I understand you and Jimmy Wales go way, way back. But what is the point of
"coming together" with someone who, just hours before the Knowledge Engine
grant agreement was released, insisted,


'To make this very clear: no one in top positions has proposed or is
proposing that WMF should get into the general "searching" or to try to "be
google". It's an interesting hypothetical which has not been part of any
serious strategy proposal, nor even discussed at the board level, nor
proposed to the board by staff, nor a part of any grant, etc. It's a total


When the grant agreement was released -- flatly contradicting his very
words, in the view of everyone who read it, including every single
journalist who wrote about it -- Jimmy Wales disappeared for four days from
the wiki. He eventually resurface and later made an appearance at the
Knowledge Engine FAQ on Meta explaining that he had only just learnt that
there really was a search engine project.[1]

How plausible is that? By all accounts, James and Dariusz fought to be
shown the documents that were later leaked, against the resistance of other
board members, which presumably included Jimmy Wales (I don't think it
takes too much intelligence to figure out that Guy Kawasaki and Jimmy Wales
were among Lila's main supporters and defenders on the board).

So are we to believe that Jimmy Wales had never seen the grant agreements,
had never seen those documents that all these arguments in the board were
about, had never even bothered to look at them?

In November 2015, board discussions referred to the Knowledge Engine
project as a "moon shot", according to James. So all this time Jimmy Wales
was ignorant of what this "moon shot" was, until some staff member informed
him on February 19 that there really were plans for a search engine?

"Nor even discussed at board level" my foot!

Even if you bend over backwards to assume Jimmy Wales is telling the truth,
and he really didn't know anything about this (he might have been struck by
temporary deafness during these "moon shot" discussions, after all, or
suffered a bout of amnesia), what does it say about him that he blithely
went round denouncing people who were telling the truth as liars spreading
"bullshit", rather than asking questions and informing himself before
shooting his mouth off?

What's the point of talking when you can't believe a word a person is


P.S. Now, what is this about Wikia? This is news to me. How would Wikia
have profited from the Knowledge Engine? Did anyone plan to include Wikia
among the wikis the search engine would prominently surface?



On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 12:09 PM, Brion Vibber <>

> Poo has indeed hit fans, as the metaphor goes. But that's hardly the time
> to STOP talking.
> I'll be coming down to the SF office as well next week to talk
> directly with Jimmy and with any staff (and board members!) who want to
> plan or brainstorm or vent or just share a moment of "aggghhh!" and I'm
> very much hoping for the best.
> I think there's no expectation of magic resolutions, and Jimmy knows well
> that there's been mistrust and there remain serious open issues. But this
> is a rare inflection point, an opportunity to come together and seriously
> explore how we got to this point and what we can all do to avoid a "next
> time".
> Whatever the outcomes I'm glad to see Jimmy reach out and look forward to
> some "real talk" and a better understanding of how we all can make positive
> changes together.
> -- brion
> On Friday, February 26, 2016, Ruslan Takayev <>
> wrote:
> > Jimmy, et al
> >
> > As yet, we have yet to have coherent believable reasoning for the removal
> > of James Heilman from the BoT, but one of the reasons that has been put
> out
> > there (rightly or wrongly) is that James was talking to staff about the
> > state of affairs at the WMF.
> >
> > Is this trip not the exact same thing that James was alleged to have done
> > all those months ago? i.e. talking to staff.
> >
> > Why are trustees, including yourself, only now willing to listen to staff
> > concerns? The time for that was BEFORE the proverbial poo hit the fan.
> >
> > I am seeing the announcement of your trip as nothing more than a "knight
> in
> > shining armor" routine, that frankly is too little too late.
> >
> > Warm regards,
> >
> > Ruslan Takayev
> >
> >
> > On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 4:06 AM, Jimmy Wales <
> > <javascript:;>> wrote:
> >
> > > Here is a note that I just sent to the staff mailing list (stuck in a
> > > queue at the moment, so some staff will see it here first.).
> > >
> > > Hi everyone!
> > >
> > > I am coming to San Francisco on Saturday for a few days to meet with a
> > > lot of you.  I know many of you are not actually in San Francisco, so
> > > I'll be sure to set aside time for remote meetings as well.
> > >
> > > By now you of course have heard that Lila is leaving us, and my hope is
> > > that we're going to enter a new era of stability and productivity.  And
> > > for that to happen, the board - including me - needs to hear from you,
> > > to listen and learn.
> > >
> > > Brion Vibber, who I hired as the first ever employee of the Foundation,
> > > said this to me on Facebook recently: "Jimmy Wales welcome back to the
> > > conversation. I look forward to how you address the current crisis, and
> > > hope it will involve the kind of careful listening and thoughtful
> > > consideration that I remember from 2001."
> > >
> > > That's what I want, too.  I want to listen and I want to help the board
> > > make good decisions.
> > >
> > > For me, the mission - a free encyclopedia for every single person on
> the
> > > planet, in their own language - is what brought us all together.  It's
> > > what keeps us going even in difficult times.  But my view is that it
> > > doesn't have to be difficult times.  Working at the WMF should be - and
> > > will be, I really think - a joy: the joy of working with the best
> > > colleagues, the joy of doing work that matters to the world, and the
> joy
> > > of working for the fantastic global community of Wikipedians.
> > >
> > > I'll be reaching out to some of you - probably starting with people I
> > > already know - but please reach out to me as well if you'd like to
> meet.
> > >
> > > I'm in SF from Saturday afternoon through Wednesday evening, so
> > > depending on demand, I may not be able to see everyone, but I'd like to
> > > get a good overview.
> > >
> > > --Jimbo
> > >
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