Arnnon Geshuri <ageshuri@...> writes:


Hi Arnnon - nicely worded message! I can't imagine that you're feeling too great
right now, but I want to give you a little hope. Wikipedia can be a forgiving 
place - many have been blocked and banned only to return later for second or 
third chances. We take who we can get, because we can't afford to be too picky.

If you're really looking to prove yourself, we are in a weird way fortunate.
Some of the appointed (and even nonappointed) board members don't seem highly
engaged with the English Wikipedia, and you're actually facing the consequence
of board neglect of the community right now. My concern with someone like
yourself, given that you don't seem to have prior interest in Wikipedia, is that
you're actually looking for little extra conversation filler when you're rubbing
elbows with powerful folks at cocktail parties. I hope you prove me wrong. Jimbo
Wales gets a lot of flak, but I appreciate the fact that he's there on 
Wikipedia. I prefer him over someone who is basically "phoning it in" once or 
twice a year.

So, the "SF Bay" group of Wikimedians could use some extra love. I gather you're
not too far from San Francisco? I've been in San Francisco for a year and I 
think I missed one or two meetups, but that's not very many and I hear DC is
much more active. When I went to the 15th anniversary meetup, there were a fair
number who had never edited and most of the veterans had never been to an 
editathon (and neither have I). I collected as many emails as I could, but I 
imagine you'd have more connections of potential new volunteers - 
let's connect and try to get a regular (even as rare as quarterly or twice a 
year) meetup/editathon happening in San Francisco. I've done a fair bit of 
editing on corporate governance and nonprofits, and I'd be happy to show you 

I understand that the antitrust settlement is, in the scheme of corporate 
scandals, somewhat mild. It's not Arthur Andersen and Enron or subprime 
mortgages. Although people do go to prison for antitrust violations (which is in
some cases a felony, per the Sherman Act), this case didn't involve criminal 
charges. Despite what the textbooks say, I believe it's difficult to succeed as 
an executive without being unethical. In picking my battles I've been a part of 
things I'm not proud of even in my limited career.

Power does funny things to people. It's been shown that powerful people are 3
times as likely to help a stranger in distress.[1] Powerful people focus on 
the rewards and take risks but they lack broader perspective and can easily 
objectify people or ignore social norms or laws, as we see over and over with 

We need a powerful person on Wikipedia's board to help steer them towards 
sensible decisions. The board's judgment seems to be lacking, especially when 
they made the remarkably poor decision (for their reputation) to spark this 
controversy by removing James even though he was upholding their odd omerta by 
not leaking to the community the 90% disapproval of the executive director among
staff and the new (yet to be fully revealed) partnership with the Knight 
Foundation. In the end, it's actually worked out for the best since it sparked 
a conversation that needed to happen.

I'm not sure you're the powerful person who can pull WMF out of this ditch, but 
if you are, I'd say a worthwhile step would be to take a shot at getting your 
hands dirty in the trenches of Wikipedia as an editor and join me in trying to 
recruit volunteers in the Bay. Plus James should be appointed back to his
rightful place on the board.


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