On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 9:13 AM, Jimmy Wales <jimmywa...@wikia-inc.com> wrote:
> On 2/29/16 2:25 AM, Molly White wrote:
>> Thank you for your reply, and I apologize for how late this one is. When
>> I asked how you intend to speak with the Board of Trustees and with staff, I
>> did not mean what technical means you will use. It doesn't much matter to me
>> whether you speak with them in person, over email, over Hangouts, or what 
>> have
>> you.
>
> Ah, ok. :)  I wondered why it mattered but thought I'd just answer
> plainly in case you were concerned that not doing it in person would
> fail to convey nuance, etc.  (A valid concern, always.)
>
>> I am instead concerned with how (and if) you will be able to clearly
>> communicate your discussions between these two groups, since you are 
>> apparently
>> the one doing so.
>
> I'm not the only one.  Alice is here in San Francisco, too.
>
>> Perhaps more concerning to me: do you intend to take steps to
>> make WMF staff comfortable speaking to you? If so, what are these steps? As
>> Oliver and others have made clear, staff have gone through what sounds like 
>> an
>> extended, traumatic period. I think the mass exodus of staff members makes 
>> that
>> very clear. Some have spoken of intimidation about speaking up with their
>> concerns. How will you ensure they don't feel the same around you?
>
> Sure.  It's a potentially tough problem, and likely made worse by a lot
> of misconceptions being thrown around by people who have misrepresented
> my views.  It's been claimed, for example, that I was the chief
> architect of a concept that staff shouldn't talk to board members -
> overcoming that misunderstanding is important to me.
>
> I am not involved at all in hiring and firing decisions, and don't
> intend to become so involved.  I'm not becoming the interim ED nor the
> permanent ED.  I've been here from the beginning and I am very
> passionate about Wikipedia and our mission.  I have no specific axe to
> grind other than that one.
>
> My heart is heavy about what has happened here, and one of the things
> that I feel most heavy about - and that I've heard from staff - is that
> I lost touch with them.  I remember driving to the November board
> meeting thinking "Well, this is going to be fairly routine and boring"
> because I had no idea what awaited me there - which was a train wreck of
> a meeting which left millions more questions than answers but which made
> it clear that something big was going on.

Well, to make my position as one (current, for a bit) staffer clear:
that *you* lost touch with things is not my worry. It's not the thing
I regret. This might simply be because I tend to treat you more as
"the guy who kicked things off and so has a board seat" rather than
"the carrier of the flame of What The Ethos Of Wikipedia Is". I rely
on the community trustees for that, because (1) the community ethos is
set by the community, not by what the community looked like in 2001
and (2) having a dependency on any one person is a terrible idea.

So my concern is not that you lost touch with staff. I don't
particularly care about any one person. My concern is that the *board*
did. My concern is that when staff reached out the Board replied with
a letter indicating they had full and unanimous confidence in our
leadership. You indicating that you see a problem here and have some
sympathy is nice; so is you visiting the office. So is Alice visiting
the office. But nice is not sufficient.

Guy Kawasaki, I believe, lives in the bay area (correct me if I'm
wrong). Denny works a 10 minute walk from the office. Kelly's org is
based in Mountain View. There are a whole host of trustees who could
be making it into the office, experiencing the culture and the
sentiment and the concerns directly. Why are they not coming in? Why
are they not listening to people?

While I appreciate, deeply, both you and Alice coming in, I am unable
to shake my concerns that the rest of the board making decisions
informed not by their perspectives but by your recollection of your
perspectives, is going to be tremendously limiting. We selected these
people because we thought they had something to contribute we didn't
already have: because their experiences would shape incoming
information in new and interesting ways. So let them receive that
information, and let them shape it. Let's have an informed board.
Because trust isn't great, right now, and this last year should have
made us steer *away* from processes with a small bus factor, not
towards them.

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