On 3/10/16 8:18 AM, Benjamin Lees wrote:
> I was glad when I saw Jimbo indicate he was reaching out to James.  At
> the risk of sounding hopelessly naive, maybe Jimbo should send James
> another email, this time extending a clearer olive branch.  If we're
> past the point of no return on that, then so be it, but I would be
> happy to know that after three months of talking about and at each
> other, you guys _sincerely_ tried talking to each other.

I agree completely.  My email, which seems so horrifying to a few
people, was meant exactly as that.  The truth is, I am genuinely
bewildered and finding it very hard to understand why James says things
that the entire rest of the board find contrary to fact.

There is nothing horrible about encouraging him to think about whether
emotion has blinded him.  When so many other people who know the facts
are telling you that you have it wrong, it's a good idea to pause and

And yes, it would have been more charitable and kind to include other
options in that email.  I wrote it as an opening to a dialogue, not as a
formal statement of position to be analyzed in public.  I invite people
to think whether Pete's publishing of it was done in the interests of
healing and harmony, rather than to further inflame and create drama.

There's a lot more to respond to on wikimedia-l, and I may do so this
weekend.  But there's one thing that is worth saying quite strongly:
There was never a project at the Wikimedia Foundation to build a search
engine to compete with Google.  This has been confirmed by engineers
working in that area.  I have been very straightforward in telling
people what I know about it, and I have not seen any evidence that the
people who have told me what happened have lied to me about that.

What there was, and this has become clear only recently, was a proposal
by Damon, passed around with great cloak-and-dagger, with his ideas
about how we could and should do that.  Those ideas never got traction
and never made it to the board level.  What was proposed to the board
was an investment in internal search and discovery.

There's also the side issue - and I don't mean it is unimportant, I mean
it is a side issue - of the language in the Knight Foundation some of
which apparently survived from Damon's early brainstorms.  I am not
happy about that language, but my understanding is that the Knight
Foundation is fine, that they understood and understand that the
deliverables in the grant - which is what matters - are modest and
reasonable as an exploration of what we should do next in this area.


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