I wish the best for the new board, and for the movement. But I am
troubled to learn of this.

I have always welcomed the appointed seats on the board--in my
experience they brought useful perspectives and experience with their
view from the outside, and I don't expect them all to begin their
tenure as perfect representatives of the priorities and ideals of the
Wikimedia movement as the community-selected members are.

But as they are full voting members, participating in all decisions,
we have always expected them to share key values, and probably the
most important of those is integrity. It's always hard to judge
beforehand; what you really really want to know is how someone would
act in a situation they haven't yet been faced with. But if the news
reports are true (or even just mostly true) about Arnnon Geshuri's
role in the staffing scandal, then this is a disappointing choice by
the WMF board. (Of course, someone who refused to go along with it
probably would not have been visible to the selection
committee--uncompromising ethical standards make it much harder to get
and keep a position of responsibility and expertise in most
organizations; the exceptions exist but less commonly than I'd wish,
and I hope we're among them. But this is probably a systematic failure
in recruiting for us.)

The reason this bothers me so much--enough to break my list
silence--is that I think integrity is the most important and most
difficult thing for a board member of this organization. One of the
key things that distinguishes Wikimedia from other entities is that it
does not take the easy path: it does not sell the privacy of users, it
does not make restricted content deals, it does not believe influence
over content or governance should be able to be bought. If these
decisions were easy and came without tradeoffs or pressures everyone
would make them, but they don't; we see all over that Wikimedia is an
outlier, not the norm, while others make decisions that look good in
the short term but are damaging in the long term. Organizations with
tremendous reach and influence--such as Google and Wikipedia--have a
great responsibility not to take actions that systematically harm the
people that rely on them. To know that someone at such an organization
participated in something unethical in this way does not give me great
confidence in them for leadership in Wikimedia.

I don't envy the current board the problems they are faced with, and
recognize the difficulty in recruiting for it given the level of
commitment involved--and I don't doubt that the new appointee has much
to recommend him. But despite the wealth of experience he would bring,
if the situation is as it seems to be, I cannot be supportive of this
choice.

-Kat

On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 12:16 PM, Pine W <wiki.p...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Upon hearing of Arnnon's history at Google, I confess to being surprised to
> the point of a long silence.
>
> If these news reports are true, this is disturbing to say the least.
> Whether he was happy about it or not, it appears that he chose to
> participate in illegal activity in a prominent role as a "Senior Staffing
> Strategist", and described a Google employee's noncompliance with the
> illegal scheme as "an error in judgment". I cannot think of an excuse from
> an HR professional that I would accept for this.
>
> Dariusz, you said in your statement that was published in the Wikimedia
> Blog that WMF "considered dozens of candidates from all over the world,
> with not-for-profit and technology experience, and the highest professional
> standards.” I would be interested to hear how you reconcile "highest
> professional standards" with the prior actions of Arnnon,
>
> Lila, you said that "Kelly and Arnnon bring a special combination of
> expertise, integrity, and love for our mission." I am interested in hearing
> how you reconcile this assessment with the reports about Arnnon's role in
> this illegal scheme at Google.
>
> Looking at the WMF situation more broadly in light of the Board's removal
> of James and its surrounding circumstances, I am very disappointed with
> what we are learning and I am losing confidence in the governance of WMF. I
> am considering strategic options for the community.
>
> Pine
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