
>
> A big question which was there from the very beginning is how to ensure
> the diversity. This is related to the composition of the board. We know if
> we make all seats directly elected we do not necessarily have the desired
> diversity and needed skills. If we make all of them appointed we can in
> principle have diversity and skills (though recent events shown this can
> have some problematic side issues) but then the community has no voice.
>
> I do not know how this can be currently solved. Or, to be precise, how one
> can solve it without compromising on bigger issues.
>
> Cheers
> Yaroslav
>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership - Board Reform

2016-02-23 Thread Amir E. Aharoni
Well, since someone brought that up, I'd risk asking:
Does it make any sense to make the board in some of its future incarnations
more representative?
More representative of the editors?
More representative of the world's lands and languages?
More representative of the world's different economic regions?
More representative of some relevant professional fields that are relevant
for being in the Board of a massively-international-and-multilingual
transparent web-oriented education-oriented non-profit?

A thing that always bothered me strongly is that there were very little or
zero representation for these countries in the Board, ever: India, China,
Russia, Iran, Brazil, Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Arab
countries and finally, all of Africa. (I picked these countries by
population and roughly, the representation in the list of the world's top
spoken languages.)

I'll possibly be sorry for bringing this up, but there were no black people
on the board, ever.

Also, it bothers me somewhat that there were fewer women than men in the
board, if you count the whole history at all times. There were 29 board
members ever, and 9 of them were women. Not a huge gap, but a gap
nevertheless. (I'm very bad with numbers, please slap me if I'm not
counting correctly.) Women are 4 out of 9 in the current board, which is
nearly a half and maybe it's not a concern any longer, but I wonder whether
it's intentional or just a coincidence. I am not saying that it must be
intentionally a half, but it's a thing to consider.

Finally, why is the board's composition as it is now? I refer to the total
number of people on it, and the number of elected and  appointed members,
and the quasi-permanent founder seat. I'm sorry if these things are obvious
to people who learned something about non-profit management; I did not, but
I care about this movement and I am curious, and possibly many other people
are curious as well. I can find the resolutions about expansion, but they
don't do much to explain the rationale behind the numbers.

PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE, correct me if any of my facts are wrong.


--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
‪“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬

2016-02-23 14:58 GMT+02:00 WereSpielChequers :

> Sydney and Risker make a good point that much of the current board is
> already fairly new and simply appointing a whole new board is unlikely to
> be the solution we now need.
>
> Whether any individual board members feel sufficiently responsible for
> recent events that they should resign few but they can say. But the
> movement is in a serious mess and it is their duty to ensure we get out of
> it.
>
> In the short term the current board vacancy is an opportunity for the
> board. Reappointing Doc James would  bring back a much respected board
> member who already has several months recent WMF board experience. It would
> also be a clear signal that the board wanted to start steering the movement
> out of the current quagmire. Conversely, not reappointing Doc James risks
> leaving the impression that this particular onion has a few more layers yet
> to go.
>
> In the medium term the board could reform it's constitution so that over
> the next couple of years we move to an all elected board and a membership
> system open to all who volunteer time to the project. There are some
> discussions about this here:
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_membership_controversy#Time_to_move_to_a_membership_system
>
> I appreciate there are a lot of threads running on the current kerfuffle,
> but I think board reform is worth a new thread.
>
> WereSpielChequers
>
>
>
> > Message-ID:
> >