Thanks for the response, Pine. I don't know if I agree with your assessment
re: resigning being the solution, but I am as not fully versed in many of
the details as you are obviously. I see this resignation as a real loss to
the community, and hope that possibly going forward there might be
alternatives to what seems to be a very torturous experience for
well-meaning, smart and talented folks who have only helped our community.

You bring up the business world, which is rife with conflicts of interests.
I have a background working in investment banking so I found that sort of
funny. They do a pretty terrible job of this -- see #PanamaPapers, people
sitting on boards, etc.... :-) So self-recusing seems sort of inadequate
and impractical...

I am obviously very new to all of this, but as I have come to learn more
about the Wikimedia family of projects, I have noticed that there is at
least one high profile public figure who "makes his living" off his
connection to Wikipedia -- Jimmy Wales -- which if that's not a conflict of
interest, well I don't know what is....

And then there are various chapters that have paid staff, as well as
Wikimedia Foundation staff, who all what, stop editing once they become

Our local chapter here in New York City is starting to work with the WMF to
have annual grant-funded project positions, and as someone who is active in
the chapter's organization and event administration as well as a person who
is going to apply for one of the positions, this issue of conflict of
interest is a real stumbling block.

The issue is: Do I do a massive amount of free digital labor as a volunteer
(COI free) or do I get paid to do this work (COI rife)? Being paid seems
only fair, especially in contrast to country chapters who have as many
events as we do, and can rely upon paid staff to implement programming,
planning, and events. But being paid is a minefield of nightmarishness if
COI is applied harshly. It will completely affect the outcome of what can
be accomplished and done. Will pretty much completely handicap many of the
ideas I have to improve much of our work process.

But more on topic: I agree with Gnangarra here.... VERY well said.

This seems to be very true, which I have noticed on our chapter level as
well as on the larger WMF level. Denny realized he couldn't wait to start
and create Wikidata. If he didn't do it then it wouldn't have gotten done.
Without his expertise and skillsets -- which come from his professional
experience -- this would not have come to fruition. It is all inextricably
entwined. Quite frankly, to focus on bureaucracy over innovation is a sure
path towards death of all the great stuff that is possible around here. It
is riskier, because it relies upon people sticking their neck out and being
bold, but it's much better for our community than all of these flipping
rules and regulations weighing us down.

Fascinating discussion.

- Erika

*Erika Herzog*
Wikipedia *User:BrillLyle* <>
Secretary, Wikimedia NYC

On Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 4:17 AM, Gnangarra <> wrote:

> This is one inherrant problem with COI those who get stuff done are forced
> to sit out discussions in preference for those who spend all their time
> talking and producing nothing. What we end up with is not leadership, its
> not project experience, its bureaucracy with out any true direction  where
> every idea that sounds good, that is well presented gets the go ahead with
> no understanding of what it takes to make a project work. Because of that
> we have KPI or metrics that satisfy the bureaucracy, force the organisors
> to run by the numbers rather than focus on producing real impact results
> over the longer term.
> High impact long term projects take considerable investment of time over
> time the dont happen in 3, 6, 12 month cycles, look at WLE & WLM its be
> year in year out commitments by volunteers to build and expand but every
> year they waste time seeking funding for the year this is where the Grant
> process should take the lead and just assign a long term budget to be
> managed by WMF financial staff and let the volunteers concentrate on having
> impact. Wikidata is in the same boat, its the bureaucratic begging
> processes that cost most of our volunteers time and produce the least
> impact.
> Denny's loss should be awake up call otherwise it'll be repeated
> continously especially from community selected seats, some where along the
> way we have created a bureaucracy at the expense of trust and assuming
> people are acting in good faith for the betterment of the projects
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
New messages to:

Reply via email to