It's quite normal for Trustees to step down due to changing interests
or after a review of interests. It would be great if the WMF board
could move over to a culture where there was far less drama and chest
beating about managing and declaring interests. Trustees are an unpaid
volunteer position, leaving your seat should be made to appear like a
royal abdication or the result of failure.

The practice in the UK chapter established back when I was a trustee,
of making comprehensive declarations of interest and loyalty is
something that the WMF could easily follow at zero cost. The *default*
position should be that this information is public unless there are
jolly good reasons to make it private, and those exceptions should be
carefully reviewed by the Chairperson who has the final say on whether
it ought to be made public. Further, every board meeting needs a
standing agenda including declarations for the coming agenda. For
example, Jimmy's interest as the owner of Wikia has in the last decade
never resulted in a simple declaration of interest in the public
minutes, nor has he declined to vote on a resolution because of that
interest. Declarations should be run of the mill, not a matter of
apparent shame and drama.


On 9 April 2016 at 07:26, Anders Wennersten <> wrote:
> I, as all others, has full sympathy for Danny and find that he in his mail
> made an excellent explanation on how the situation made the option to resign
> the only reasonable way forward
> BUT this is the second community selected that has left the Board within a
> year after being appointed, and before any future election (either a snap
> byelection soon, or the ordinary in a years time) I believe we should look
> into if anything can be learnt. And if there are things, primary in the
> election process, that can be done to ensure the appointed community
> selected members of the Board staying on the whole term.
> For Danny my interpretation is that he is very operational role in ordinary
> work leads to many interaction with WMF etc and where COI consideration
> hampers his day-to-days activities. And that his major strength, "Wikidata",
> is hard to make use of in the Board as any influencing of decision re this
> also puts him in a COI situation, and that he outside this competence finds
> he has limited "value" for the board work.
> But all of these facts was known before the election (but not necessary the
> ramification). Would a more elaborate (tedious long?) description of
> requirements of serving in the Board helped Danny to understand the
> challenge before he entered his candidacy? Would some type of (lightweight)
> "vetting" by the Election committee by all candidates have identified this
> risk (which then could have been feedbacked to the candidate)? Should for
> future election the election committee not only be facilitator of the
> election, but also help he voters in complementing the data given by each
> candidate by some type of comments? For example last time the requirement
> from the board was non western (non English natives) persons and priority
> for nonmale. but 2 out of 3 was just his. Could some mark on the candidate
> statement made by the EC (he/she is/is not fulfilling the Board criteria)
> had helped?
> The setup up of a Standing Election Committee is under formation but it will
> probably still be some month before it is established. Any changes in the
> election process has to await this formation, but I believe a discussion of
> learnings can start independently.
> Anders
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