>
> I have to register disagreement with the idea that the WMF board is
> duty-bound to serve the Foundation over the Wikimedia movement.
>

I still feel this is more a semantic issue than a practical one.

In UK law trustees are required to put the interests of their charity first
when making decisions. That means they are required to put the interests of
the *objectives* of their charity first (even if it means winding up the
actual charity to do so).

I don't know whether Florida law and US charity practice has the same
effect as UK law does in this situation. But if it does then it makes it
easier to follow Pharos's advice below (which I basically agree with)



>
> The whole purpose of the Foundation is to serve the Wikimedia free
> knowledge movement, as stated in the bylaws.  This does not mean that WMF
> board members must constantly poll Wikimedia movement members on what to
> do, or only consider what is popular at the time.
>
> I believe the WMF board is indeed duty-bound to support the goals the
> Wikimedia movement, in the way that they feel these goals would best be
> served over the long-term.  Of course, their opinions on the best methods
> to achieve these goals may well differ from the majority of rank-and-file
> movement members at times, but it is also part of their duty to pursue what
> they feel is best for achieving basic movement goals.
>
> Brion is also right that at some point in time, when the goals of the
> Wikimedia Foundation and movement are "accomplished", if the free knowledge
> paradigm is so successfully distributed throughout academia and society
> that it no longer makes sense to continue as a corporate entity, it would
> make sense to wind it up.  (I don't foresee this happening for decades.)
>
> Perhaps this is merely a translation issue of what "Movement" means in
> different languages, but I thought it was an important point that needed to
> be stated.
>
> Also, I think the possible models on how to achieve these goals are indeed
> more diverse than just those on offer in San Francisco and Berlin.
>
> Thanks,
> Pharos
>
> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 12:16 PM, Denny Vrandecic <
> dvrande...@wikimedia.org>
> wrote:
>
> > Thanks to all the answers to my response. I am still reading them, and I
> > probably will not be able to answer to all in a timely manner (I have to
> > work, after all), but I wanted to make a few things clearer, quickly:
> >
> > Milos, I indeed do not care about reelection. And if I have to choose
> > between truth and political wisdom, I hope to continue to choose the
> first.
> >
> > More importantly, Milos, I did a massive error in my formulation, as I
> know
> > realize, which lead to a misunderstanding. I have to apologize for that.
> > When I said that the Board has to make a decision in the interest of the
> > Foundation when there is a conflict between the Communities and the
> > Foundation, I was phrasing myself very badly, I now realize. I actually
> did
> > not mean a direct conflict between a single Community and the Foundation,
> > i.e. with these two as being directly opposed to each other and fighting
> > over something, but rather the more complicated case of a decision where
> > there is a conflict of interests between the Foundation and the
> > Movement-at-large, the Board is obliged to decide in the best interest of
> > the Foundation.
> >
> > I do not buy in the mythology of an "evil community" at all. I do not
> even
> > buy into the mythology of a great divide between the communities and the
> > foundation. There are plenty of people who are active and constructive in
> > both, and who bridge both. The cases where the Foundation and the
> Movement
> > are directly opposed to each other should be extremely rare, and,
> > thankfully are. I don't think there was anything even close to that
> brought
> > to the Board in my tenure so far.
> >
> > More often though is the case that there is a third-party situation, e.g.
> > an imminent and considerable legal threat to the Foundation. In that
> case,
> > the interests of the Movement at large has to be secondary for the Board.
> >
> > I regard the Movement-at-large as much more resilient than any and each
> of
> > its parts. And I am thankful for that, because I think our mission is
> much
> > too important to leave it with a small NGO in the Bay Area. It has to be
> a
> > mission carried by every single one of us, it has to be a mission that is
> > inclusive of every one who wants to join in realizing it.
> >
> > I have overstated my point in my last mail, obviously, and also
> > intentionally to make a point (and thanks for everyone to calling me out
> on
> > that). But as many have confirmed, there is truth in this overstatement.
> I
> > don't think that such situations will occur often. But when they occur,
> and
> > that is what I said, they will be painful and frustrating and potentially
> > shrouded in confidentiality / secrecy. Therefore it remains my strong
> > belief, that reaffirming the current Board as the movement leadership
> body
> > is a bad idea, because the overstated incompatibility that I have
> described
> > remains.
> >
> > I could imagine with a much smaller Board of Trustees, which itself is a
> > constituent of a body representing the whole Movement.
> > I could imagine a wholly new body to represent the whole movement.
> > I could imagine many, many small new bodies who somehow make local
> > decisions on the one side and bubble up to an ineffective, but extremely
> > resilient and representative voice.
> > I could imagine many other models.
> > But I have a hard time to imagine the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia
