>Stephen LaPorte <slaporte@...> writes:
> Hi all,
> The Board of Trustees has published minutes from the Board meeting on April 
> 22, 2016. You can find the meeting minutes and accompanying documents on the 
> Foundation Wiki: https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Minutes/2016-04

So the confidentiality agreement which was passed seems like it will represent 
a regression in transparency. One of the things I pointed out in the last 
controversy is that it wasn't clear that the non-executive session portion of 
the board meeting was actually confidential. This closes that gap with 1.b. 
and 1.c defining as confidential "the Foundation’s nonpublic plans, strategies, 
budgets, or financial information;" and "nonpublic information shared in 
connection with Board meetings, deliberations, and discussions, including 
nonpublic communications on private mailing lists or private wikis". Why it is 
necessary to have a blanket everything as confidential rather than narrowly 
defining the scope to specifically documents and deliberations is unclear. This 
seems to run contrary to the suggestions which came out of discussions in 

This effectively silences trustees from offering any information, lest they 
befall what happened to James (who didn't even give any information to his 
constituents, the community, only staff). Historically Samuel Klein and Phoebe 
spoke to the community to some limited degree about their board involvement, 
but I wonder how comfortable a trustee could feel in providing even such 
limited information with this confidentiality agreement in place.

For an example of how this affects our conversations with our elected 

Last month, "Geoff and Stephen prepared a draft set of basic best-practice 
recommendations [on governance]". These weren't released publicly as far as I 
am aware. "Maria and Dariusz were tasked with preparing a proposal for a 
lightweight structure to increase transparency" but as far as I am aware we've 
received no color on what this proposal might end up looking like. Someone on 
this list asked Dariuszand he declined to offer details; if I recall correctly 
he said the boardshoulddo what it can internally first. I disagree with this: 
if you do a bunch of work without consulting your stakeholders, there's a good
chance you'llhave to scrap all that work. In the software world we call early 
feedback from the stakeholders "Agile", and it is widely viewed as a superior 
process to long efforts without feedback.

Would Maria and Dariusz even be able to share thoughts on their proposal if 
theyhad provided any initial information in the board room? The way this 
confidentiality agreement reads, once something is discussed in the boardroom, 
it becomes off-limits for public conversation until the Chair approves it. 
The presentation by Geoff and Stephen also seems off-limits, and it's hard to
imagine why this should be treated as proprietary/secret. Or is it public since
we know that such a draft exists?

I really think we need to see the best-practices recommendation that Geoff and 
Stephen presented.

Do we have a champion for transparency left on the board with James gone?

I did like the PDF overview. And I was happy to see that the board ended the
meeting with a no-staff executive session. That's a well-recognized best
practice which really helps the board assert itself and form a more 
consistent voice.

Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: 
New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, 

Reply via email to