Personally, i'm not sure if James would like to be reinstated but I think the 
involuntarily removal of a community elected member without community 
consultation is barbaric and unethical. However. In my perception, I believe 
Maria Sefidari's appointment is "interim", perhaps for a fresh election to be 
conducted. However the BoT should clarify her status. She's a good candidate to 
me, if she would like to run for a proper election.

Best,

Olatunde Isaac.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld from Glo Mobile.

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Today's Topics:

   1. Re: The reinstatement of James Heilman (Craig Franklin)
   2. Re: The reinstatement of James Heilman (Todd Allen)
   3. Re: The reinstatement of James Heilman (Fæ)
   4. Re: I am going to San Francisco (Oliver Keyes)


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Message: 1
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2016 22:09:00 +1000
From: Craig Franklin <cfrank...@halonetwork.net>
To: Fæ <fae...@gmail.com>
Cc: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] The reinstatement of James Heilman
Message-ID:
        <CAHF+k388fSOM4nG0rvgowa7mHEzpBwo=C9Lb26wsmQ3w=shC=g...@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

Patricio's email on the topic makes it quite clear that María was appointed
to the seat vacated by James Heilman:

https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-January/081540.html

And, as we are all aware, James was himself appointed as the result of an
election.  Unless the relevant authorities in Florida have overturned
María's appointment and I have not heard about it, she is sitting in the
seat formerly occupied by James.

I don't disagree that it would be a good thing to have a formally agreed
procedure on how to handle vacancies that might arise in these
community-selected seats, but that doesn't change the reality that we must
deal with here and now.

Cheers,
Craig

On 27 February 2016 at 21:47, Fæ <fae...@gmail.com> wrote:

> On 27 February 2016 at 11:33, Craig Franklin <cfrank...@halonetwork.net>
> wrote:
> > While it's nice to think that everyone might be able to kiss and make up,
> > the trustees (particularly Jimmy) and James have been mauling each other
> > politely in public for the best part of two months.  I don't think it's
> > realistic to expect that everything can just go back to the way it was,
> and
> > expect that the BoT would function properly again with James back in
> > place.  Keeping in mind his former position as a community selected
> trustee
> > has already been filled with Maria Sefidari, at any rate.
>
> Correction: Maria Sefidari was a "candidate for community selection",
> she was not selected by the community but appointed using an post
> election invented procedure for political convenience. If Maria wishes
> to become a community selected board member she would need to *win an
> election*, until that time she is in reality an appointed member.
>
> I hope that Maria will run for a proper election at the earliest
> opportunity. She was a good candidate and would be a better
> representative if correctly elected.
>
> Fae
> --
> fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae
>


------------------------------

Message: 2
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2016 05:16:08 -0700
From: Todd Allen <toddmal...@gmail.com>
To: cfrank...@halonetwork.net,  Wikimedia Mailing List
        <wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] The reinstatement of James Heilman
Message-ID:
        <cagtouqzz9cb8xovegpm5o-5g4lwtdlxuj2nrfsmhra7ovje...@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

It may be that at this point, reinstating James would not be a terribly
feasible idea, even if it is a nice thought. And, well, it's a volunteer
position. I wouldn't blame him at all if he's no longer even willing to
serve in that role.

I think, however, that the suggestions that have been put forth for a
neutral outside review of the situation are long overdue. And the Board
also needs to seriously reconsider what was (not) communicated when the
situation occurred. Essentially, we got a load of say-nothing PR garbage,
not a frank and thorough explanation, of why a trustee overwhelmingly voted
for by the community had been involuntarily removed without consulting that
same community.

I think there are a few points that need to be thought through. First, it
needs to be clarified what really happened. Jimmy has publicly and bluntly
accused James of lying about the circumstances of his departure, but has
also steadfastly refused to say what he considers the truth to be and why.
Having been accused that way, James has every right to defend himself, but
the entire Board has steadfastly refused to say what they see the truth as
actually being, only releasing PR gibberish that said absolutely nothing.
If James was calling attention to serious problems at the Foundation and
doing everything he could to find out more about them, well, I think it's
pretty clearly turned out that he was in fact right. If that's the case, he
was in fact fulfilling his duty to look after the interests of the WMF. And
if James were acting with some kind of malfeasance (which I consider highly
unlikely, but more as a hypothetical for if such a thing ever did occur),
we need to know that, too, because chances are very good that otherwise,
we'll elect him again by a landslide if he chooses to run again. I'm sure
everyone knows the end of the story if that happens and the Board refuses
to seat him.