> > Foundation sincerely filling out the role of the movement leadership, due
> > to the inherent constraints and incompatibilities between these roles. As
> > rare as they appear, they do appear.
> >
> > Dariusz, you say that a disengagement from the Foundation by the
> community
> > would increase a specific Foundation versus the rest of the movement
> > situation. I don't think that the formal composition of the Board matters
> > as much as its role, duties, and obligations.
> >
> > The German Wikimedia chapter, the one chapter I have a bit experience
> with,
> > is a membership organization. The Board is elected by the members in its
> > entirety. I don't see any claim of that Board to lead the German
> Wikimedia
> > communities. I don't see that the German chapter is significantly closer
> to
> > the German Wikimedia communities, or that their relation to the
> communities
> > is considerably less strained, than the Foundation is to the overall
> > communities (besides the obvious locality of their relation).
> >
> > Dan, Brion, James, in particular thanks to you for arguing why my
> > overstatement was, well, an overstatement. But I still remain convinced
> > that the view of the Board as having the role of leading the movement is
> > merely an accident of the fact that we have no other obvious leadership,
> > and that the Board is being sucked into that vacuum. It is not designed
> to
> > be so, and, I argue, due to the legal and formal obligations, it
> shouldn't.
> >
> > MZMcBride, I currently lack the time to answer to your specific and
> > excellent points in particular. Sorry. I hope to come back to it.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 8:24 AM, Dariusz Jemielniak <
> > djemieln...@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> >
> > > On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:43 AM, Milos Rancic <mill...@gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Thus, not the senate, but assembly is the right form of our
> > > > organization: assembly which would select *paid* Board members.
> > > > Besides the load, I want Board members to be accountable to
> > > > Wikimedians, not to the for-profit or non-profit entities which give
> > > > them money.
> > > >
> > >
> > > I am not, and have not been employed by any Wikimedia organization.
> > >
> > >
> > > >
> > > > Yes, it's scary to be accountable to people you lead. I completely
> > > > understand that.
> > > >
> > >
> > > I have no idea where you get this idea from in my letter. I am not
> scared
> > > to be accountable to people I lead, and I hope I have stated my
> readiness
> > > in this department clearly.
> > >
> > >
> > > >
> > > > The costs of having 100 people assembly won't be significant at all.
> > > > First of all, the most of the people in such large body would be
> > > > anyways mostly consisted of those going to Wikimedia Conference and
> > > > Wikimania. If you really care about money, scale the initial body to
> > > > 40-50 and ask all chapters that sending three or more people to those
> > > > conferences to contribute expenses for one to such body. If you put
> > > > that way, the costs could rise up to ~5%, if they raise at all.
> > > >
> > >
> > > If you envisage a large, 100 people assembly during Wikimania or
> > Wikimedia
> > > Conference, then indeed it is possible to arrange without significant
> > > additional cost. However, I believe this is basically an entirely
> > different
> > > idea than the one Denny described (or at least the one I understood
> we're
> > > discussing). An assembly would be a body who would voice their opinion
> > only
> > > once a year in practice, most likely. I'm not sure what exactly would
> it
> > > do, but surely it would be difficult for it to agree/vote on situations
> > > happening within a span of weeks, rather than months.
> > >
> > >
> > > >
> > > > So, please, reconsider your ideas on the line: from speaking about
> bad
> > > > bureaucracy, while in fact increasing inefficient one -- to thinking
> > > > about efficient, democratically accountable bureaucracy, with
> > > > everybody content by its construction.
> > > >
> > >
> > > I am not convinced if a body of 100 people meeting once a year is an
> > > efficient way to reduce bureaucracy. Of course views may differ.
> > >
> > >
> > > >
> > > > Said everything above, I have to express that I am pissed off by the
> > > > fact that the Board members are constructive as long as they are
> under
> > > > high level of pressure. Whenever you feel a bit more empowered, I
> hear
> > > > just the excuses I've been listening for a decade.
> > > >
> > >
> > > I am saddened you have this perception.
> > > https://xkcd.com/552/
> > >
> > >
> > > >
> > > > Please, let us know how do you want to talk with us in the way that
> we
> > > > see that the communication is constructive.
> > >
> > >
> > > That is a good topic for a separate thread! Currently, the list we use
> is
> > > limited to 1500 English speakers.
> > >
> > > An idea that I have been trying to champion for a while was also
> > > community-liaisons: community elected people whose responsibility is
> > > day-to-day communication with the WMF and back. This would not be a
> > > decisive role, and it is independent from whether we have a senate or
> > > assembly or not, but could at least increase the reach of communication
> > and
> > > decision making in some areas.
> > >
> > > Also, discourse is a platform that perhaps will take off at some point.
> > >
> > > dj
> > > _______________________________________________
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