Honestly while I think that more community governance could be good I worry
that this conversation is going into a direction that is doomed to failure
and distracts us from the REAL issues that people are frustrated about.
Large governing bodies are complicated, difficult to set up and difficult
to administer especially with limited official power and scope. We have had
off and on discussions about them for ages but they aren't particularly
feasible and aren't suddenly more feasible now. They also don't really fix
the problems that people are having I think. There are some relatively
stable facts that I, personally, see though some may disagree with all or
some:


   - The board has a leadership role in the movement and the communities as
   well as the WMF though how that manifests itself differs at times.
   - The WMF serves at the defacto "head" (for lack of a better term) of
   the movement. They are the trademark holders, the server operators, the
   legal stewards, the fundraisers etc. The affiliates and community groups
   all serve immensely important roles but but in the end can not get away
   from the fact that the legal responsibility rests in the WMF. The WMF can
   not get away from that either.
   - The community and the board and the WMF are irretrievably intertwined.
   "The communities" came before the WMF, it "created" the WMF (of course in
   practice Jimmy did but you know what I mean) and it will, almost certainly,
   exist after the WMF. Some level of "separation" from the volunteer
   community as a whole can be good for us all because it allows the
   foundation to help see things that need to change which are harder to
   fix/change when you're deep in the weeds HOWEVER if they separate 'too'
   much from the community as a whole it makes it impossible for them to truly
   effect any change or support the projects in the way they need to because
   they are unable to understand the environment they are working in.

and to some of the specific questions Denny was talking about:


   - The board/WMF 'has' the power to do things like super protect, just
   like it has the power to globally ban someone, to create and shut down
   projects, to sue and be sued.
   - The problem people had with super protect was some combination of how
   it was done, why it was done and how the response was done.
   - I do not see a ton of people saying that it doesn't have that power,
   or even (at some level) that it 'shouldn't have that power (some might
   think that but in the end they usually want the WMF to be responsible for
   things or have other powers that intrinsically require them to have the
   power to do things like that. If you run the servers you need the ability
   to control them etc).


I will fully admit the possibility that my read of this may be biased by my
own thoughts but from what I can tell (both within staff and on this
mailing list/on wiki) the concern is that the WMF/"the board" is getting
too far apart. More community governance or representation is not
necessarily bad but but it will not solve the actual problem and I think
right now it is a distraction. As Dariusz said what is desired here is a
Senate not a new body. Would that help? I don't know, it might, though it
alone is still not really attacking the actual issue. The issue is a lack
of trust in the board and the WMF because of a history of past concerns
(either real or imagined) and, now, what is seen as multiple different
issues coming to a head at once. We have to address those before we talk
about much larger broad reaching questions.

James
User:Jamesofur
User:Jalexander-WMF

On Thu, Jan 14, 2016 at 9:28 AM, Denny Vrandecic <dvrande...@wikimedia.org>
wrote:

> David,
>
> thanks for that perspective. I agree that in theory the Foundation has the
> power you describe. But it is the same theory that lead to the
> implementation of Superprotect, and we know how this worked out. I do not
> think that the use of such a power would be accepted.
>
> Or am I wrong?
>
> Denny
>
>
> On Thu, Jan 14, 2016 at 9:01 AM, David Goodman <dgge...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Whatever I may think of some of the recent actions of the board,
> > I think its present role goes well beyond
> > " bring stability and assure that
> > the daily business is done: keep the platform online, deal with legal
> > cases and keep a positive financial balance. "
> >
> > The key roles are to ensure the quality of WP, and
> > " to lead   'in a political manner' "  the open information movement.
> >
> > First, it  it does have the power to deal with a situation  where"Let's
> > say, a specific Wikipedia would be in trouble - maybe there are reports
> > that it was taken over by a small group of POV-pushers. "
> > It has  control of the trademark, and the ability to prevent any
> particular
> > WP from using it. It cannot prevent any aberrant group from using our
> > material while calling itself something else, but it can prevent it
> calling
> > itself Wikipedia.
> > True, this may not be effective in some cases as it used to be, before
> some
> > of the individual language chapters had developed organizational and
> > financial resources of their own, to the extent that some of them could
> > well persist as the major free encyclopedia in their language communities
> > even without the WP name
> >
> > Second, when dealing with the ongoing threats to free information, the
> WMF
> > can and does effectively speak for all those interested as perhaps the
> best
> > known and the strongest voice. This is not something to be regarded
> > lightly.  It can organize the greatest general public indignation that
> any
> > one organization can, and it can coordinate and act asa center for the
> work
> > of others. Much as all languages in the world need a good free
> > encyclopedia, all the people in the world need this freedom even more.
> >
> > On the other hand, it is not needed financially--many other groups in the
> > movement can successfully raise sufficient money to keep the whole
> > operation going, if not to maintain the present number of programers
> > working on ancillary projects
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Jan 14, 2016 at 11:20 AM, Dariusz Jemielniak <dar...@alk.edu.pl>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Am I the only one who would rather see an independent body represent
> > the
> > > > communities than one subordinate to the Board?
> > >
> > >
> > > My concern is that in the long run such a body may lead to excluding
> > > community representation from the Board ("since we have a community
> body
> > > already..."). Also, I think that we're lacking a senate, not a
> government
> > > per se.
> > >
> > > dj
> > > _______________________________________________
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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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