Secondly, I think the Board needs to hold a frank and open review of its
processes around dismissing trustees, especially community-selected ones.
Even if it's not technically legally required to consult the community
before the fact or frankly inform them why a decision was made after, is
relying on a legal technicality to do an end-run around the community
election process an appropriate way of handling things? I think that
question deserves careful consideration.

Additionally, I think it needs to be considered whether a formal apology is
owed. Even if too much water has passed under the bridge for reinstatement
to be workable, saying "Hey, we're sorry, you actually brought up valid
concerns even if we didn't agree with your methods at the time" might be a
very good step toward the healing process. (If that's actually true, of
course.) If the Board shot the messenger rather than addressing serious
problems (and, well, that's what a lot of us think), that needs to be
candidly addressed.

And finally, I think the communication style in itself needs to be
reexamined. A lot of trustees come from corporate backgrounds where that
type of opaque, "nothing to see here folks, move along" style of
communication is acceptable and expected. Wikimedians generally expect
better than that, and I think we should expect better than that. Ducking
and weaving around direct questions breeds mistrust; sunlight is the best
disinfectant. If you don't think your actions would be defensible if you
publicly and frankly say why you undertook them, you probably need to
rethink them. There will of course be times that some information will be
necessarily private, but that should be considered an exception that must
be well-justified, not the rule. And if that is the case, don't try to spin
and obfuscate with a bunch of PR junk, just frankly say "We (can't|won't)
tell you that because _________."

The volunteer community does need the WMF. After all, someone's got to keep
the servers running, and handle things like legal services and the millions
of dollars that flow through the organization. But the WMF needs the
volunteer community too, or it may as well just shut the lights off on the
way out. Each side should see the other as an equal and necessary partner
and as an ally towards the common aim of creating the best free and open
educational resources possible.

Right now, it seems that a lot of the community sees the WMF as an
overbearing would-be "owner" of the projects that needs to be pushed back
at every turn, and it seems the WMF sees the community as a nuisance to be
stiff-armed out of the way if it dares to get in the way of some grand
strategy. That's not a healthy dynamic, and we don't fix it without open,
fully transparent, and honest communication.

Well, that turned out longer than I expected, but I can't really find any
parts that I don't think need to be said. I think we're at a unique
opportunity to reexamine how the WMF can best serve the goals of the
movement, and what its role should be in doing so. I think we're also at a
point to consider what exactly the Board's role should be in that, what its
priorities should be, and how it should operate under difficult
circumstances. Obviously, what happened this time was not optimal. Please
keep the lines of communication open as you move forward with any reviews
and reconsiderations. For better or worse, the perception will be that if
you're not talking about it, you aren't thinking about it and don't care.


------------------------------

Message: 3
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2016 12:34:39 +0000
From: Fæ <fae...@gmail.com>
To: Craig Franklin <cfrank...@halonetwork.net>
Cc: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] The reinstatement of James Heilman
Message-ID:
        <cah7nnd2fbeu3yxcljjjcb+ugy5g1x1bozp1wendzqfsm1vu...@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

Yes, we are in agreement. Maria is an 'Appointed Trustee', not a
'Community Selected Trustee'. So the number of 'Appointed Trustees'
went up by one, the number of 'Community Selected Trustees' went down
by one.

For political convenience, the WMF board is spinning her seat on the
board as if she were a Community Selected Trustee, but it's obviously
not true unless we start redefining the plain English meaning of
words. The result is a board with a democratic deficit, and the way
most trustee boards with elected members handle this is to ensure that
the appointed replacement will be obliged to stand for election at the
earliest opportunity.

I welcome a procedure like this to be written up for the WMF board so
that we can avoid the difficulty of vacated seats in a more credible
way. The current system of bartering and balancing lists of pros and
cons between sitting trustees, their lawyers, and a volunteer election
committee that is appointed by the Board of Trustees, is unhealthy and
it is a fantasy to imagine that the end result can be called
democratic.

