Dear all, right now, we know very little about the removal of James. It is hard for anyone not involved (which is the vast majority of this community) to come up with any safe conclusions, because there is a lack of evidence. This opens up the possibility of speculation. I would prefer the stating of facts instead of speculation, but since that's not happening, I think speculation might be a way to incentivize more insiders to come forward with facts, if only to refute the content of speculation.
I am going to attempt to do this in a neutral fashion, and I will also follow another important tradition in the movement, assume good faith. I do not subscribe to conspiracy theories that allege a secret plan by Google or intentions of harming Wikipedia on anyone's part. Here's what I think might have happened: James, a longstanding community member, is accustomed to how we do things on Wikipedia -- with transparency, an open discourse, but also endless discussions on talk pages. Other members of the board have less of a "Wikipedian" background, and are more accustomed to how things work in companies: board meetings in secret, focus on being effective at the cost of transparency, with a frank tone on the inside, and a diplomatic and collective voice to the outside. These very different conceptions clash, for instance when it comes to the plans of a "Wikipedia knowledge engine": some prefer early community involvement and plead openness, others, perhaps scared of the harsh criticism of early announced and unfinished products by the community, wish to wait with giving out more information. James is frustrated and tries to push other board members towards more transparency, which in turn makes them wary of him and they mutually develop distrust. The pivotal part of the story then is the question of WMF leadership, and the fact that there is a lot of discontent among WMF staff with senior leadership, as indicated by an employee engagement survey. James, being used to transparent discussions, pushes for a thorough and open review, and talks to staff members to gain more information. The other board members, perhaps somewhat in panic, think he will initiate a public discussion about replacing senior leadership and (perhaps inadvertently) will cause a major disruption to the entire foundation, so they decide to call a halt before it's too late and remove him from the board. This is what, given the information publicly available, is in my opinion at least one likely explanation of what happened. Please take it with a grain of salt, it /is/ speculation. I intend this to undergo the process of falsification and encourage anyone involved to call me out on what they perceive is incorrect. Tobias _______________________________________________ Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines New messages to: Wikimediafirstname.lastname@example.org Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>