The thing that disturbs me more than anything else about a lot of recent
events is the utter lack of transparency related to a lot of recent
changes.  To pick a tangential topic: WMF now has six employees dedicated
to foundations and major gifts.  I don't mean general fundraising
employees, I means specifically tasked to pursue foundation grants and
major gifts.  I think it's probably a *good* thing that we now have a major
gifts team, but the standard in the past was to be extremely leary of major
gifts, and for pretty good reason. I think we should have a team pursuing
grants and major gifts, but the standards governing what type of major
gifts WMF pursues and accepts  should've been developed as part of an open
community conversation, not apparated out of thin air.  We've always taken
some major gifts and grants - e.g., Stanton & the USEP - but there has both
been a lot of caution around them, and community discussion around them.
The Knight Foundation grant is an example of how this goes wrong, but I'm
betting a lot more are going to surface.

Jimmy is also refusing to release a single exchange he had with James that,
I am assured, contained no remotely confidential information - een though
James has requested its release multiple times.  It's disappointing to see
such a lack of transparency on so many fronts at once.  When I tried to
return my (working) key to the WMF offices a year after I'd no longer had a
real reason to have a key,the person (who no longer works there, and their
departure from WMF wasn't good for WMF,) they laughed and told me to keep
it because I came in to the of office enough that I might as well save
people the time of opening doors from me.  I have a feeling if I had an
identical internship now, I'd be required to sign a NDA, have my key yanked
the second either my internship was over or I did anything remotely
suspicious, and would not been exposed to the valuable training working
with Moka and Jay provided me, because that information would be perceived
as too sensitive to let an intern near.  It seems more and more like
instead of a shining light, a black sheet is being draped over WMF's doings.

Kevin Gorman

On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 4:12 PM, Kevin Smith <> wrote:

> I think some people aren't realizing the difference between the leaked
> presentation (which outlined a general search engine) and the actual grant.
> The former was just an idea, while the latter is official. By my reading,
> the grant clearly is NOT for a general internet search engine, although it
> (unfortunately) did retain a bit of the language from earlier documents.
> Also, I think I disagree with this statement:
> > It envisages a volunteer-curated search engine drawing on a whole host of
> > sources from within and outside of the Wikimedia universe, with output
> > vectors including "Mobile", "API", "Kindle" and "Apps".
> >
> > This is part of the overall strategy to this day. Consultation would
> really
> > be appropriate here.
> The only "volunteer curation" I see in the actual grant can be covered by
> the curation of Wikidata that volunteers are already doing. I don't see
> anything in the grant that relies on volunteers signing up for additional
> work.
> To my knowledge, drawing on non-Wikimedia sources is still in the
> "strategy" (or more accurately the roadmap) in two ways: 1) OpenStreetMap
> data is already being used in limited ways, and 2) other free information
> sources are only being considered in a vague "maybe someday but not this
> year" way.
> I don't recall hearing of any plans for Kindle support, but we do already
> support APIs and mobile apps, and will (presumably) continue to expand
> both. If Kindle support were considered at some point (past or future),
> that wouldn't seem like a radical step to me.
> I say all of this as someone who works closely with the Discovery team. If
> I'm mistaken on any of the facts, please let me know.
> Kevin Smith
> Agile Coach, Wikimedia Foundation
> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 3:41 PM, SarahSV <> wrote:
> > On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 8:00 AM, Jimmy Wales <>
> > wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > James had gotten, from somewhere, the idea that there really was a
> > > secret project to build a Google-competing search engine.  We had a
> > > discussion where I told him that wasn't right.  We had further
> > > discussions at the board level of what it means, and eventually James
> > > himself made the motion to approve the Knight grant, and voted in favor
> > > of it.
> > >
> > >
> >
> > ​Jimmy, this is something I find disturbing.
> >
> > In October 2015 James opposed accepting the grant application because of
> > the lack of clarity and transparency around it. [1] But on 7 November he
> > not only formally supported its acceptance, but actually proposed it to
> the
> > Board. [2]
> >
> > James has written that he did this "following pressure which included
> > comments about potentially removing members of the Board." [3] He wrote:
> > "Jimmy Wales had made comments about removing other board members during
> > the days before the Knight grant vote. I believed that my opposing at
> that
> > point in time would have changed nothing (because there were not enough
> > opposing votes to block it), and doing so would have led to my removal."
> > [4]
> >
> > After his removal, you used that he had proposed accepting the grant to
> > show that he was being inconsistent. You later called it a "flat out lie"
> > that any board member had put pressure on him. [5]
> >
> > James is an honest and independent-minded person. If he says he acted
> under
> > pressure, he did. That doesn't mean anyone intended him to feel that way,
> > of course. But please say whether you said anything about removing board
> > members during, or in the days leading up to, that meeting.
> >
> > If James did feel so much pressure that he acted against his own views,
> it
> > raises the question of whether other trustees have been similarly
> affected,
> > now or in the past. When we elect trustees, we need to know that they're
> > going to make their own decisions.
> >
> > This is one of the many reasons we need all the emails to be released, as
> > well as all documentation around the Knowledge Engine and Knight grant.
> >
> > Sarah
> >
> > [1]
> >
> >
> >
> > [2]
> >
> >
> >
> > [3]
> >
> >
> >
> > [4]
> >
> >
> >
> > [5]
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> >
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> >
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