On 3/3/16 11:19 PM, Craig Franklin wrote:
> Rather than solving the transparency problem through gimmicks like wheeling
> a video camera into the board room, we should look at reasons why the Board
> of Trustees might not feel comfortable being transparent.  The only real
> solution will involve cultural change, not just on the WMF side, but also
> from the community.  What can *we* as community members do to assist the
> WMF in being transparent?

One unhealthy cycle that I think we've gotten into is what I would call


The cycle looks like this:
- the board doesn't share enough, so people are forced to try to
interpret indirect clues
- this interpretation is too often deeply paranoid and hostile, and
sometimes led by people with their own private agenda
- board members feel attacked personally for doing things they haven't
done, or believing things they don't believe
- leading them to pull back from a hostile set of interactions
- leading to the board not sharing enough

I rejoined this list after a long absence, and I was immediately
reminded why some people call it "drama-l" - there are good people and
good conversations on here, but there are also people who are behaving
in ways that no one would tolerate in person or even on the wiki.

Rather than point out negative examples, I do want to point out a
positive example, because I think that (see the sensitivity that the
hostility generates) some are likely to see what I'm about to say as
"Jimbo doesn't want people to be critical or to ask hard questions",
which would leave me with the emotion "what's the point of trying to
talk to them?"  Because that isn't what I'm saying at all.

Today I responded to a series of criticisms of the board by Mzmcbride.
His criticisms are largely wrong, I think.  But they weren't offered in
a spirit of conspiracy mongering, maliciousness, etc.  One central point
that he's making is one that I think actually stands, although he would
be more persuasive if he stuck to that rather than throwing in some
extras: it would be better if, at all times, the WMF and the Board had
solid succession planning in case of the loss of a key executive.

That's absolutely true.  That's is one of the things that led to this
whole situation - I have a lot more to say about that, but it'll have to
wait until I finish writing up a report for public consumption about the
time I spent in California talking to staff.

So this is a strong lesson learned and for me personally a top priority
going forward - making sure that the permanent ED search is conducted
professionally and with vigor, and making sure that as quickly as
possible we have strong hires in all the vacant C-level positions and
proper succession planning as a routine matter of organizational
governance and stability.

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