All: As a rule, I don't comment on staff arrivals and departures on this list, even though I often (as in this case) greatly regret seeing talented people leave the Wikimedia Foundation.
But Siko Bouterse's departure is different. Siko, in her parting message, used words that are unmistakably candid. We haven't yet discussed them, and I think we should. Her message is a strong departure from the kind of announcement that is typically crafted to present a clean image, giving both the organization and the individual space a fresh start for whatever comes next. But Siko's words are clearly her own, and allow us to peek behind the curtain of the WMF, and increasingly opaque organization. Most of all, these words stand out: On Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 5:24 PM, Siko Bouterse <sboute...@wikimedia.org> wrote: > Transparency, integrity, community and free knowledge remain > deeply important to me, and I believe I will be better placed to represent > those values in a volunteer capacity at this time. > These are words no organization would endorse in a carefully planned joint message. I have no doubt that Siko speaks to us here with her own words, without edits from WMF management. This is a rare step; I believe it speaks to Siko's courage and dedication (qualities I have never doubted in her), and it offers us a rare and important insight into the WMF's increasingly opaque internal workings. I am sure Siko chose all her words carefully, and I encourage anyone who hasn't to read and consider her message carefully. But for now, I'll limit my comments to the sentence quoted above -- and specifically, the second of the four values Siko chose to identify. Integrity must be a core value for any organization. Any effort of multiple people to work toward a common goal must protect integrity as a baseline value. It is so central and obvious, in my view, that we Wikimedians have managed to neglect adding it to the central expressions of our values we have produced over the years. Integrity is the air we breathe as we work together -- easy to forget as we focus on values more tangible, more unique to our movement. But without a basic belief in the integrity in our immediate colleagues and the system we work in, working effectively toward a common goal becomes a futile enterprise. Speaking for myself, the integrity of my various colleagues throughout the wiki movement -- from the first people I met at Free Geek (where I encountered my first wiki) and Wikipedia -- is at the core of the inspiration and the delight that have driven my career and much of my personal and volunteer activity in the last 15 years. If I were to lose faith in the central integrity of an organization, I would not be able to continue working there. I have left many jobs over the years (including at WMF), for many reasons, not always my own. I often felt strongly at those moments that my employer was getting something important wrong. But I can't think of a single instance where I would have made a considered and public assertion that my employer and I differed over basic integrity. I have had big and often public disagreements over the years with WMF executives like Sue Gardner, Erik Moeller, and Zack Exley, and the committee that hired the current Executive Director; but though I have often questioned or objected to their decisions, the integrity of these individuals is clear and obvious, and even at the most contentious moments I have at times reasserted my respect for their integrity. So when somebody with Siko's track record (and, dare I say, integrity) identifies integrity as a key issue in her decision to leave, we should take notice. There is a lot going on these days; but this message and event, I believe, can help us rise above the trees for a moment and survey the forest. If Siko feels that she can represent her values better as a volunteer -- without a full time paycheck, without the resources and staff at the disposal of a senior manager at WMF, without a job title and business card that command respect and enthusiasm across the entire planet -- that is a bold and important statement indeed. We should be paying close intention, and if we find ourselves agreeing that the basic value of integrity is lacking in the WMF, we should seek and find ways to decisively solve that problem. This goes, I think, for everyone who cares about the future of Wikimedia, regardless of whether you are a volunteer, a donor, a staff member, or a board member. > Much love, > Siko > And much love to you, Siko. You have done excellent work in a variety of places -- and I'm sure I'm only aware of a small fraction of it. Thank you especially for the poise and focus you have shown just now, in providing useful information to the Wikimedia movement even as you leave your formal role at WMF. I look forward to finding you, perhaps in better spirits as your big decision recedes into the past, on the wikis. Happy editing, -Pete [[User:Peteforsyth]]  https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-February/081809.html  For example, this page and the pages linked from it: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Values  http://www.freegeek.org/ _______________________________________________ Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines New messages to: Wikimediafirstname.lastname@example.org Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>