That's an excellent post. Thank you for the clarity. I, too, support the
creation of a body to represent the volunteer community.

Anthony Cole

On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 9:23 AM, Denny Vrandecic <>

> I disagree very much with Dariusz on this topic (as he knows). I think that
> a body that is able to speak for the movement as a whole would be extremely
> beneficial in order to relieve the current Board of Trustees of the
> Wikimedia Foundation from that role. It simply cannot - and indeed, legally
> must not - fulfill this role.
> To make a few things about the Board of Trustees clear - things that will
> be true now matter how much you reorganize it:
> - the Board members have duties of care and loyalty to the Foundation - not
> to the movement. If there is a decision to be made where there is a
> conflict between the Movement or one of the Communities with the
> Foundation, the Board members have to decide in favor of the Foundation.
> They are not only trained to so, they have actually pledged to do so.
> - the Board members have fiduciary responsibilities. No, we cannot just
> talk about what we are doing. As said, the loyalty of a Board member is
> towards the organization, not the movement.
> - the Board members that are elected by the communities or through chapters
> represent the voice of the communities or the chapters. That's not the
> case. All Board members are equal, and have the same duties and rights. Our
> loyalty is towards the organization, not towards the constituency that
> voted for us.
> These things are not like this because the Wikimedia Foundation has decided
> in a diabolic plan for world domination to write the rules in such a way.
> These things are so because US laws - either federal or state laws, I am
> not a lawyer and so I might be babbling nonsense here anyway, but this is
> my understanding - requires a Board of Trustees to have these legal
> obligations. This is nothing invented by the WMF in its early days, but
> rather the standard framework for US non-profits.
> Now, sure, you may say that this doesn't really matter, the Foundation and
> the Movement should always be aligned. And where this is usually the case,
> in those few cases where it is not it will lead to a massive burn.
> Once you are on the Board, you do not represent the Communities, the
> Chapters, your favourite Wikimedia project, you are not the representative
> and defender of Wikispecies or the avatar of Wiktionary - no, you are a
> Trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation, and your legal obligations and duties
> are defined by the Bylaws and the applicable state and federal laws.
> So, whoever argues that the Board of Trustees is to be the representative
> of the communities has still to explain to me how to avoid this conundrum.
> Simply increasing the number of community elected seats won't change
> anything in a sustaining way.
> This is why I very much sympathize with the introduction of a new body that
> indeed represents the communities, and whose loyalty is undivided to the
> Movement as a whole. I currently do not see any body that in the Wikimedia
> movement that would have the moral authority to discuss e.g. whether
> Wikiversity should be set up as a project independent of the Wikimedia
> movement, whether Wikisource would deserve much more resources, whether
> Stewards have sufficient authority, whether the German Wikimedia chapter
> has to submit itself to the FDC proposal, whether a restart of the Croatian
> Wikipedia is warranted, etc. I am quite sure that none of these questions
> are appropriate for the Board of Trustees, but I would love to hear the
> opinion of others on this.
> On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 4:35 PM, Denny Vrandecic <
> >
> wrote:
> > Thank you for the diverse input. A few points to Razmy's proposal.
> >
> > I have trouble with suggestions that state "we can ensure diversity by
> > creating regional seats". First, why these regions? What does each region
> > seat represent? Potential readers? Actual readers? Human population at
> > large? Why not number of active editors? Without deciding that we do not
> > know whether the regions you suggest make any sense.
> >
> > Second, why regions at all? How do regions ensure that we have a
> diversity
> > in age? Sex? Gender? Wealth? Religion? Cultural background? Educational
> > background? Diversity has not only the aspect of being from a specific
> > region, there is so much more to that.
> >
> > Also, the increase in number of Trustees makes the Board more expensive
> > and more ineffective. I would be rather unhappy with such an increase. It
> > is hard enough to get anything done at the current size. I would
> appreciate
> > any proposal that reduces the number of Trustees, not increases it.
> >
> >
> >
> > On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 1:45 AM, Ramzy Muliawan <
> > > wrote:
> >
> >> >
> >> > This proposal did not attempt to create a developing world-dominated
> >> > Board, nor is a developing world-dominated.
> >> >
> >>
> >> "Nor is a developed world-dominated."
> >>
> >> Sorry, my bad.
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