thanks for this! A useful food for thought (for transparency: mid-May I
started a conversation with Chris about how the process worked in the UK).



On Thu, Jun 2, 2016 at 8:02 AM, Chris Keating <>

> Just wanted to post some thoughts on the subject of the WMF having an
> external governance review/audit. As you may know the FDC recommended that
> the WMF should do this and I imagine the WMF board is thinking about the
> matter at the moment. I was Chair of Wikimedia UK when we undertook our
> governance review in autumn 2012 so hope my perspective is useful.
> On balance I think an appropriately-defined governance audit, conducted by
> the right people, would be helpful for WMF and the community but here are
> some pros and cons.
> *Reasons against  *
> 1. Cost. At a minimum, an audit would cost $20,000 - if done very
> efficiently in a light-touch way. An extensive review could cost several
> times that much. Anyone who you'd want to do the work would have a day rate
> of $1000+ for top-level consultants and $500+ for other people involved.
> 2. Governance reviewers won't solve any of the "Wikimedia-specific"
> problems. Hopefully whoever would be appointed would have experience of
> working with boards of volunteer-based movements not just 'conventional'
> non-profits. However, Wikimedia levels of transparency will still be
> unusual for them and governance consultants are very unlikely to recommend
> or support (say) live-streaming board meetings to increase transparency, or
> making community-elected trustees unsackable without a referendum of some
> kind.
> 3. Progress already made. The WMF Board has already introduced a number of
> key policies, e.g. a code of conduct. If those have already addressed some
> of the key issues then an external review will have less to say.
> 4. Risk of getting unfocused answers. There is a risk with this kind of
> review of getting lots of detailed comments on various policies and
> documents that don't actually have an impact. However, this can be avoided
> with a well-defined brief.
> *Reasons to do it*
> 1. Feedback on Board behaviour. A reviewer will probably interview Board
> members and senior staff, and attend a meeting, as well as reviewing
> documents and policies. As a result they will be able to observe the actual
> behaviour of the board. That is unique (and hopefully helpful) feedback.
> 2. Reassurance. From November to January, a lot of people (including many
> WMF staff and community members) were confused and concerned (to put it
> mildly) about what was happening at WMF board level. (Probably there were
> also people *on the WMF board* sharing the same concerns). Many of those
> people are still concerned to varying degrees. An external review that says
> "actually, most of this is working fine now but you can improve X, Y and Z"
> is valuable reassurance for the whole community. If, on the other hand, the
> review says "actually there are some serious issues that still need to be
> sorted out" then much better that the Board realises that and acts on it in
> the next couple of months than waiting another year or two and running into
> the same problems again.
> 3. The amount of change that's happened lately. The WMF has grown immensely
> in the last 10 years and has had very high turnover on the Board in the
> last 2. Some of the ways of working that have grown up in those 10 years
> may not be right, and some of those that were right might no longer be in
> the Board's institutional knowledge. If I were in the shoes of one of the
> newer WMF trustees I would think that an external governance review was a
> very helpful step in making sure that the Board was working as effectively
> as possible.
> Regards,
> Chris Keating
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> New messages to:
> Unsubscribe:,
> <>


prof. dr hab. Dariusz Jemielniak
kierownik katedry Zarządzania Międzynarodowego
i grupy badawczej NeRDS
Akademia Leona Koźmińskiego
http://n <>

członek Akademii Młodych Uczonych Polskiej Akademii Nauk
członek Komitetu Polityki Naukowej MNiSW

Wyszła pierwsza na świecie etnografia Wikipedii "Common Knowledge? An
Ethnography of Wikipedia" (2014, Stanford University Press) mojego

Pacific Standard:
The Wikipedian:
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
New messages to:

Reply via email to