It would be a comfort if Maria Sefidari would confirm that she will be
running for an election by offering up her seat at the earliest
possible opportunity, rather than gripping on to it based on the
tenure granted by James Heilman's democratic selection. We voted in an
election where the winner of the election was the selected candidate,
shifting the meaning of what our votes were for after the election, so
the board can later on pick and chose from a list of candidates that
they find to their political tastes, is not the way we want to run
transparent and credible elections.

Fae

On 27 February 2016 at 12:09, Craig Franklin <cfrank...@halonetwork.net> wrote:
> Patricio's email on the topic makes it quite clear that María was appointed
> to the seat vacated by James Heilman:
>
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-January/081540.html
>
> And, as we are all aware, James was himself appointed as the result of an
> election.  Unless the relevant authorities in Florida have overturned
> María's appointment and I have not heard about it, she is sitting in the
> seat formerly occupied by James.
>
> I don't disagree that it would be a good thing to have a formally agreed
> procedure on how to handle vacancies that might arise in these
> community-selected seats, but that doesn't change the reality that we must
> deal with here and now.
>
> Cheers,
> Craig
>
> On 27 February 2016 at 21:47, Fæ <fae...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> On 27 February 2016 at 11:33, Craig Franklin <cfrank...@halonetwork.net>
>> wrote:
>> > While it's nice to think that everyone might be able to kiss and make
>> > up,
>> > the trustees (particularly Jimmy) and James have been mauling each other
>> > politely in public for the best part of two months.  I don't think it's
>> > realistic to expect that everything can just go back to the way it was,
>> > and
>> > expect that the BoT would function properly again with James back in
>> > place.  Keeping in mind his former position as a community selected
>> > trustee
>> > has already been filled with Maria Sefidari, at any rate.
>>
>> Correction: Maria Sefidari was a "candidate for community selection",
>> she was not selected by the community but appointed using an post
>> election invented procedure for political convenience. If Maria wishes
>> to become a community selected board member she would need to *win an
>> election*, until that time she is in reality an appointed member.
>>
>> I hope that Maria will run for a proper election at the earliest
>> opportunity. She was a good candidate and would be a better
>> representative if correctly elected.
>>
>> Fae
>> --
>> fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae
>
>



-- 
fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae
Personal and confidential, please do not circulate or re-quote.



------------------------------

Message: 4
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2016 08:22:23 -0500
From: Oliver Keyes <ironho...@gmail.com>
To: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco
Message-ID:
        <cadrwj989lv51mvdmtxoa+8a4botr-gdhciuwahmbfsbeefn...@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

Anthony has hit the nail on the head here with "could be used to
punish or intimidate staff"; the reason I, at least, am uncomfortable
talking about the internal details here (beyond the obvious PR
elements for the Foundation) is that there's a lot of ongoing fear
about repercussions. A couple of years ago this wouldn't have been the
case.

(This also indirectly answers the "can we see your NDA?" question. I
don't know. And hell, I'm this scared having *already quit*.)

More guidance, and public guidance at that, would be deeply
appreciated. Within the Discovery Analytics team we've gone out of our
way to write up pretty all-encompassing guidelines specifically for
data (which I look forward to being able to publish pretty soon - we
just got clearance to do so). It would be nice to have more firm
guidance on what we should do with transparency around other kinds of
information. It would, of course, be even nicer if we could rebuild
trust, since that's the source of a lot of the fear.

