>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
>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.
Thank you for taking the time to post this summary. It's very well-written
and I think it appropriately captures what most likely happened, given the
available evidence. As for action items, I see:
* evaluate whether the Wikimedia Foundation bylaws should be changed to
make it more difficult (or easier) to remove a Board of Trustees member;
* strongly urge the Board of Trustees to be more transparent and
communicative, embracing the values that keep our projects running; and
* evaluate the process for filling community-selected Board of Trustees
seats, perhaps changing the seats to be community-elected.
Obligatory reference: <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cunningham%27s_Law>!
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