Thank you, Kat.  That was very informative, and of course, my sharing my
frustrating experience was merely an attempt to use this chance to draw
attention to that issue (not the person, but what you described as type 4),
not an attempt to provide the full context you just did. :)

(and your e-mail reminded me of Ms. Hagemann's being (er, having been) on
our AB, and gives me a chance to amend my earlier statement; she is an
example of a fantastically valuable ally whom I, too, had a chance to
benefit from, in several impromptu conversations, most recently a few
months ago, in Delhi.)


On Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 11:42 PM, Kat Walsh <> wrote:

> The advisory board basically never gets used as a group (and IMO it
> wouldn't really make sense to). In my experience, people named to the
> list fill one of a few functions:
> 1. Big Names who don't have the time to commit to being on the board
> or are otherwise unsuited to being one of the main decision-makers,
> but whose formal association with the project makes sense and is
> beneficial. (I think of Clay Shirky as one of these: he is busy with
> his existing work, but he is a great champion of the projects; he's
> given presentations and press mentions that were helpful, consults on
> some issues, and has offered his university's resources.)
> 2. People who are prominent in some area relevant to the projects and
> whose work touches on it, who offer their expertise in their
> particular domain and may be all but invisible to others. (Melissa
> Hagemann is an example--she is prominent in open access and the people
> working in that domain have worked with her, but people outside of it
> may not see her work.)
> 3. People who have held high-level formal roles within WMF and whose
> continued connection is recognized through being named an advisor. In
> an organization with Senior Fellows, this is probably what we would be
> called; it basically recognizes that although these people no longer
> hold their roles, they continue to be supporters and advisors and
> would like to continue to be available to offer their input and
> expertise. I fall into this role, for example, and the structure of
> having the formal connection makes it easier for current board and
> staff to call on me. (FWIW, I was named to the advisory board by a
> resolution after my term ended, though I see the page is poorly-enough
> maintained that I'm not listed.)
> 4. People we hoped would fall into one of these roles, but who have
> not actually kept up the relationship or whose guidance turned out not
> to meet our needs.
> It is useful to have a formal structure to call on people for their
> help; most of the help the AB members provided in my experience was
> through 1-on-1 consultation (more by Sue than by myself). But I think
> there are more people in category 4 than there ought to be. The
> renewal mechanism was intended to make it easier to graceully remove
> people who fell into that category without making it feel like they
> were "fired", but as it turns out if you renew some but not others,
> people will feel that way no matter how gracefully you try to do it,
> and probably not wrongly--and since they are all people who were
> originally named because of a desire to strengthen the relationship,
> souring it by ending their terms is a very difficult thing to do,
> especially when it is easy to keep them.
> Yes, the advisory board is invited to Wikimania with travel expenses
> covered, though of the few members who come, some pay their own way
> anyhow; the financial cost is relatively small. (I would say I made a
> principled stand to pay my own way last year, but really I just
> waffled over it for a while until it was late enough that I'd have
> been embarrassed to submit receipts.)
> In my tenure the advisory board was considered a few times, but it was
> just never a high-priority item; I am aware of it having been
> considered again last year but not sure if anything came of it. The
> main drawback I think of is that people tend to forget it exists until
> too late in a decision process, and many who could usefully consult
> them don't even know who is on the advisory board, what their
> backgrounds are, and how receptive they are to messages, so it is hard
> to use them effectively.
> -Kat
> On Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 10:51 PM, Tanvir Rahman <>
> wrote:
> > As far as I heard, the WMF employees and Board use the advisory board
> > according to their need. Sometimes they are share their thoughts as a
> team,
> > sometimes individually, according to their expertise.
> >
> > I have mentioned to an adviser once that it would be better to have a
> group
> > submission from the Wikimedia advisory board in the Wikimania to fill-in
> > the community about their work and need. How do they work/collaborate and
> > so on. It does not need to share anything confidential or something, but
> it
> > helps the community a lot how this mechanism functions.
> >
> > T.
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > New messages to:
> > Unsubscribe:,
> <>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> New messages to:
> Unsubscribe:,
> <>

    Asaf Bartov
    Wikimedia Foundation <>

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the
sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
New messages to:

Reply via email to