Keegan, thank you for clarifying; I understand better now. I agree about
the dynamics; I wouldn't say Jimmy Wales' role on the Board is unrelated,
though, as Denny's message was intended to shed light on a dynamic that has
clearly involved Jimmy Wales in a central role.


It seems (as is often the case) that we have gotten a little off track with
some details, where there is some disagreement; but I suspect there is a
pretty high degree of agreement on most of the steps Todd recommended
above. I'll summarize them again here:

   1. Restore James Heilman to the board (in Denny's now vacant seat)
   2. Never remove a community trustee
   3. Eliminate Founder's Seat, with various future possibilities for Jimmy
   Wales' role.
   4. (expressed as optional) Make Community seats truly elected; increase

I pretty much agree with all of this, and I feel it would be helpful if
others would briefly state if they do too. My comments:

1. We'd be lucky if James Heilman stays willing to serve. He was a good
trustee to begin with, and it seems apparent the reasons for his removal
were vastly insufficient. Jimmy and Denny have both made various efforts to
justify the decision, which is appreciated, but I find the results entirely
lacking. Guy Kawasaki, Frieda Brioschi, Alice Wiegand, and Patricio Lorente
remain on the board, but have said almost nothing on the topic. At least
one trustee has stated that he "voted with the majority" as though that is
compatible with good governance (which it obviously isn't, as no trustee
should be able to know others' votes for certain prior to deciding their
own); and as though the upgrade from "majority" to "two-thirds majority"
(required under Florida law for not-for-cause removal) isn't significant.

2. I agree with both Dariusz and James. I don't see an explicit need for
changes to policy, but some articulation of process, or commentary on what
kind of things could trigger expulsion could be very helpful.

3. Eliminate Founder's Seat: Yes. The board should vote to remove Jimmy
Wales from the Founder's Seat (because there is still more than 2.5 years
left in his term), and should vote to eliminate the Founder's Seat. What
happens after is a separate question; a special advisory role seems ideal
to me. These steps are easily accomplished. It's hard for me to imagine how
a trustee could persuade him or herself that Jimmy's continued presence in
the privileged Founder's Seat is in the best interests of the Wikimedia

By the way, I think the WMF board may have successfully obscured the fact
that Jimmy Wales' role has actually *increased* in recent months, not
decreased: board minutes that took a long time to publish revealed that he
was the first (and to my knowledge only) person selected as a Trustee of
the new Endowment. I haven't seen this discussed anywhere.

4. I agree that tinkering with board composition may be valuable, but is
secondary to the others. The main thing here is, the board should start to
get the very basics of governance right. Any consideration of the structure
of the board distracts from the fact that individuals made bad decisions.
The main focus should be on correcting those errors, and rebuilding trust.


On Sun, May 8, 2016 at 3:19 PM, Keegan Peterzell <>

> On Sun, May 8, 2016 at 4:36 PM, Pete Forsyth <>
> wrote:
> > Keegan, that may very well be true (though I would say it's certain
> > communication channels, not "our entire movement.")
> >
> > But stating that has no logical relation whatsoever to whether or not a
> > certain trustee should remain in their position.
> >
> ​You are correct, because that's not where I was going with that: Denny's
> account here has no logical relation as to whether or not Jimmy should be
> on the board. It's being used to promote a political position.​
> >
> > Also: If there are eight people who repeat something ad nauseum, doesn't
> it
> > stand to reason that there might be more than eight who feel the same
> way,
> > but don't see the benefit in repeating it ad nauseum? Doesn't it stand to
> > reason that there might be more than eight who *cannot* publicly state
> > their view, without risking (in reality or in their imagination)
> > substantial backlash due to their roles?
> ​Yes, there is a political camp within the movement that is anti-Jimmy that
> is larger than eight people. These eight do a fine job speaking up loudly
> to let us know that there is a political camp that is anti-Jimmy. That's
> fine to feel that way. To continually hijack important conversations about
> vision, strategy, and process to have to /always/ talk about a single
> individual or cause is harmful to our movement. It's simple
> DivideAndConquer group dynamics, and it should not be supported. I'm not
> saying that people or groups cannot or should not be criticised - it's very
> important. But the shell game that Blame Jimmy is not helpful in the least.
> --
> ~Keegan
> This is my personal email address. Everything sent from this email address
> is in a personal capacity.
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