This event puzzled me a lot, as I suppose it puzzles all of
Wikimedians who don't know what was happening inside of the Board last
couple of months.
On one side, although I am not active English Wikipedian, it's obvious
to me that James' integrity is on the mythical level. On the other
side, I know well seven of the other Board members and I am quite sure
they wouldn't do anything that stupid like removing community elected
Board member because differences in the vision of WMF future.
Patricio's and Dariusz's responses didn't help a lot. I was quite
angry on them because I just saw demagogy in their emails. Initially.
Then I read this Dariusz email and became angry again. But a cigarette
after I understood his political discourse. You know, politicians tend
to tell you so much nonsense around the information, that you simply
can't understand the information. But they do transfer the
information, as Dariusz did it.
After reading Daridusz's response, I read again Patricio's email from
December 31st and it definitely supported my understanding of the
The answer is not spectacular at all. It's about inner dynamics of the
Board and it could happen inside of any Board composition and with any
of the Board members, no matter of the vision of particular Board
Before I tell you that quite unspectacular "truth", I want to say that
I completely understand both sides. From one perspective, I could
imagine myself in James' position; from the other one, the decision of
other Board members to protect Board's integrity seems quite
Imagine a situation when majority of Board members make one decision,
which staff don't like. That decision was a product of weeks or months
of discussion and it's almost certain that all the arguments were
processed very well.
James doesn't agree with that decision, as he sees that it could harm
some of the employees: it could be about layoffs or it could be just
about making things odd enough for some of the employees, that they
won't feel well doing their job anymore.
Then he tells to some of them: "This is going to happen. As you don't
want that to happen, you should try to make pressure on Board members.
I suggest you to do that in this way." I have to say that I did that
numerous times on committee level in relation to the community needs:
"Look, this is not going to pass Gerard. Our options to do that are
those. You should do this, I will do that."
I suppose the situation could be more fuzzy: Board was preparing
decision; James saw some employees would be strongly against it; he
told that to them to try to influence the rest of the Board. It's
quite an issue to draw the line between transparency and disclosing
confidential information in such situations. And, as I told above, I
could easily do the same thing as James did.
What I see as a bottom line here is that the issue wasn't about
strategic or political disagreement, but about dynamics of one group,
which happened to be WMF Board. From that perspective, decision is
definitely up to that group, as well as I understand now James'
statement from the December 29th: "My fellow trustees need no reason
beyond lack of trust in me to justify my removal. No reason beyond
that is needed per our board by laws."
On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 12:08 PM, Dariusz Jemielniak <dar...@alk.edu.pl> wrote:
> Hi there,
> I wanted to send a note to all of you, that shares my perspective on the
> recent Board decision. These are my own thoughts, as a community-selected
> Board member who voted in the minority for the recent resolution. However,
> I also want to be clear that I support the outcome and the majority
> decision, and look forward to a new community Trustee. I hope that, even
> though you may continue to have questions, you will too.
> From my own perspective, the issue of "trust" had nothing to do with James’
> personal integrity. The Board however must ensure that members follow their
> duties and obligations in their roles as Trustees. My personal (not
> organizational) trust in James is 100%, in the sense that I would buy a car
> from him, and leave him the keys to my house without hesitation. James is
> an exceptional individual and an amazing Wikipedian. I feel privileged to
> know him.
> Yet, when governance is involved, things work out a bit differently. I can
> explain to you how I understand the results of the vote. I myself
> considered voting in favor of the resolution. I also believe that others
> reasonably considered their vote. James himself recognized his errors and
> admitted that he made mistakes and stepped out of process for a Board
> member. Our collective decision was carefully thought through. I also
> understand well the reasons of many Board members who voted as they did.
> I do want to comment on one point very important to me: This decision does
> not signal a shift on the Board’s attitude towards community
> representation, and does not alter our commitment to an active role for the
> community representatives on the Board. I also want to be clear that the
> Board decision was not based on a difference of opinion about direction or
> At this stage, I think we basically need to move on. The Board is committed
> to community-nominated membership, and we are actively working with the
> most recent Election Committee on a plan to fill the open
> community-selected seat . We expect James to stay in the movement and
> continue to do the amazing things he is well known for. Until recently, I
> was also a member of the community, watching the Board’s decisions. I
> understand the desire to have more details. At the same time, I genuinely
> ask for you to assume good faith from the Board.
> I do, however, agree that the Foundation and the Board can be better at
> communicating, and be more open. While we're not there yet, I am optimistic
> about the direction of the change, and I know that 2016 will bring more
> open community discussions around both strategy and our annual planning in
> consultation with the movement.
> I join my colleagues in wishing my friend, James, the absolute best in his
> next ventures. I am excited that he plans to remain an active member of our
> movement, and I look forward to seeing him on-wiki and at community
> Dariusz a.k.a. pundit
> 02.01.2016 6:44 AM "Kevin Gorman" <kgor...@gmail.com> napisał(a):
>> Hi all -
>> Just to be clear, none of my previous posts were meant to suggest that the
>> sky was falling - just that from the information that has been made public
>> and am aware of, choosing to remove James from the board certainly wasn't
>> legally necessary, and that there's a good chance it wasn't in the
>> interests of the movement to remove him, and that it should probably be
>> examined publicly whether or not it was a good or necessary idea. I'm not
>> calling for anyone's heads even if a mistake was made; I know and respect
>> many of the board as well, and don't doubt their devotion to Wikimedia - I
>> just question if a mistake was made, and think that we should be
>> transparent enough as a movement to figure out a mistake was made in a
>> transparent fashion. If a mistake was made, then it would be a good idea
>> to examine both procedures around the removal of board members, and also,
>> potentially to ensure that the idea of transparency believed in by the
>> Board is the same as the idea of transparency believed in by much of the
>> rest of the movement. We've already learned one valuable lesson from this:
>> Board should probably consult with comms before holding a meeting likely
>> to generate controversy, even if that decision isn't 100% yet.
>> On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 2:03 AM, Anders Wennersten <
>> > Den 2016-01-02 kl. 10:44, skrev Yaroslav M. Blanter:
>> >> This is an interesting theoretical discussion, and I criticized WMF in
>> >> the past on a number of occasions, but I feel necessary to emphasize
>> >> there is not a slightest indication at this time that they do not care
>> >> about retaining the community. At most, we have indications that they
>> >> not handle some issues in sub-optimal way. The probability that
>> >> and sister projects will collapse in say ten years because some novel
>> >> technical means become available and we do not manage to respond
>> >> is in my opinion a billion times higher than that we will collapse
>> >> BoT or WMF staff function sub-optimally in their daily communications
>> >> the community. Let us discuss real things and not what happens if
>> >> come to enslave us.
>> >> Cheers
>> >> Yaroslav
>> > I agree and I also think we should not over dramatize that someone is at
>> > odds with a group and leave the group (by resignation or by forced
>> > I have myself been part of numerous groups in my life, probably several
>> > hundreds, and have left in being at odds with the group/employer almost a
>> > dozen times. A very few times by being sacked or ousted and mostly with
>> > resigning, but then feeling I have had very sound reasons for taking my
>> > position making me becoming at odds with the rest.
>> > But in no case after the resignation has been a fact, have I continued to
>> > dwell publicly over it. A fact is a fact and it is better to go on with
>> > life for all parties (and it is enough my loyal wife has had to hear "my
>> > side of it") .
>> > In this case I know first hand a majority of the Board and I know them to
>> > be true to the values and belief of the movement, and as individuals
>> > caring, and the opposite to my most hated disliked personality, power
>> > hungry persons without empathy.
>> > Anders
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