On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 6:40 AM, Anthony Cole <ahcole...@gmail.com> wrote:
> It's not just NDAs that constrain you, staff. The WMF code of conduct
> <https://m.wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Code_of_conduct_policy> (that
> applies to staff and trustees) reads,
>
> "People acting on the Foundation’s behalf must respect and maintain the
> confidentiality of sensitive information they have gained due to their
> association with the Foundation. This may include personal information
> about community members or members of the general public, and/or
> information about the internal workings of the Foundation or its partners
> or suppliers."
>
> "Information about the internal workings of the Foundation" is extremely
> broad and vague, and could be used to punish or intimidate staff who talk
> openly about anything. Perhaps you could add "some" ("some information
> about the internal workings of the Foundation") and leave it to the
> individual NDAs to specify what "some" means. Or perhaps you could just be
> specific in the code of conduct.
>
> Anthony Cole
>
>
> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 6:51 PM, James Alexander <jalexan...@wikimedia.org>
> wrote:
>
>> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 11:17 PM, Pine W <wiki.p...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> > Something that I would like to understand is why so much WMF information
>> is
>> > cloaked under NDAs. It seems to me that this is philosophically at odds
>> > with the values of the community, makes for poor governance, and provides
>> > cover for opportunities for mischief. I hope that recent events will
>> prompt
>> > WMF to rethink its habits and assumptions in the realms of transparency,
>> > openness, and values alignment.
>> >
>> > Pine
>> >
>>
>> While on a base level I agree with you I feel its important to add some
>> caveats to that. I think a good portion of this is actually everyone
>> needing a better understanding about what 'is' expected to be private (and
>> preferably why) from Management on down. I think a lot of what people are
>> calling "under the NDA" may not be :).
>>
>> I also think it's important to consider the categories of private
>> data/information too, however, because i fear we (both the staff and the
>> community) use "under NDA" as a very broad and note always accurate
>> description. The way I see it there is:
>>
>>
>>    1. Private WMF Data or information that is most definetly covered by the
>>    NDA: examples include most donor data, attorney-client privileged
>>    information, information that is legally protected, information we
>> protect
>>    via official public policy etc.
>>    2. Information and notes that really don't need to be private: This is
>>    the stuff we're talking about releasing.
>>    3. Inter personal/team discussions and similar.
>>
>> [sorry, this turned out tldr, apologies. TLDR: Careful demanding sharing of
>> internal team discussions]
>>
>> 3. I actually think is really important because it is not what we think of
>> when we think of private information (and, honestly, probably isn't under
>> the NDA usually) but can be very important to be kept privately even if the
>> end result of the discussion should be made public etc.. This is especially
>> true to allow open conversations between staff members. Not only do they
>> need to feel comfortable bringing up crazy idea A (which some are now and
>> could probably be done more with culture change, possible on both the
>> community and WMF sides) but they need to feel comfortable saying that
>> crazy idea A is crazy and bad for reasons X,Y and Z.
>>
>> Lodewijk made my main point well in the thread about Lawrence Lessig:
>> People get very uncomfortable talking about others in public. If Staff
>> member B is breaking apart Staff member A's proposal there is a good chance
>> at least one of them is going to be feeling very uncomfortable about it.
>> That discomfort often gets much bigger the more people who see what's
>> happening either because they feel more shame (to pick just one of the
>> emotions you can feel in that type of situation) or because they feel like
>> they're doing more shaming then they want to do. That expanded discomfort
>> can make them significantly less likely to do any number of things we don't
>> want: get more defensive/less willing to change, be less wiling to propose
>> those bold ideas that could be really great (or not), be less willing to
>> speak out against the bad ideas etc.
>>
>> The other reason is another one that I imagine we're all familiar with on
>> wiki: The more people who pile on in one direction (even if it's only 2-3
>> frequently) (and in my experience the more public that discussion) the less
>> likely people are going to be to oppose what the direction those initial
>> commentators/voters/blah went. Suddenly people feel like they need to
>> defend their opinion much more then they would otherwise or that they could
>> be faced with angry opposition. These concerns are certainly possible on
>> internal teams and mailing lists (the WMF Staff list is somewhat famous for
>> people being afraid to pile on after a lot of people went the other way and
>> I know some, including me, are trying to change that)  but they become more
>> and more of a concern the wider that audience becomes and publishing those
>> discussions is a VERY wide audience.
>>
>> I think that publishing the Discovery Team meeting with lila recently was a
>> right and proper move but I also think it was likely an exception to the
>> rule. Seeing people disagree so strongly and publicly with one of their
>> regular colleagues could very well scare away those colleagues and we don't
>> want that.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> James Alexander
>> Manager
>> Trust & Safety
>> Wikimedia Foundation
>> (415) 839-6885 x6716 @jamesofur
>> _______________________________________________
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