On Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 6:35 PM, Jimmy Wales <jimmywa...@wikia-inc.com>

> One unhealthy cycle that I think we've gotten into is what I would call
> "Kremlinology".
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kremlinology
> 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 think the paranoia and hostility comes in good part from the number of
times you say stuff – often very emphatically – that turns out not to be
supported by the facts. (Examples: [1].) And when that happens, I don't see
you fessing up and saying "sorry"; instead, you try to smear, undermine and
intimidate those who point the contradictions out.

Along with that come empty promises – sops to Cerberus – like the one
quoted here:[2]

Quote: "I'll have to talk to others to make sure there are no contractual
reasons not to do so, but in my opinion the grant letter should be
published on meta. The Knight Grant is a red herring here, so it would be
best to clear the air around that completely as soon as possible."

Nothing happened after you said that, as is so often the case. The grant
agreement was only published a month later, within hours of my calling John
Bracken at the Knight Foundation, on behalf of The Signpost, who confirmed
that the Knight Foundation welcomed transparency and had no objection
whatsoever to the grant agreement being published. Previously, we had been
told – by Lila – that publishing the grant agreement would "break donor
privacy required in maintaining sustainable donor relations".[3] (Bracken
told me that as soon as he advised the WMF of our communication, the WMF
released the grant agreement.)

Yet just a couple of hours before the release of that document, you still
told the community that it was a "total lie" that there had ever been a
search engine project, or that it was part of any grant.[4]

Your behaviour comes across as completely self-serving. The overall
impression is one of complete disdain and disrespect for the community.
It's as though the community is just a means to an end to you.

There's no basis for trust. And there won't be, until you own up to and
apologise for that stuff, instead of complaining that people are
"attacking" you.


[1] Examples:


Quote: “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

Compare that to the Knowledge Engine grant agreement at

B. http://archive.is/hFMNV#selection-10409.0-10413.73

Quote: "In all these occasions - all of them - I publicly and privately
condemned the human rights abuses of these regimes. Writegeist is spreading
lies about me, and should be permanently blocked."

Compare that to the Wikimania speech here:

C. http://archive.is/M56Wm#selection-345.0-357.95

Quote: "I just wanted to comment here on the idea that Larry Sanger had the
idea for Wikipedia. This is not correct."

Compare that to http://archive.is/kDwzh#selection-95.104-95.331
three-and-a-half years earlier:

Quote: "After a year or so of working on Nupedia, Larry had the idea to use
Wiki software for a separate project specifically for people like you (and
me!) ..."

– diff:



> 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.
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